Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

These soft carrot cake cookies are super delicious (and so easy!), but that divine whipped cream cheese frosting is quite literally the icing on the cake (er, cookie)! Yum!

Frosted carrot cake cookie with a bite taken out.

Life is funny.

You can be skating along minding your own business and one day out of the blue be faced with a reality that you didn’t even know was coming.

For me, that was the day when I realized I absolutely, totally needed carrot cake cookies to exist. Like, RIGHT NOW.

I hadn’t ever really even thought about them. Until I did. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

I know I already have some beloved carrot cake recipes hiding away in the archives. And they’re great. Perfect. All I need when I want carrot cake.

But they don’t fill the carrot cake COOKIE void.

Frosted carrot cake cookie on cooling rack.

Have you ever wanted a cookie that tasted like carrot cake?

Or am I the only one?

There’s a really good chance you are only here for the frosting, and for that, I wouldn’t blame you. Not one bit.

I don’t want to outright brag or anything, but if I had to put together a resume rightthisveryminute, at the top, front and center would be “Makes killer cream cheese frosting.”

That might be the only thing on the resume, actually, but I’d still be proud.

My name is Mel and I make ridiculously yummy cream cheese frosting.

Top down shot of a frosted carrot cake cookie with pecan on top.

There’s a secret. And if you’ve made this unbelievable carrot cake (or several other recipes on my site that utilize the dreamy frosting), you’ll know.

It’s a little dab of sour cream. In the frosting.

Don’t be scared. It turns every day cream cheese frosting into something magical. That little bit of tang and extra creaminess is amazing, and I won’t make cream cheese frosting without it.

Now spread a healthy dose of that whipped cream cheese frosting on the soft, fluffy carrot cake cookies, and prepare to die from deliciousness.

If you love carrot cake, these cookies are a no brainer. And even if you aren’t a huge carrot cake fan, do it for the frosting.

Frosted carrot cake cookie with a bite taken out.

One Year Ago: Delicious Whole Grain Hulk Muffins {Naturally Green!}
Two Years Ago: Chicken Shepherd’s Pie with Garlic-Kale Mash
Three Years Ago: Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake
Four Years Ago: Whipped Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Five Years Ago: Honey Lime Tilapia

Carrot Cake Cookies with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated carrots, about 7 to 8 ounces (see note)

Frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) powdered sugar
  • Toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (or use convection bake at 350 degrees F if you have that option). Line rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, lightly grease the parchment with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and stir until a few dry streaks remain.
  4. Grab a handful of grated carrots and give a light squeeze over the kitchen sink to release as much liquid as possible without going crazy (i.e. don't get arthritis trying to squeeze the living daylights out of the carrots). Add the carrots to the batter. Repeat with remaining carrots a handful at a time until they've all been squeezed dry and added to the bowl.
  5. Stir the carrots into the batter until evenly combined (don't overmix).
  6. Scoop the dough out in 2-3 tablespoon size mounds and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. If you want the edges or tops of the cookies smoother, lightly wet your hands with cold water or cooking spray and press any ragged edges into a neat circle.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the frosting, in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla together until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down as needed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until mostly combined. Increase the speed to medium/medium-high and whip the frosting until thick and creamy, 1-2 minutes. If the frosting is overly thick, add a tablespoon of milk or cream at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  9. Frost the cooled cookies and garnish with toasted pecans, if desired.

Notes

About the carrots for this recipe, unfortunately the pre-grated matchstick carrots (in the produce section) won't work well for this recipe. The carrots need to be grated smaller than that. If you have a box grater, I'd suggest using the small holes. I use my food processor with the smaller of the two shredding disks. Carrots that have been freshly shredded/grated are going to release more water, which is going to help your cookies not end up being super cakey. I start with about 7 to 8 ounces of carrots (already peeled and trimmed, if needed) and after squeezing, I end up with about 5 1/2 ounces or so of carrots. 

These cookies bake at 375 degrees (or 350 for convection)...that's to help them retain their "puff" so they aren't thin and flat. If you are finding they aren't flattening at all while baking, it's possible your oven bakes hotter than mine, so reduce the temp to 350 degrees. 

Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by a recipe in a recent edition of Cook’s Country – put my own spin on it to make it less fussy)

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