Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies

I always make a carrot cake for Easter every year. It’s usually this whole tiered cake situation with cream cheese frosting and little piped out carrots on top with chopped nuts on the side. It’s a big deal. This year however, I wanted to take an easier approach to the beloved carrot cake with these Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies instead. It’s a carrot cookie dough, studded with raisins (which I normally don’t like in my carrot cake but in these particular cookies they’re magical), rolled in chopped nuts and filled with cream cheese frosting. It’s a great cookie because it tastes just like a cake without being overwhelmingly sweet. I happen to think they’d be the perfect addition to your Easter table this coming Sunday. I’d make a double batch, though, because I promise you they’ll be gone before you know it. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.

**Note: The best part of these cookies is that you don’t need a fancy mixer or hand beater because a good ol’ whisk will do the job just fine. The dough comes together quickly without much effort!**

Add in the flour, almond flour, salt, and spices (ground cinnamon, ground ginger, fresh ground nutmeg, all-spice, and cloves) and mix until evenly incorporated.

**Tip: Because this is a rather unfussy dough, you really don’t need to whisk or sift the dry ingredients prior. Just add them all at once to the bowl. It’s okay!**

Fold in the carrots and raisins. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

**Tip: Chilling the dough is essential because it firms it up, which then makes it easier to roll out and also prevents them from spreading too much in the oven! You can do this the night before and just let them chill overnight.**

Place the finely chopped pecans in a shallow dish. Using a small cookie scooper, scoop out the dough into balls, rolling in between the palm of your hands to smooth out. Coat fully in the chopped pecans and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart.

**Note: If you don’t have a small cookie scooper, I highly recommend one because I use it all the time for cookies and filling cupcake tins with batter. You could also just eyeball it. You’ll want the dough balls to be about 1 1/2 inches.**

Use the back of a teaspoon measuring spoon to create an indentation in the center of each cookie and lightly press them down very gently. This is where the frosting will go later on. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot, press the center once again, just in case they’ve baked up too much. Allow to cool completely on wire racks. 

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the sugar and cinnamon and beat until fluffy.

Transfer the frosting to a piping bag, fitted with a small star tip, and pipe out into the center of each cooled thumbprint cookie. Sprinkle with any of the remaining chopped pecans. 

**Tip: You could also just spoon the frosting into the center of each cookie if you don’t have or don’t want to deal with a piping bag. I want these to be as simple as possible for you!**

Enjoy the cookies right away or store in the fridge until ready to eat. (I personally prefer them chilled, just like how I eat my carrot cake). They’ll keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. You can of course, allow them to come to room temperature a bit before eating if you don’t like cold cookies.

I love when a carrot cake is coated with chopped nuts on the sides. I’ll decorate mine that way all the time. Today I used pecans for these cookies, but they would be just as delicious with finely chopped walnuts as well! Or you can omit the nuts altogether.

They’re a simple cookie that hopefully doesn’t take much effort to make. It’s a lot easier than whipping up and decorating an entire carrot cake. If that’s not your jam this year, than these cookies are for you because they taste just like a slice of carrot cake.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and as always stay safe out there my friends. I hope you have a great Easter and I hope these will be on the table. I’d be honored. 

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies
5 from 1 vote

Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies

This Easter, turn your carrot cake into these delicious Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies. They’re much easier to make and just as tasty!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup packed finely grated carrots from about 2 medium
  • 1/4 cup raisins chopped
  • 3/4 cup pecans finely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugars, yolk and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Add in the flour, almond flour, salt, and spices and mix until evenly incorporated. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • Place the finely chopped pecans in a shallow dish. Using a small cookie scooper, scoop out the dough into balls, rolling in between the palm of your hands to smooth out. Coat fully in the chopped pecans and place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches apart. Use the back of a teaspoon measuring spoon to create an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and while still hot, press the center once again, just in case they’ve baked up too much. Allow to cool completely on wire racks.
  • To make the frosting, cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the sugar and cinnamon and beat until fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag, fitted with a small star tip, and pipe out into the center of each cooled thumbprint cookie. Sprinkle with any of the remaining chopped pecans. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge until ready to eat. They’ll keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

Notes

Adapted from Martha Stewart
Author: The Candid Appetite

Join the Conversation

  1. Diane Foote says:

    5 stars
    Amazing cookies that taste like carrot cake. Thanks for the tip that you don’t put raisins in your cake but that they work in the cookies, I totally agree. Took me a little longer to prep than you but worth the effort. Thanks

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