This feature is sponsored by KitchenAid, who is letting us play every day in the TasteSpotting Kitchen with the full suite of stand mixer attachments.
When I was growing up, for every birthday celebration, my mom would always bake the cake or dessert of the birthday celebrator’s choice.
My brother always wanted marble cake topped with chocolate frosting and candy rocks that were impossible to find. My eldest brother always wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I always wanted something different every year.
One year it was chocolate cake with sickeningly sweet vanilla frosting, another year I’d copy one of my older brothers, and occasionally, I’d request a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.
I never, however, ever requested my dad’s favorite birthday dessert — carrot cake.
For years it baffled me as to why he would select such a seemingly boring cake. Especially one that contained vegetables. While I would usually still eat a piece of the sheet cake that my mom made using carrot baby food (better than it sounds), I never enjoyed it in the same way I would the more overtly sweet cakes my brothers and I requested. To my youthful taste buds, more sugar and more chocolate was always better.
Then, in college, my friends and I discovered that one of our favorite local bars not only served strong Cosmopolitans and our beer of choice — Blue Moon, but also had an amazing three-layer carrot cake on the dessert menu. The huge wedge of cake was more than enough for three of us to share, and we would spend many nights following our drinks with a massive sugar rush. I loved the tang of the cream cheese frosting, loved how the carrots kept the cake dense with moisture, and loved the varying textures hiding within the different tiers. From that point on, I was a carrot cake convert.
Except when I had to bake it.
My first attempt at making a regular carrot cake sheet cake was a disaster. It took forever to grate all the carrots, I ended up with several cuts on my fingers from the effort, and my decision to replace some of the oil with applesauce rendered the final result dry and flavorless. It didn’t help that the oven in my college apartment was finicky and the edges burned before the rest of the cake was done. I probably shouldn’t have used store-bought cream cheese frosting either.
As I sheepishly threw out the leftovers that not even the boys next door wanted to consume, I vowed to never make carrot cake again.
Years passed by before I started to think about getting back in the saddle again — this time, not with a cake, but with a cookie. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked for carrot cake cookies (most of them are in the form of sandwich cookies or whoopie pies), so I decided to make up my own containing oatmeal, walnuts, coconut, and white chocolate chips. The end result was shockingly good — everything I like about carrot cake, but in a dense, muffin-like cookie form. It was the best of both worlds, and the baked good immediately became a favorite among my family members.
I initially relished their praise for my cookies, but after making them several times over the course of a year, I started to dread their requests for me to bring them to family dinners.
“Really?” I’d say. “You want them again?”
As much as I loved the cookies, baking them still required me to do the most loathsome task involved with making a carrot cake — grating the carrots.
That is until I got my KitchenAid® Stand Mixer outfitted with the roto slicer with shredder attachment.
After I peel the carrots, all my work is virtually done. I simply hook on the roto attachment and the fine shredder cone, turn the mixer to stirring speed four and insert the carrots one by one until I have a cup of perfectly even carrot gratings. At that point, I can then use the paddle attachment on the mixer to combine all my ingredients just like I would any other cookie. Butter is creamed with brown sugar, vanilla and egg are added, the dry ingredients are tossed in when the egg is well incorporated, and then the carrots — and rest of the mix-ins, excepting the kitchen sink — are stirred in until just combined.
It’s all so easy, I’m almost ready to tackle an actual carrot cake again.
For now, I’m sticking to these cookies. And a tall glass of milk.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 20 cookies
1 stick butter (½ cup), softened
¾ brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
½ cup coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
Cream together softened butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beat with an electric mixer until fluffy (approximately 1-2 minutes).
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in separate bowl. Mix together with a wire whisk. Add to the butter, brown sugar, egg mixture. Stir until just combined.
Add oats, coconut, white chocolate chips, walnuts, carrots. When everything is well-integrated into the batter, refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. Batter will be sticky.
While refrigerating, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon out golf ball-size scoops onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes depending on temperature of oven and how cool the dough is from the fridge. They will be golden brown on top when done. If they appear moist in the middle they aren’t quite there yet! Cool completely on a wire rack before enjoying.
Things We Used to Make Carrot Cake Cookies:
- KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer
- KitchenAid Stand® Mixer flat beater attachment (comes standard with mixer)
- KitchenAid Stand® Mixer Slicer/Shredder attachment