A few months ago, I was rustling through Grandma Clara’s recipe box before I took off on a flight to LA. I was looking for some inspiration. I marvel each time I go through her recipes, because I always learn something new about what was new and trendy back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I wasn’t finding anything that fancied me until I came across a card that read “Carrot Cookies.” I had never seen it before. Since fresh vegetables are my thing, I decided to test the cookies. I found Grandma’s version to be bland, so I updated it with crystallized ginger for an exciting zing to the tongue. I added pistachios, too, for some nuttiness and crunch. What struck me most about Grandma’s recipe was that she cooked the carrots. Years of working with carrots have taught me that the fresh sweetness adds a wonderful element to any dish.
These cookies use fresh carrots – both in the dough and on top to finish. They make for great party conversation on the plate, and encourage people to dive right in and take a bite. The icing is very simple – just confectioner’s sugar thinned out with some orange juice. Feel free to use a freshly squeezed orange or a bit of orange juice if you have that more handy.
Makes 24 cookies
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1¼ cup freshly grated carrots
- 2 cups All-Purpose fl our
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ cup chopped pistachios
- ½ cup very fi nely chopped
- crystallized ginger
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice + more as needed
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
With a hand mixer, cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Fold in 1 cup of the carrots. Add the dry ingredients and stir until fully mixed. Fold in the nuts and ginger.
Drop the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet using a kitchen spoon. Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Mix together the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice. If needed, add more juice a ½ teaspoon at a time until the icing is just thin.
When the cookies are done baking, transfer to a wire rack. Drizzle with the icing with a spoon while they are still hot.
Sprinkle the tops with the remaining carrot. Let cool on the rack. Serve fresh or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.