Carrot Cake Cookies

These carrot cake cookies are a cross between cookies and carrot cake. They’re kinda chewy, but kind of cake-y, sort of like a perfect muffin top texture. They’re packed full of shredded carrots, cinnamon and pecans and frosted with cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce. 

Why you’ll love these carrot cake cookies  

  • If you’re a carrot cake lover, you’ll love these cookies. They’re like little bites of carrot cake. 
  • The cookies are simple to bake, they require just a bowl and a whisk and I used a mini food processor and hand grater for the pecans and carrots. There’s no refrigeration time needed for the cookie dough!
  • The cinnamon and pecans pair perfectly with the cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce. 

If you’re here for all things carrot cake I have a ton of recipes for you! From basic carrot cake to carrot cake cupcakes, carrot cake sandwich cookies, carrot cake loafcarrot cake cinnamon rolls, carrot cake baklava and carrot cake muffins

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Flour: I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour (and nuts) is so often over measured. If not, make sure to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and level it off. 
  • Sugar: I used brown sugar for the cookies, granulated sugar for the caramel and powdered sugar for the frosting and I don’t recommend swapping any of these. These cookies are sweet but reducing the sugar in the cookies will affect the texture.
    • If you do want to reduce the sugar, feel free to reduce some of the sugar in the cream cheese frosting (but you’ll probably have to refrigerate it for a little as it will be softer) and make sure to take your caramel sauce a little darker as this will make it more bitter and less sweet. 
  • Pecans: I love adding ground up pecans or walnuts to any carrot cake dessert. I haven’t tested it with this recipe but I have subbed the nut flour for a little less all-purpose flour in other recipes and it turned out well. So if you need it to be nut free, I would probably do about ½ cup of flour in place of the ground nuts. 
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter for the cookies, frosting and caramel sauce because these cookies are quite sweet and that helps balance them out. Unsalted works fine too though.
    • Dairy free butter also works well. 
  • Eggs: make sure to use large eggs.  
  • Cinnamon: I added a whole tablespoon of cinnamon but to be honest I think my cinnamon is more subtle than average (I have the member’s mark brand) so if you have a stronger cinnamon, maybe just go with 2 teaspoons. 
  • Carrots: I just used medium carrots (and measured them several times) and I always get about 180g (give or take 10g is fine). I used a hand grater to shred them. If you make a bigger quantity, I recommend getting the shredder attachment to a kitchen aid mixer.
  • Cream Cheese: I always use Philadelphia cream cheese. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before mixing it with the butter. 
  • Vanilla Extract: I just used plain vanilla extract but vanilla bean paste or fresh vanilla beans work fine too. 
  • Heavy Whipping Cream:  I usually opt for a 36-40% cream, I don’t recommend swapping this. I have made caramel sauce with milk and it works ok but it’s not as thick and creamy. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Salted Caramel Sauce

Step 1: Make the caramel sauce by cooking water and sugar on the stovetop until it turns into an amber color. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Add the butter and whisk until it’s combined. Then add the heavy cream and whisk until it’s smooth (if the edges of the pan have crusty sugar, leave that behind, don’t try to whisk it in). 

Step 3: Pour the caramel into a heat safe bowl and add the salt and vanilla, whisking just until they’re combined. Cover and allow to cool completely to room temperature or chill in the refrigerator. 

Carrot Cookies

Step 1: Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and add a little to the food processor with the nuts. Grind the nuts until they’re completely combined.

Step 2: Combine the melted butter with the brown sugar, vanilla and egg. Whisk aggressively, for 2-3 minutes, until it lightens in color.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients, ground nuts and shredded carrots to the cookie dough and fold until it all comes together. 

Step 4: Scoop the cookie dough into 12 cookies with a 2 ounce cookie scoop (I did about 2.4 ounces per cookie). I baked all 12 on a very large cookie sheet but make sure you have good space between them as they spread a lot. 

Step 5: Bake for 8 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven and bang it on the counter a few times so the cookies flatten a little. Quickly use a biscuit cutter (or anything round) to scoot the cookies back into a round shape and finish baking for another 6-8 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Then bang them on the counter and scoot them with the biscuit cutter again. Allow them to cool completely to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Step 1: Make the frosting by creaming the butter and cream cheese together until they’re well combined and have lightened in color a bit. 

Step 2: Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat at a low speed just until the sugar is combined. 

Step 3: Scrape the edge of the bowl, add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium for 1-2 minutes while streaming in the heavy whipping cream.

Step 4: If the frosting is too soft, just refrigerate it for 20-30 minutes before piping. Use a piping bag fit with a large round tip. Pipe the frosting onto the cookies and use an offset spatula to create the swoop (if desired).

Step 5: Top with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a pinch of flakey sea salt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dairy free?

I haven’t tested these with dairy free butter but all of my recipes that I have tested have worked with dairy free butter so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I also don’t have a good alternative for dairy free cream cheese but if there’s one you like, I’m sure it would work fine. 

Can I make this gluten-free?

I haven’t tested these with gluten-free flour but all of my recipes that I have tested have worked with dairy free butter so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I recommend a 1:1 gluten-free substitute like King Arthur or Bob’s red mill. 

Can I make this nut free?

I haven’t tested these without the nuts but I have tested my carrot cake and carrot cream pie cookies without the nuts and replaced it with some flour. I recommend doing about ½ cup of all-purpose flour in place of the ¾ cup of nut flour in the recipe. 

Why did my cookies not spread?

It’s likely you’re cookies are more dry when you don’t measure the flour and nuts with a digital scale.

How to make cookies ahead of time

The cookies can be made ahead of time. Just finish baking the cookie dough and once they’ve cooled, place them in an airtight container or bag and freeze for a few days or freeze for a few weeks.

Before frosting, bring them back to room temperature and proceed with the recipe. 

You could also bake the cookies a day ahead and just store them (unfrosted) in an airtight container at room temperature.

The caramel sauce can also be made weeks ahead of time and stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. 

I don’t recommend making frosting ahead of time. You’d need to refrigerate it and then bring it back to room temperature and re-whip it which always makes it a little less stable. 

How to store carrot cake cookies

Once the cookies are frosted and completely done, they can be left at room temperature for a couple of hours but since it’s made with cream cheese I recommend storing them in the refrigerator. 

I refrigerate them in an airtight container for 2-3 days at most but if it’s longer, I would freeze them. Bring back to room temperature (or just slightly chilled) before serving. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below.

If you make these fabulous carrot cake cookies, I’d love it if you left a star rating or a review for me!

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

carrot cake cookies frosted with cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce

Carrot Cake Cookies

These carrot cake cookies are a cross between cookies and carrot cake. They’re kinda chewy, but kind of cake-y, sort of like a perfect muffin top texture. They’re packed full of shredded carrots, cinnamon and pecans and frosted with cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce. 
4.74 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cookies
Calories 527 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • 6 Tbsp (84g) salted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120mL) heavy whipping cream room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup (82g) pecan halves ground
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter melted
  • 1 1/8 cup (225g) light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g/2 medium) carrots shredded

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 oz (1/2 brick) cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
  • tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30mL) heavy whipping cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • Place the sugar and water in a medium size heavy bottom sauce pan. Swirl the pan until the sugar is immersed in water. Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow the sugar to fully dissolve in the water, gently swirling the pan every minute or so.
    1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, 1/4 cup (60mL) water
  • Bring the sugar and water to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Place the lid on the pan and allow the mixture to simmer until the color begins to darken to a light amber color, this should take about 10 minutes. Make sure to remove the lid and check the color at least every minute.
  • You can gently swirl the pan every couple of minutes but DO NOT STIR IT WITH ANYTHING. If there are crystalized pieces of sugar on the sides of the pan, the steam running down from the lid should dissolve them but if it doesn’t, you can use a pastry brush wet with water to brush them away.
  • Once the sugar is an amber color, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter. Pour in the heavy whipping cream while stirring constantly until it comes together.
    6 Tbsp (84g) salted butter, 1/2 cup (120mL) heavy whipping cream
  • Pour the caramel sauce in a heat proof jar and stir in the salt and vanilla extract.
    1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (325F/163C conventional) and line a large cookie sheet.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until they're well combined. Set aside.
    1 1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Place the pecans in a food processor with about 1/3 of the flour mixture and grind until the nuts are finely ground (the flour will help it grind more fine and not clump together).
    3/4 cup (82g) pecan halves
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the sugar, until they're well combined.
    1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, 1 1/8 cup (225g) light brown sugar
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk the batter for 1-2 minutes, until it's all smooth and has lightened in color a little.
    1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla
  • Add the dry ingredients, the nut mixture and the shredded carrots and fold the mixture until it's all well combined.
    1 1/2 cups (180g/2 medium) carrots
  • Use a 2 oz cookie scooper to scoop 2.4 ounces of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and bang the pan on the counter. Use a round biscuit cutter or a spatula to round the edges of the cookies and then return the cookies to the oven for another 6-8 minutes, until the edges are a little browned and they no longer look wet.
  • Bang and scoot again and let the cookies rest for at least 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Place the room temperature butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes, until they're well combined.
    1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, 4 oz (1/2 brick) cream cheese
  • Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat on low speed until the sugar is combined. Then increase the speed to medium-high for another 1-2 minutes.
    2 cups (240g) powdered sugar, tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • Add the vanilla extract and the heavy whipping cream and beat at medium high speed for another minute or so.
    1-2 Tbsp (15-30mL) heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Frost the cookies with the cream cheese frosting and then top with a drizzle of the salted caramel sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 527kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 4gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 427mgPotassium: 158mgFiber: 2gSugar: 50gVitamin A: 3519IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Share your love

6 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




  1. Quick question.. could i split the amount of dough for one cookie and then put the icing in the middle? Just thinking it might be easier to transport. Would this alter the integrity of the cookie? I am going to make these today or tomorrow and just thought I’d ask. I won’t change it unless I hear otherwise ; )

    • Hi! I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would measure out 1.2 ounces for each cookie and probably reduce the oven temp to 325f (preferably convection) so they spread a little more. Then you’d hopefully end up with a thinner cookie that’s easier to sandwich :). But like I said I haven’t tried it with the is recipe lol

  2. 5 stars
    This looks incredible! I wi have to post the actual review tomorrow as I am getting ready to bake right now but truly, your work is beautiful. We eat with our eyes first and I have tried several of your recipes and I feel like I am serving art. Quick question, when the pop up asks do we want recipes sent to our inbox appears… What deliciousness is in the photograph ? And are we allowed to have more than one email signed up? I rarely use my Gmail account any morebut was super glad to see your easter email amongst my backlog!