While this recipe is fantastic, it really has far too much sugar in it, which seems to be the case with quite a few of Martha Stewart's cookie recipes. To cut down on the sugar coma factor of these Carrot Cake Cookies, try cutting down the amount of granulated sugar to 1/2 cup or eliminating it entirely and using just the 1 cup of brown sugar that is called for. The same goes for the cream cheese frosting. It is way too sweet and could definitely benefit from using just half the amount of icing sugar called for. Using half the amount of sugar will also ensure that your cream cheese frosting doesn't get too soft at room temperature, which mine did.
I also think the frosting could benefit from a 1/2 tsp. of lemon extract. Trust me on this one. I worked at Cinnabon/Cinzeo in my youth. I know what they put in their cinnamon buns and frosting.
For those of you who have Martha's new Cookies cookbook or are thinking of buying it, this is just a little FYI regarding a typo in the directions of the original recipe. The list of ingredients calls for a little extra flour to be set aside for "flattening" the cookies. The directions never mention this as a step. I didn't flatten my cookies simply because my first batch out of the out of the oven was perfect. The picture that accompanies the recipe in the book shows cookies that are a little flatter than mine were. However, I still would not flatten these cookies, as a hot spot in my oven showed me that flattening the cookies would have resulted in larger pancakes than some of mine turned out as!
(modified from Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and Share, 2008)
1 cup (2 sticks) Earth Balance Natural Buttery Sticks, coarsely chopped*
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated cane sugar
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp finely ground flax seeds + 6 tbsp water, whisked until thickened)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups. whole oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (excess moisture squeezed out)*
1 cup raisins
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1-8oz. container Tofutti plain vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance Natural Buttery Sticks
1 cup. organic icing sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
* Note: It is very important that only the Earth Balance Natural Butter Sticks be used in this recipe. If you can't find this brand where you live, be sure to use a vegan margarine that will stay firm at room temperature. The Earth Balance Natural Margarine in the yellow tub will not do, because it will be too soft and will cause your cookies to spread too much while baking in the oven. I have experienced many a cookie disaster using the tub margarine because it is simply not solid enough for baking with cookies.
Also, be sure to squeeze as much moisture out of the grated carrots as you can (and don't throw the juice away -- drink it!). Not taking this extra step this will result in a cookie dough that has too much moisture. Just like not using the right margarine, this excess moisture will result in cookies that spread too much when baking. When measuring the grated carrots, be sure to "fluff" them up with your fingers -- the squeezing out of the moisture will have compacted it and throw off your measurement.
1. In a large bowl, combine the granulated cane sugar and brown sugar (or just the brown sugar) and the 1 cup of coarsely chopped buttery sticks. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on high until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add in the flax eggs and vanilla and beat the mixture on medium speed until completely combined.
2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. When the mixture is thoroughly combined, add it to the sugar/butter mixture in 1/2 cup parts, mixing with a wooden spoon until just blended. Once all the flour has been added, mix in the oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for 1 hour, or until firm.
3. Once the dough has finished chilling, preheat your oven to 350 F. Using a tablespoon measure (or a very small ice cream scoop equivalent to a tablespoon), shape the dough into round balls and place on the prepared sheets about 2" apart.
4. Bake the cookies in the oven until lightly browned on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the cookie sheets in the oven half way through the baking time. Also make sure that your cookie sheets are adequately greased before each new visit in the oven to ensure your cookies don't stick to the sheets.When done, remove the sheets from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.
5. When ready to eat the cookies, spread about 2 tsp. of cream cheese frosting onto the flat side of one cookie, then sandwich with the flat side of another cookie. Voila! You'll have a cookie that may just start a riot!
Cream Cheese Frosting Directions
1. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, in a bowl cream the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add in the butter in batches and continue to cream the mixture with the spatula until it is completely blended and smooth. Add in the icing sugar, continuing to cream the mixture until it is combined. Add in the vanilla extract (and lemon extract, if you read my recipe prologue and want to use it). Stir the mixture until the extract(s) is combined.
2. If not frosting your cookies right away, refrigerate the frosting until ready to use.