I recently read a blog post by The Pioneer Woman, about how she hates, correction, “abhors,” bananas. There is only one recipe on her website for the fruit that she “loathes,” and that’s for her mother’s banana bread. It honestly struck a cord with me, because as soon as I started reading, I immediately thought about the one thing that I cannot stand: carrot cake.
I’ve been called “un-American,” for my dislike for the mal-spiced (yes, I’m making it a word), what people call a “cake.” I’ve been asked how could I not like something that’s smothered with cream cheese frosting, because, “everyone loves cream cheese frosting.” And my father has even questioned whether or not I was his daughter, the man who really should just legally change his name to, Mr. I Love Carrot Cake.
But in reality, I love carrots. I love them raw. I love them roasted. Roasted with a bit of chile oil, side by side with thinly sliced parsnips, even better. They’re even lovely pickled. I. Love. Carrots.
But in a cake….there’s just something about either the spices, the texture, the cream cheese frosting that I’m convinced that has a bucket of powdered sugar in it; I just hate it. And what’s worse, is that I’ve had to choke it down three times in the past year. Who knew that it was a favorite cake of Roo’s family members (not me).
Yes, I love Roo that much that I’ll accept a slice of carrot cake with a smile, and eat it. I even ate it when I was 99% sure it came from a box. And the frosting came out of a can.
I’m still scarred.
But like they say, love makes you stupid, ie makes you eat carrot cake.
So when I read that Ree (The Pioneer Woman) decided to “step out of her comfort zone,” and literally go-bananas, I figured why not. How could I be experimenting with vegan and vegetarian cooking, but not try to adapt carrot cake into something that I might like.
Now I may not be as open minded, and actually make a carrot cake, but I figured why not try a cookie. If I hated carrots in a cake, it may not be so bad in something that’s only as large as a tablespoon.
I’ve also been experimenting with ground flax seed in various baked goods, and since it’s an ingredient that is not only nutrient rich, but also complements the flavor of whole wheat flour, I added it to my cakey-cookie mix. I really liked the nutty flavor and was pleasantly surprised as to how well it paired with such a bold flavor like ginger, that I also was weary about adding.
I love that these cookies are cakey, full of wonderful textures like the grated carrot and chopped dried cherries, and not timid to let you know that it’s full of heat from the freshly ground ginger. I’m happy to say that I think I’ve found a carrot (cake) cookie that even a hater like me, can love.
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Makes about 20 cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
Quarter cup whole wheat flour
Quarter cup ground flax seed
*You can use just one and a half cups of all purpose flour if that’s all you have*
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
Quarter teaspoon fine sea salt (I use Diamond)
Half cup olive oil (or a neutral flavored oil if that’s what you have)
Three quarters cup maple syrup
1 heaping cup grated carrots (I put one large carrot in my food processor, and used the ‘shred’ blade)
Half cup dried cherries, chopped (I cut each dried cherry in half, but a rough chop will also do)
two teaspoons fresh grated ginger
Two medium sized bowls (can hold about five cups of ingredients each)
A cookie sheet
A clean tablespoon for scooping cookie dough
And if you have it, a food processor (shreds the carrot in less than five seconds)
Place your oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flours, ground flax seed, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk till combined. Set aside.
In the second mixing bowl, add the olive oil, maple syrup and ginger. Whisk till combined. Add the carrots and dried cherries. Because it’s easier at this point to use a spatula, use a spatula and stir till combined (I hate it when things like pieces of carrots get stuck in the whisk).
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in increments. I added the first half, folded everything together with a spatula till combined, then added the second half of the dry ingredients and folded till combined.
Let the mix stand for about 5 minutes (I got distracted and let it stand 10) before putting it onto the cookie sheets.
In the meantime, line your cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
Check Facebook because someone posted on your wall. Pet your cat. Check your Amazon order status. Ask Roo about plans for next weekend. Wash your hands because you realized you pet the cat and you’re about to handle food….
And by now it’s probably been 5 – 10 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, scoop out the cookie batter and place onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheets. The cookies don’t really spread out in the oven, but it’s still good to not have them touching. I separated the cookies by one cookie’s width.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. I like these cookies to come out of the oven a bit underdone. They won’t be mooshy, but at 10 minutes, it really captures what I wanted in a “cakey” cookie.
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them, on the sheet, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.