A little over a week ago, my roommates and I ate at a new restaurant not far from our East Side abode: Hillside Farmacy. As one may guess from the name, they use locally-sourced ingredients (except for, say, the oysters), which seems to be an excellent trend among Austin eateries. Oh, and speaking of trendy, so were the waitstaff along with most of the customers. I never feel cool enough in this town, especially during SXSW days.
During the brief wait for a table, we ogled what was housed in the bakery case. The presence of macarons will never not excite me, plus there were pastries, cupcakes, chocolates, mini tarts, and what looked to be carrot cake whoopie pies. These all come from local bakeries.
After our tasty sandwiches, Maddie and I decided to split a macaron (rose) because she had never had one, and one of the whoopie pies since they looked/sounded good and were recommended by the waitress. The tasty not-so-little cookie sandwich inspired me to make some myself!
Last year, I was on top of things and posted recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, Ea-st-er, and even April Fool’s Day pretty well in advance of their holidays. What an annoying overachiever! I guess the new year is still young enough to try to be a little better about that.
These can count as my Easter contribution this year and maybe they’re slightly less bad for you than last year’s Pimp My Easter Basket goodies since no candy was involved. If you feel like you should make carrot cake but want something a little different, these cookies give you the flavors and are on the cakey side. They’re easy to whip up, too!
Carrot Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Baking Bites)
I subbed some of the white sugar with brown, went with ginger instead of pumpkin pie spice, and added a little orange zest to brighten things up. If you like raisins (and/or nuts) as per the original, go for it!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup freshly-grated carrots (1 1/2 big ones came out to 1 cup for me)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and zest and mix until thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture. After the flour has been incorporated, mix in the carrots and oats.
Drop tablespoonfuls of cookie dough on the prepared cookie sheet, then gently flatten them. Bake for 11 – 13 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Let cookies cool on a wire rack. When cool, sandwich together with frosting!
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Demolition Desserts)
I actually had a bunch of this left over from birthday cupcake-making, so I froze it in a sandwich bag and thawed it for these cookies. Super easeballs. (spur of the moment word) This is the recipe halved because you definitely don’t need that much for these.
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar, then beat well. Add the other half and then the coconut milk. If it seems too thick, add a little more coconut milk, or add some more powdered sugar if too thin.
The cookies were initially not very soft, so I put them in an airtight container along with two slices of bread, and after a couple hours, they were the perfect softness!