A Modern Classic with a Healthy Twist
Carrot Cake is my all-time favorite cake (except maybe an excellent chocolate Tres Leches). My husband makes an excellent carrot cake that comes directly from the Joy of Baking website. The most unfortunate thing is how much time and effort it takes, and how terrible it is for you (I did the calorie/macronutrient estimation over Thanksgiving, it’s atrocious). So, a few months ago we went to Ziggy’s Healthy Grill here in Houston and were amazed by their sugar-free carrot cake cookies. A little creative web research shows that they were likely adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
Tonight we are going over to a friend’s place for a double date of sorts. First they’ll cook a “traditional” Russian dinner (she is Russian, he’s an Aussie) and we decided to bring dessert. This gave us an excellent opportunity to modify this recipe to make it not only healthy, but tasty too (unlike Ziggy’s, we did use sugar, but halved it from the original recipe)! After dinner is done, we’ll be off to the ice skating rink to enjoy some cold fun, as it’s currently 80 degrees and humid in Houston (it’s going to be a long summer….). Anyway, back to the task at hand…healthy carrot cake cookies!
So, one healthy modification was halving the sugar (took out the white sugar) from the Martha Stewart recipe. The second modification we used was substituting King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour for All Purpose Flour. But, can you guess the third major modification to these carrot cake sandwich cookies???
Bonus points if you can guess the secret ingredient to the filling of these protein-packed sandwich cookies by only the picture below (no scrolling…)!
However, before you can get to the filling and the special ingredient, we need to make the cookies first!
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (Thanks Perrie!)
2 sticks of softened butter
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (be sure to get moisture out of them as possible, we read it can cause problems with cookie stability)
2 eggs at room temp (or close to it)
1 cup raisins (if large, chop them up)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla (0.5 if using double strength)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp ground ginger
0.25 tsp salt
Put softened butter, brown sugar into stand mixer and beat for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat lightly into mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (except oats) into mixture in parts, mixing after each addition. Fold in carrots, raisins, and oats.
Let the dough cool in the fridge for ~ 30 min before spooning onto cookie sheets. Preheat your oven to 350F.
Spoon the mixture onto cookie sheets (lined with parchment paper preferably to make clean up easier). Make sure they are about equal in size so you can make even looking cookie sandwiches.
Bake the cookies for about 12-14 minutes at 350F and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 min before transferring to wire rack.
Please resist the temptation to eat one. Let them cool completely so you can enjoy them with your good and healthy filling!
Well, maybe just one if you come up with an odd number of cookies….
Now for the sandwich filling(s)!
For the cheese lover (and slightly less healthy version, i.e. for the hubby)…
1 block cream cheese
scant tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat again until fully incorporated.
And…for the special healthy protein-packed (or as protein packed as you can get in a cookie…)…
Fage 0% yogurt (I used the 2 serving package; any other thick greek yogurt will do)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar (more or less to taste)
Stir the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar into yogurt until fully incorporated. Be sure the yogurt you use is thick, Fage has a very nice and thick consistency that works well for a sandwich filling.
Edit: April 5, 2009…
Last week for my birthday, I remade these cookies with two yogurt fillings, the cinnamon noted above but also a lemon yogurt filling (which was a hit)!
For the lemon filling, substitute lemon zest from one lemon for the cinnamon. It’s even better the next day after the flavors meld with each other…
This filling will make much more than you need, save the rest for non-cookie related snacks. It will go great with some raisins!
Healthier one on the right (chocked full with yogurt):
8 g fat
15 g carb
1 g fiber
3 g protein
Not as quite as healthy one on the left (but still pretty darn good for you):
11 g fat
25 g carb
1 g fiber
2 g protein
This is a versatile recipe and you can modify it how you’d like. We were going to put pecans in it as well, but ran out of time today…
Be sure to refrigerate these cookies…remember, they do have yogurt in them and refrigeration is key to keep them!