Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two Thumbs Up

I love getting recommendation from people whose taste I trust. It makes it much less risky to gamble two hours of my life to watch a movie if I know that my friend with identical tastes in movies raved about it. The same is true for books. There are people whose glowing review of a book means that I'll be reading that book within the next week.

Reading blogs is like getting personal reviews and raves about recipes and cookbooks. I love to see real life pictures of what a recipe yields (rather than something a food stylist created out of shortening and shaving cream) and to hear how someone who bakes in a home kitchen, rather than a commercial set-up, liked the recipe and the directions.

I've always been a bit put off by Martha Stewart. Her show and her books seemed designed to tell me in detail exactly how much better her life, her tastes, and her abilities were than mine. That's why I didn't jump for joy and run out and get a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies when it came out last year, even though it practically had my name in the title. It was only when I started seeing some of my favorite blogs baking from the book and gushing about the book that I decided to check it out. Which I did. Literally. From the library.

The book traveled between the kitchen and my bedside. You know what that means. I was hooked. When it was time for the book to go back to the library my husband looked at all the scraps of paper bookmarking delicious recipes and said, "Is this something Santa should know about?" Well, Santa came through for me. And this is the first batch of cookies that I've made from my new book. It didn't call for any imported ingredients, specialty tools, or esoteric techniques. And the cookies were delicious. The best of carrot cake in a cookie - genius!

I think prison changed Martha. Perhaps we could be friends. Well, maybe not close friends, but we could bake together.

Carrot Cake Cookies
- adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flattening cookies
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup raisins*

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1- In and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

2- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed, just until blended. Mix in the oats, carrots and raisins. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the batter is firm, at least one hour.

3- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4- Shape tablespoons of dough into balls (I used a cookie scoop to keep my hands clean), and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between balls.

5-Put about 1/2 cup all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl (like a cereal bowl). Dip the bottom of a water glass into the flour and use it to flatten the dough balls, coating it in flour each time.

6- Bake until browned and crisp around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time.

7- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

8- Make the Cream Cheese Frosting. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

9- When the cookies are completely cooled, pair them up according to size and shape. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the frosting onto the flat side of one half of the pairs. Sandwich them together with the remaining cookies.

Cookies can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 3 days.

*If your raisins are not plump and moist, soak them in hot water for at least 10 minutes to help them plump up. Drain them and dry them on a paper towel. You could also soak them in rum or Grand Marnier, but be sure not to let that liquor go to waste when you drain the raisins!


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I love blogs for the same reason; and hey, gotta love Martha Stewart in the end ;-)

Megan said...

Yeah,prison changed Martha for the better - she's not so stuck up anymore.

We are doing an informal bake along from the Cookies book. We just posted the Vanilla Malt cookies. Check it out if you are interested!

natalia said...

I sure am going to trust your taste ! They are sinfully healthy !!

Anonymous said...

Oh they look really good. (even those darn 'ole raisins look good!) Is the drinking of the Grand Marnier comment meant for me? It applies, for sure!
I don't suffer Martha overload here, so my little bit of Martha is a 'good thing'!
I'll be needing this book now, I guess. Thanks.

Peabody said...

I too am not her biggest fan. But her last two cookbooks I thought were really good. I own the cookie one. These sound really good. I should tell my mom about them, as she would be a big fan.

Peabody said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sara said...

Oh, these cookies are going to have to be made this weekend! They look delicious!!

Marysol said...

Lynn, I like aunt Martha, but you're right. Sometimes, there's a bit of a condenscending tone in her voice, enough to make me feel like I'm not worthy to breath the same air [g].

You know, I lost a favorite carrot cookie recipe many years ago, and have tried other recipes since, with just ok results.
But yours looks and sounds promising. And the filling, well, that makes it irresistible!

Lucy said...

Oooh they look as if they are very addictive! Carrot cake in a cookie..ingenious Martha Stewart :D

Maria said...

I will add my thumb to this one! These look marvelous!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love these cookies! They look divine!

Heather said...

mmmmmmmmm. that is all i have to say :) unless drooling counts as a comment ;)

Elyse said...

These sandwich cookies look scrumptious! I'm with you: I am often skeptical of those waxy-looking desserts in the cookbook pictures, but judging from the look of your REAL pictures, this one is a real winner!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I totally agree with you - I trust my fellow bloggers' opinions a lot! And I love Martha, but also think that sometimes her recipes don't turn out the way they should.
These cookies look fabulous - I have never tried carrot cookies!

brandin + kari said...

These look right up my alley! I love carrot cake. I like that there are not nuts in these. Generally, I am not a baker, but this might prompt me to make something special for my husband:)

CookiePie said...

Those look great! I agree about martha -- but if you love this book, I'll give it a look...

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I'm with you about other bloggers...its the first place I go when I'm looking for inspiration. As for those cookies--those look stunning! I was never a huge carrot cake person, but I do believe I would over-indulge on these

Katrina said...

They look delicious!

NKP said...

I feel the same way about Martha, I liked her better post prison/scandal.
I have never had carrot cookies, but I love carrot cake and I have this book so I think I should give them a try - thanks!

Brilynn said...

These have been on my 'to bake' list for a while now, glad to hear they now come recommended!

grace said...

i'm fairly confident that martha and i would never be friends--she's way too hoity-toity for me--but i'd definitely put up with her for a cookie sandwich or three. love carrot cake, love this post. :)

Sara said...

yes please! i love carrot anything, these look lovely. i would like to be martha's friend, i don't know if she'd want to be mine. :P

thecoffeesnob said...

I made these a couple months ago and absolutely loved them!

RecipeGirl said...

I might like to bake w/ Martha too, except I'd be afraid that I'd flub something up and be mortified!

Carrot cake cookies??? I don't believe I saw these in the book. They look delicious!

Anonymous said...

You're now up to 12 thumbs up. We made these yesterday, shared them with the kids' grandma and everyone declared them magnificent. These will definitely go into the "must make again" pile.

Steve thanks you for the timely tidbit about saving the soaking liquid.

Coco Bean said...

I got hooked on the cookie book too! Damn those cookies, I have baked seven types from the book and am trying to make it through all 175 without tipping the scales at that same number.

Aimée said...

I don't have this book yet...guess I'm waiting to get lucky on a giveaway!

Helene said...

I made these for B. on Sunday and he just about finished them off tonight. Absolutely deserves his nickname (Cookie Monster). He said they were a 10+ :)

Deborah said...

I'm glad you've been converted, because I love this cookbook! I haven't made these yet, but I imagine I will soon!

powerrail said...

I finally got these made last night, after about 3 hours (sic) and they are wonderful! Mine spread out a little too much, I would have liked them a tad smaller and thicker, but this is a wonderful recipe.

Cakespy said...

Oh my goodness. Like a combination of cake, cookie, whoopie pie...equalling HEAVEN!

eatme_delicious said...

Yum! I love Martha's cookie recipes. I have a couple of her cookie magazines (which is where most of the recipes from that cookbook came from) and have made probably around 7 recipes from them and have loved them. Including these carrot cake cookies.

Erin Phraner said...

Thank you for writing this post! I just made these cookies two days ago and they were SCRUMPTIOUS. Your tip about soaking the raisins would have come in handy. Mine were a little dry but that didn't stop 'em from being gobbled up. The cookie book is addicting, right? I think I put a "must try" post-in on every other page. THANKS!

Disco Mom said...

Hi there. I'm a bake-aholic and finally coming to terms with it. Just putting the final touches on my own baking therapy blog before it goes live in a week or so ( I found your blog perusing links on other baking blogs and I love this post because I'm the same way about Martha. I find her snooty and way too pretentious but spent 1/2 hour drooling over the cookie book last time I was at Border's. I didn't buy it based on principle, but I came home and looked up about 10 of the recipes on her website, then a few more off her cookie-a-day feature. I don't think we could be friends, like you said, but we could bake together. Mhm. I just tried her pink grapefruit sandwich cookies tonight. Wow. These carrot cake ones look great - thanks!