If you’re a fan of carrot cake, these cookies will be your new holiday favorite. This recipe is an update of a classic sugar cookie Chadwick grew up making from “Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book” -- a book which he bought with allowance money from the “Book of the Month” club in 4th grade. The cookies are crisp and light in texture, yet sturdy and hold up very well for decorating with Emily's frosting. The fresh carrot is an unexpected twist to cookie baking, which will surprise your holiday guests. Be mindful of pressing out as much of the water as possible after grating. And use flour as directed to ensure the carrots hold up in the dough.
Makes about 24 medium size cut out cookies.
1. Grate the carrots on the small hole side of a box grater. It should be about 1 cup when finished.
2. Lay 2-3 sheets of thick paper towel on the counter. Place the grated carrots on one half of the paper towels. Fold the other side of the paper towels on top and press firmly to squeeze as much water from the carrots as possible. Transfer the carrots to a medium bowl. Add the 3 tablespoons of flour and toss with a fork to fully coat. The flour will wick away any more moisture. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the carrots; mix again on medium speed until fully incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla; beat again, about 30 seconds.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 2¾ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and clove. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer. Beat on medium until the dough just comes together, about 30-45 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber scraper and beat again 10-20 seconds more.
5. Place the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
7. Line 2-3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Divide the dough in half using a sharp chef’s knife. Place the second half in the refrigerator until the first batch is rolled and cut out.
9. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out on the surface to ¼” thick. Cut the dough with desired cookie cutters. Using a lightly floured offset spatula or chef’s knife, transfer to the baking sheets. Set the cookies at least 1” apart. Bring the dough scraps together, lightly flour again, and roll and cut out the remaining dough.
10. Repeat the above steps with the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
11. Place the cookie sheets on the center racks in the oven. Bake the cookies 12-14 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy on the bottom. If the cookies are slightly soft to the touch, continue baking 2-3 minutes more.
12. Remove the cookies from the oven and place on wire racks to cool completely.
13. Decorate with frosting.
ALMOND BUTTERCREAM DIRECTIONS:
1. Cream your butter and shortening until well incorporated. Both must be at room temperature to prevent clumping.
2. Once creamed, add your vanilla and almond. Mix again for 1 minute.
3. Sift your powdered sugar to make sure there are no clumps and add it in.
4. Place a towel over your mixer to prevent a powdered sugar storm.
5. Once mixed, slowly add in your heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time (you can always add more but you can’t take it out). Continue to add more than the recipe states if it’s too thick.
6. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute on medium to high speed. Be sure not to overwhip your buttercream. Don’t panic—you won’t ruin it if it whips longer. Store unused buttercream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.
7. If you don’t want your buttercream to crust over, omit the shortening and use all butter. To use unsalted butter, add in 1/4 teaspoon of salt when creaming butter. This will balance out the sweetness. Half recipe for smaller batch of buttercream
WREATH WITH RED BERRIES:
WHAT YOU NEED
1. Use tip 352 and your light green buttercream. We will be piping leaves all around this wreath. Make sure to have your beak of the tip facing down in a point as pictured. Start piping on one end of the cookie.
2. Squeeze for about ½ inch and stop. Also make a little wave motion with your piping bag to create dimension in the leaves. You will have your bag angled towards you to create the leaves. The longer you squeeze, the longer the leaves will be. Keep making layers until you have filled the whole cookie with a desired amount of buttercream leaves/branches.
3. With your red nonpareils, take 15 and spread them in clusters of three around the wreath to create little holly berries.
WHAT YOU NEED
1. Using tip 21 and white buttercream to frost our snowflake. Start at the top point and squeeze the buttercream in a steady stream and slowly move the tip back and forth to make a slight wave all the way down to the opposite tip at the bottom while holding your bag at a 45-degree angle. Pipe on the rest of the snowflake from the center out to the tips in the same motion. Continue until the snowflake is filled.
2. Dip your cookie face down gently in a bowl of clear sugar crystals to coat the cookie and make it sparkly.
3. With our red and tip 4, make a dollop at the tip of one end and slowly move the piping bag towards the middle. Slow down the pressure as you go to make a small design. This will make it skinnier as it ends. We are drawing on our snowflake. Continue this around each tip of the snowflake.
4. Now attach tip 4 to your white buttercream and make a design on both sides of the red. Instead of pulling straight down, you will make your dollop and move inwards towards the red buttercream you have already piped. Continue to do this on both sides of the red, all the way around your cookie making a beautiful and easy design. Finish it off with a dollop of red in the center of the snowflake.