These carrot cookies with orange icing are a Wetta family tradition.
My grandma kept these in a shoebox in her freezer between layers of waxed paper. She’d send you out to the garage to get a Diet Rite and say “bring in a cookie, too.” She must have liked her sweet treats on the chilly side, because she also kept frozen Twinkies and orange push-ups from the Schwan’s man in there.
My grandma was not a great cook, but a utilitarian one. Raising the ten children of a country lawyer demands it. There is no room for gourmet when serving that many people.
But everyone in my family loves these cookies. This, and the banana cake, were also my father’s favorite treats. So I always think of him when I make them.
I’m not going to lie — other people often find these strange. But if you don’t like them, that’s okay. You’ll just never meet a Wetta who won’t eat them.
Carrot cookies always seem particularly appropriate for Easter, which was why I wasn’t surprised that my sister and I both made them last weekend.
The recipe is from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. I’ve updated it (butter, not Crisco!) and my family has never made it with coconut.
The cookies are very cake-like, light and pillowy. The orange icing is a dream. The citrus cuts the sweetness. I do recommend keeping them in the freezer and just popping one out at a time and letting it thaw a bit before eating. I don’t know if it’s just nostalgia, but they really do taste best that way, in my opinion.
- 1 C cooked, mashed carrots (or baby food works fine! The kind for older kids)
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1 C butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 C flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 C butter
- 4 C powdered sugar
- 2 t vanilla
- juice and zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 400F. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and carrots in standing mixer. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add to sugar and butter mixture until combined. Do not over-mix.
Scoop about two tablespoons of dough onto un-greased cookie sheet. Leave about two inches between cookies. Bake for eight minutes until cookies are soft to the touch. Cool on rack.
For frosting, cream together butter and powdered sugar in standing mixer. Add vanilla, orange juice, and zest. Beat until combine.
You’ll have extra frosting; save for later or make a double batch of cookies! Remember, they freeze well.