Zesty little cookies with a hint of brandy
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 &1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 bricks cream cheese
5 tablespoons or to taste, Brandy (Metaxa gives a nice flavor)
Powdered Sugar, to taste.
I like a mildly sweet frosting but had to add more sugar to compensate for the liquid in order to get a good consistency.
In the supplies list I say 'assorted bowls' because I find I can never have too many bowls when embarking on cookie making ventures. Plus its nice to have somewhere clean to set your spoon. Also this recipe is simply a tweaked version of one I found for Carrot Cake Cookies on Allrecipes.com.
Preheat oven to 350 and begin by chopping up your carrots and walnuts.
I used a food processor to chop my walnuts as well as 'shred' my carrots. Both came out to be a very fine grade, but I think it helped over all in keeping the cookies together and keeping them light.
Once chopped set walnuts and carrots aside in one of your handy dandy mixing bowls.
Now is also a good time to start the Icing
Using your electric mixer blend brandy, cream cheese, and sugar, adding sugar until the mixture is fluffy and somewhat firm.
This frosting will get no where near as thick as icing, but just keep in mind it needs to be just thick enough to give a clear design on your cookies.
Once blended together get an assistant to hold open your ziplock bag, and dump the frosting into the bag. squish the icing into one corner of the bag, and rubber band the other 3 together. you now have a home made icing pipette. Put this in the freezer until your ready to ice some cookies.
Whisk the softened butter with brown sugar, once it is throughly mixed and fluffy as possible add the eggs and whisk till fluffy once more.
* I like a wide shallow bowl for whisking it allows for more fluff and less mess.
Once the Eggs, Brown Sugar, and Butter are throughly mixed you can fold in the Carrots, Walnuts, and Cranberries one at a time with a rubber spatula.
Mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
Then sift and fold, about 3/4 cup at a time, into your butter-sugar-egg-mixture.
This dough is pretty sticky, so I found the best course of action was to form it with cold spoons much like you would falafel. Or, if your willing to get down and dirty simply mold the dough into 1 & 1/2 " rounds and evenly space them on the cookie sheet. About 3". Also I didn't need cooking spray, but if your cookie sheets are old you may want to consider it.
Bake cookies 1 tray at a time for 15 min (I live in the mountains and 15 min was perfect, but I've heard elevation effects cook times so you may need to adjust your cook time).
It almost time to frost your cookies!
... But first, zest or grate enough ginger to put at least two strands atop each cookie. Put the ginger in a small bowl, along with enough dried cranberries to top each cookie. Add enough lemon/lime juice to cover them, and let sit while you frost.
Take the frosting out of the freezer and cut about 1/4 inch off the tip of the bag, and your ready to roll.
I've had zip-lock bags rip on me before while trying this but have found that if you use a freezer bag, and don't try and squeeze too hard, you should be fine.
Frost the cookies however you like then put them in the fridge quickly . Cream cheese icing melts quickly but once it's had time to set will do fine outside the fridge.
Top with a couple dried cranberries and a few shreds of ginger from your mixture, and take a bite.