Melt-in-your-mouth Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies at their finest and from scratch. Buttery, light and tender-crumbed, spiced and sweetened just right for incredible classic Carrot Cake flavor, these festive cream cheese cookies are perfect for both spring and Easter as well as fall and Thanksgiving celebrations, or everyday. You just can’t have one! Included is a scrumptious and irresistible gluten free variation. Everyone will LOVE them!
A New American Cookie Classic:
Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies—Made from Scratch!
My friends, today I am thrilled to share a special variation of my original recipe for Gooey Butter Cookies made from scratch—Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies. As I have stated before, if you have never experienced Gooey Butter Cake, or a Gooey Butter Cookie made from scratch, you simply haven’t lived.
Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies taste like a delectable pastry cookie from the finest bakery in town. Its tender and light “cloud-like” crumb is contrasted with a super-thin soft and yet crackly sugar crust that forms during baking after rolling the dough in confectioners’ sugar. Once bitten into, these easy to make cake-like cookies take on an irresistible buttery yet fluffy cheesecake-like texture, almost fudgy like a brownie, and then melt in your mouth. Seductive, I tell you!
Just as with my original recipes for Gooey Butter Cookies, Lemon Gooey Butter Cookies, Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies and Shamrock Gooey Butter Cookies, this recipe comes with a very stern warning straight up and upfront:
WARNING: DO NOT eat the cookie dough or there will not be enough to bake cookies!
Seriously. As I have stated previously, you just might want to grab a spoon and sneak a trip over to the living room and camp out on the sofa and binge watch TV whilst cozying up with the mixing bowl full of this incredibly wicked cookie dough. It is a cookie dough like no other. You have been warned.
Why Are These Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies wicked good?
My friends, I worked on this recipe for Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies quite diligently. In fact, recipe testing took a total of four (4) attempts to complete the recipe as written.
First, our recipe for Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies is made from scratch without a cake mix. The flavor profile of classic Carrot Cake shines through these scrumptious buttery cream cheese cookies.
Second, the flavor profile of our Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies cannot be beat. And I will share exactly why.
To begin, it was important to incorporate dark brown sugar versus light brown sugar for the molasses flavor to penetrate through the cream cheese. This also helped with the classic Carrot Cake color. Next, the spicing had to be just right and the addition of ginger really helped all the warming spices come shining through.
In addition, going with finely grated carrots made it easy to incorporate into the dough and unsweetened shredded coconut versus sweetened shredded coconut (that is incredibly moist) was used for good texture and a nice bite by keeping the dough from becoming overly moist and too soft.
Finally, the leavening needed to be increased to achieve the classic “puffed” and crackled look of Gooey Butter Cookies despite the additions of grated carrot and coconut weighing down the dough as well as the increased amount of brown sugar to sugar that could otherwise cause the cookies to spread. These decisions paid off in spades.
Gooey Butter Cookies after rolling in confectioners’ sugar and just before baking.
Let’s Talk Gluten Free Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies
Honestly, the gluten free variation of our Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies is phenomenally good. In fact, you simply cannot tell that they are gluten free! And there are three (3) important reasons why this is so.
First, it all starts with the right gluten free flour blend—in this case, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour—and the perfect amount of guar gum. Yes, I prefer guar gum to xanthan gum for my gluten free baking for allergy reasons in addition to many other reasons. But, I will leave that for a future post on gluten free baking and ingredients.
Second, gluten free baking almost always benefits from the addition of dairy. I learned this very early on with my gluten free baking recipe development when I developed my recipe for Gluten Free Honey-Nut Rugelach for Bob’s Red Mill. In addition, this concept and practice is confirmed by the folks over at America’s Test Kitchen. In their book, The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook, the authors confirm that the addition of dairy, in the form of cream cheese or sour cream in gluten free baking, or in the form of dry milk powder added to their gluten free flour blend, not only adds flavor, richness, structure and tenderness, dairy also contributes to the Maillard reaction—which is essentially the process that creates browning and additional flavors during baking.
Third, our recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies calls for a trip in the refrigerator to both rest and chill the dough for at least 2 hours. Do not skip this step. The resting is especially important because 1) the resting period allows the sugar to dissolve, flours to be properly hydrated and prevents a gritty texture and 2) the very sticky dough must be chilled to firm it up in order to be rolled between palms of hands and then rolled in confectioners’ sugar before baking as well as promote the structure of the cookies and prevent excessive spreading during baking.
King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour
Why does Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommend King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour?
Let’s now briefly talk gluten free flour.
By blending white rice and whole-grain brown rice flours with pure starches, such as tapioca and potato, while avoiding corn, dairy, nut, sorghum (grass) and soy products as well as gums and leavening agents, gluten free bakers in the food allergic and celiac communities have a safe and well-tested gluten free flour that performs exceedingly well on a multi-purpose level.
Quite simply, King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend provides greater flexibility than other brands by allowing bakers and recipe developers to create recipes where the amounts of guar or xanthan gum and leavening agents, like baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and yeast, can be added accordingly for a wide range of applications from baking breads, cakes and cookies to savory dishes.
The good news is that King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend, is readily available among gluten free flours at Whole Foods Market® and most grocery stores.
Plus, since I am severely allergic to corn and any corn-derived food additives, I am safe from allergic reactions using KAF GF flour. Sadly, I can no longer work with gluten free flours that contain cornstarch.
For my gluten free readers, all I can say is thank the Lord above that King Arthur Flour® makes an exceptional Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour blend and that Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese is gluten free or there would be no incredibly scrumptious Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies and all the variations made from scratch!
Although I am enthusiastic about King Arthur Flour® products, I am not a compensated blogger, recipe developer or spokesperson for the company. I just love their products and catalog! In fact, I have been a happy KAF customer having received their catalog for over 20 years now and remember the days before it became the full-color catalog filled with every baker’s needs as it is today.
Organic Powdered Sugar, 365 Everyday Value® brand by Whole Foods Market®.
As for the confectioners’ or powdered sugar called for in the recipe, I found a fabulous corn-free confectioners’ sugar. This is excellent news for those who are allergic to corn (like me), a major food allergen, because most powdered sugars contain cornstarch. It is also convenient to keep on hand when I am short on time and don’t have my own powdered sugar made from scratch, using a blender, with pure cane sugar and tapioca flour.
My favorite corn-free (cornstarch free) and vegan powdered sugar, 365 Everyday Value brand Organic Powdered Sugar by Whole Foods Market shown above.
For my friends that do not have a Whole Foods Market nearby, I highly recommend Wholesome Sweeteners for corn-free powdered sugar that can be found online in their store at Amazon.com.
Just as with my other gluten free cookies, when The Big Lug sampled the gluten free version of these scrumptious Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies, he could not believe that they were gluten free. That is saying quite a lot because he is quite the cookie connoisseur.
Here at Wicked Good Kitchen, we hope that our recipe for Carrot Cake Gooey Butter Cookies becomes a new tradition for your family.
Below are Pinterest-friendly sized images to pin at Pinterest!
- 2¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (280 grams) organic all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur Flour®
- 3½ teaspoons (about 14 grams) baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons (3.75 grams) fine-quality ground cinnamon, such as Penzey’s
- ¼ teaspoon (.625 grams) ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (.625 grams) ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon (.625 grams) freshly grated whole nutmeg
- 1 (8-ounce/226-gram) package cream cheese, such as Philadelphia®, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (150 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt, or ¾ teaspoon regular table salt
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk (mine weighed 70 grams w/o shells)
- 1¼ cups (125 grams) finely grated organic carrots, about 3 large to 4 medium
- 6 tablespoons (30 grams) organic unsweetened shredded coconut, such as Let’s Do Organic®
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for rolling & dusting cookies
Tips:Chill dough between batches to keep it firm enough to roll and to prevent excessive spreading during baking. Only use completely cooled cookie sheets lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper before baking each batch. Avoid crowding the cookies on baking sheets by spacing apart at least by 2 inches. How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 120 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. How to Measure King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: There is no need to aerate the flour. Simply spoon flour into measuring cup and level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 160 grams per 1 cup of gluten free flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container. These tender cookies taste fabulous when served either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. Cookies will keep for up to 1 week covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Total time above does not include time for refrigerating dough before baking. Variation: For Gluten-Free Gooey Butter Cookies: Substitute 2¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon (370 grams) King Arthur Flour® Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour and 1¼ teaspoons (3.5 grams) guar gum, such as by Now Foods, for the regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in the recipe. (It is important to whisk in guar gum until evenly distributed throughout the flour because it is very sticky once moisture is added and sticky lumps are undesirable in dough.) Whisk together until well blended and then continue with recipe by whisking in the baking powder. Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.