In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a delicious fall cookie. I found the recipe in "Simply Sensational Cookies," by Nancy Baggett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99).
Carrot Drop Cookies with Cream Cheese Glaze
(Makes about 35 cookies)
— 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks
— 1 1?2 cups packed light brown sugar
— 2 1?2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus a little more for optional garnish
— 1?2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground allspice
— 2 teaspoons baking powder
— 1?2 teaspoon salt
— 2 cups finely chopped or grated carrots (about 4 medium)
— 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
— 1 cup seedless dark or golden raisins, rinsed in warm water, well drained, and patted dry, optional
— 2 large eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten with a fork
— 2 1?2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
(For cream cheese glaze)
— 2 cups powdered sugar, plus more if needed
— 5 tablespoons cream cheese, slightly softened
— 1 1?2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
— 1?4 teaspoon corn syrup, optional
— 1?4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 375°F. Grease two large baking sheets or coat with nonstick spray.
2. In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until mostly melted and runny, stirring. Remove from the heat; stir until completely melted and fluid.
3. Vigorously stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.
4. Thoroughly stir in carrots, nuts (if desired), and raisins, if using. Vigorously stir in the eggs, then fold in the flour until evenly incorporated.
5. Using soup spoons, drop 1 1?4 -inch mounds of dough 2 1?2 inches apart on baking sheets.
6. Bake (middle rack) one sheet at a time for 12 to 16 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned all over and springy to the touch. Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to the racks to cool completely.
To prepare the Cream Cheese Glaze:
1. In a food processor, process the sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice, corn syrup, if using, and vanilla until smooth and well blended, stopping and scraping down the bowl sides as necessary. (Alternatively, in a large bowl beat the sugar and cream cheese on low, then medium, speed until completely free of lumps; scrape down the beaters and bowl sides as needed. Beat in lemon juice, corn syrup, if using, and vanilla until evenly incorporated.)
2. If the glaze is too runny to hold its shape, add a tablespoon or two more powdered sugar until stiffened just slightly; if too stiff, thoroughly incorporate a few teaspoons water.
3. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze, shaking off the excess, or generously swirl it on with a knife, if preferred.
4. If desired, garnish the tops further by sprinkling a little nutmeg or cinnamon over the glaze before it sets. Let stand until the glaze sets.