Low-Fat Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Carrot cake is one of those desserts that leave me with a nostalgic memory from my childhood. In my family, this was the one dessert that only my Dad and I liked.  So whenever I have it,  I am always reminded of when my Dad and I used to go out and split a slice without telling Mom. I loved the fact that it was something only he and I shared. And while I know it’s a little thing, when you come from a family of 6, you relish over any tiny nitch that makes YOU stand out over your siblings (which yes, I have three brothers). 

     I am not usually a low-fat dessert lover but I honestly believe that if a cookie or dessert involves fruit or vegetables…the fat can be lowered without compromising taste or texture too much. So, when I was browsing through the internet and saw Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting from The Cozy Kitchen, I was drooling AND cringing at the thought of the caloric nightmare! I knew I had to try the recipe but also thought of ways to make it “lighter,” while still keeping the flavor. It couldn’t be THAT hard right? This is what I did.

      Instead of using a whole stick of butter, I cut out a 1/3 of the fat completely and added just 3 T of margarine. To supplement the rest of the fat, I added mashed banana and baby carrot food. I also decided to skip the “sandwich” part, frost the top, and garnish with leftover grated carrot. This way you can eat two separate cookies, tricking your brain to feel that you’re eating more.  I would strongly recommend waiting for the cookies to completely cool from the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Don’t be impatient, they are too soft when fresh out of the oven and will fall apart if not cooled completely.

     Once you finally have them frosted, you will notice how the banana and baby food kept the cookie moist and naturally sweetened. The texture is slightly spongy but they are still really chewy and possess a unique spice that blends the carrot/banana bread flavor nicely (I dunno, I’m not a master with the adjectives ha).  All I can say is if you love carrot cake, you will love these cookies and so will anyone you bake them for! Oh, and if you are thinking you could just skip the frosting, I feel sorry for your taste buds…it’s worth the extra 10ish calories, believe me!

Low-Fat Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen
Makes 3 Dozen cookies
3/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
3 T Land O’ Lakes Margarine
3 tsp carrot baby food
3 T mashed banana
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup raisins
Frosting:
From Cooking Light.com
1/3 cup (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, softened

1 T Country Crock Butter (or regular margarine)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut or carrot (I used carrot)
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grind oats in food processor or blender to make a fine flour and whisk together all dry ingredients in a small bowl (oats->salt)
3. Beat butter, banana, both sugars, and vanilla extract with electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and beat to combine, making sure to scrape down the sides. Stir in baby food. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour (in 2 separate additions). Stir in carrots and raisins by hand, mixing just until combined. The dough is sticky.
4. Drop by tablespoon-fuls on baking sheet (space ~1/2″ apart). Bake, rotating the sheets once halfway through. Cookies should be golden brown and spring back when gently touched (~12 minutes). Cool completely on baking sheet and then transfer to wire rack before frosting.
5. Prepare frosting, I would suggest halving the recipe for the frosting because otherwise you will have a lot leftover.  I calculated the nutrition facts using only half of the full recipe anyway. Frost, using ~1 tsp per cookie, might be a little less but still pretty generous.  Garnish with grated carrot or coconut.
Nutritional Profile (per 2 cookies):
136.8 Calories, 3.0 g Fat (0.6 g sat.), 13 mg Cholesterol, 28.6 g Carbohydrate, 1.2 g Fiber, 3.6 g Protein, 5.4 g Sugars
*I eliminated almost 7 grams of fat (most of which was saturated!). I have to say I am pretty proud of this lower fat version!

Original Sandwich cookie (per 1 sandwich cookie): 183.6 Calories, 9.9 g Fat (6 g sat.), 37.7 mg Cholesterol,  24.5 g Carbohydrate, 1.2 g Fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 2 g protein
*This is just an estimate, assuming that all the frosting was used and the cookies were exactly 1 tablespoon.

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