Carrot cake shortbread cookies are sweet and melt-in-your-mouth buttery, packed with carrots and walnuts, and spiced like your favourite carrot cake. Enjoy them as is, or with a drizzle of melted white chocolate for total indulgence. These cookies are easy to make in one bowl with a few simple ingredients and they are freezer-friendly (both baked and unbaked). You can enjoy these all year round, especially in the spring during Easter (aka. carrot cake season).
You will always find me baking up a storm during any holiday, because it's the perfect excuse to make some sweet treats to enjoy. Carrot cake shortbread cookies are the perfect option that is festive, delicious, and simple. It's perfect if you are looking for something tht is not decorated like an Easter egg or super colourful. Some other popular carrot-heavy Easter desserts to make this spring are: Carrot Cake with Cheesecake Topping, Spiced Carrot Muffins, and Carrot Cake Biscotti.
Ingredients and Equipment
To make these easy carrot cake shortbread cookies, you will need the following ingredients:
- confectioners' sugar
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- ground cinnamon
- white chocolate - optional, to drizzle on top.
How to Make the Best Carrot Cake Shortbread Cookies
- Make the cookie dough. Cream the butter and sugar together using a stand mixer or hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated. Gradually add the flour and cinnamon and beat on low speed until combined. Add walnuts and carrots and beat until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 2 minutes until dough becomes more breadcrumb like and less dry.
- Chill the dough. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Wrap the disc tightly with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours, up to overnight. If you are using a dough that has been chilled overnight, you will need to let the dough sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes to soften slightly and become more workable when ready to use.
- Cut out the cookies. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour, and place the dough on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is ¼-inch thick. Use a 2-inch fluted cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Re-roll the scraps and repeat.
- Second chill. Place the cookies half-inch apart on two half sheet baking pans lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and chill in the refrigerator for another 10 minutes, while the oven is preheating.
- Bake. Bake the cookies in a 350 F preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until edges turn light brown (or 10-12 minutes for a softer cookie). These shortbread cookies take a little longer to bake than traditional cookies because of the extra moisture added from the carrots. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature.
Enjoy the cookies as is, or drizzle white chocolate over them.
How to Make the White Chocolate Drizzle
I opted for a simple white chocolate drizzle over these instead of a cream cheese frosting, mainly for easier storage and handling. Plus, white chocolate just makes everything taste better. You can certainly use a cream cheese icing, but you will then no longer be able to store the cookies at room temperature for more than 2 hours, and will need to store the cookies in the refrigerator.
To make the white chocolate drizzle, you simple melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over top of the cooled cookies. Allow the chocolate to set before stacking and storing.
How to Melt White Chocolate
- On the stove: Bring 2 inches of water to a low simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Then, turn the heat to low and place a medium heatproof bowl on the mouth of the pot. Make sure that there is a gap of a few inches in between the bottom of the bowl and the water (You can also place a bowl on a steamer attachment on top of your pot). Add the white chocolate and stir constantly as it melts. Stir until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted. This should take a few minutes.
- In the microwave: The second way to melt chocolate (and an easier way) is in the microwave. Place a small heatproof bowl of white chocolate into the microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals. Remove the bowl at each interval and stir well. Repeat until the chocolate has completely melted. Stir until completely smooth.
Tips for Making Shortbread Cookies
- Can I substitute the walnuts? You can substitute the walnuts with any other type of nuts. Try pecans, almonds, or hazelnuts.
- How long do these carrot cake cookies last? Once cooled, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- Can I freeze shortbread? Yes. Once cooled, arrange the cookies in a single layers in an airtight container, layered in between pieces of parchment paper. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- How do I store shortbread cookie dough? Store shortbread cookie dough once shaped into a disc and wrapped tightly with cling wrap for up to 3 days in the refrigerator before baking. When ready to use, you will need to let the dough sit at room temperature for up to 20 minutes to allow it to soften slightly and become more workable.
- Can I freeze shortbread cookie dough? Absolutely! Once the dough has been shaped into a disc and wrapped tightly with cling wrap, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 3 months. To use, allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the kitchen counter for one hour before rolling and cutting out the cookies.
More Shortbread Cookies
- Slice and Bake Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- Pecan Snowball Cookies
- Linzer Cookies
- Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Heart Cookies
- Christmas Shortbread Cookie Bites
- Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies with Almond Glaze
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.