During my junior and senior years in high school and summers in college, I worked at Lone Tree Retirement Community in Meade, KS. Mostly I worked in the kitchen as a “dish washer”, but the title was a bit of a misnomer. My job description, had it ever been documented, would read like this: Responsible for everything related to serving meals to 90 residents … except cooking. Setting tables, prepping desserts and drinks, serving each resident, clearing tables, cleaning dining room aaaand washing all the dishes were some of the things on my to-do list for each meal. It was physically exhausting for obvious reasons, but it was mentally exhausting as well. Each resident had different specifications for his or her place setting. (e.g. Elizabeth is on a 1500 calorie diabetic diet/likes half-strength Postum at dinner, full-strength at supper/prefers to drink from a red cup/will yell at me if I don’t serve her first … ) Just worrying that I would accidentally give a diabetic resident a regular dessert kept my stomach in knots most days. Despite its challenges, it was not a bad job and I generally enjoyed the company of the residents and my co-workers.
I have some really nice memories from my time working at Lone Tree. One thing I especially remember is the tasty carrot orange cookies the cooks would occasionally bake. I am not certain what brought these cookies to mind a few days ago, but once the idea was stuck in my head, I knew I’d have to try to recreate them. As I recall the cookies, I think I would now find them a little too sweet. So I’ve modified the basic recipe, found at allrecipes.com, to pump up the flavor and balance the sweetness.
This is one of the rare recipes in which I actually prefer to use white sugar instead of maple sugar. I’ve made them both ways and I like them both, but I feel fresh carrot is just too delicate a flavor to hold up to the power of maple.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I did back during my days working at Lone Tree.
Soft Carrot Cookies with Orange Zest Glaze
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 cup mashed cooked carrots
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1 cup confectioners sugar
* Zest from 2 oranges (don’t skimp on the zest!)
* 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice. (“fresh squeezed” is important. You CAN taste the difference)
* 5 packets True Lemon (this is an important ingredient!)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line cookie sheet with baking parchment.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and carrots.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. To make the glaze, put 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar and 5 packets True Lemon into a medium bowl.
7. Zest two oranges into the bowl with the sugar.
8. Add orange juice. Mix until smooth.
9. Spread onto the cooled cookies. Store in an airtight container.
Special thanks, once again, to Nate Kauffman for another beautiful picture.