I’m so proud, and instead of quietly congratulating myself on a minor success, I’m going to tell the interwebs all about it like it’s a big deal. Because that’s what blogs are for, right? Okay, then. Drumroll, please . . .

I exercised four days in a row last week.

You may remember that I’ve had exercise successes like this before — over the summer I went to Jazzercise consistently for months! But once August rolled around and it was time to go back to teaching, any physical activity (besides the vigorous use of my grading pen) was put on the back burner.

Recently, though, I finally scrounged around under the furniture and in the closets of my heart until I found enough motivation to get on my elliptical machine. Four. Days. In. A. Row.

Turns out a little Coke Zero and some Teen Mom make exercise almost bearable. Don’t judge me.

Some of you out there are crazy exercisers and are trying your best not to giggle at my “success.” Marathoners, triathaloners, rock climbers, extreme ironers — I know you’re out there, reading this and scoffing. Or guffawing. Or perhaps chortling.

Regardless of what sort of condescending laugh you’ve chosen, I recognize that four days is decidedly unimpressive to some of you hardcore athletes. Nevertheless, it was such an achievement for me that I felt I deserved some sort of reward. A trophy, maybe? A medal? A subscription to Ellipticizing For Life Magazine (which does not exist)?

You see where I’m going with this. I deserved a reward after a week of hard work, so I SPENT ALL WEEKEND EATING THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF CARROT CAKE COOKIES ONE PERSON COULD POSSIBLY INGEST OVER A TWO DAY PERIOD. That is only a slight exaggeration.

I made these for a Saved by the Bell potluck I went to on Friday night (I know, right? I have cool friends). The sultry honey cardamom cream cheese was an oasis of smoooooth between two spicy carrot cake cookies. Those hunky cookies, by the way, boasted toasted pecan, candied ginger, carrot, and a kick of cinnamon. The final product was perfect for rewarding oneself after four arduous days of exercise: a sweet-but-not-too-sweet, sophisticated, portable bit of carrot cake bliss.

Now to spend the next five days working off the weekend! What about you? How do you reward yourself for a job well done? A special food favorite? Some time to relax?

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Honey Cardamom Cream Cheese

Recipe by: Adapted from In Praise of Leftovers
Yield: 12 sandwich cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and chopped
4 tablespoon candied ginger chopped

Filling Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
Grating of fresh nutmeg

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat together butter, brown and granulated sugars, egg, and vanilla until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, nuts, and ginger at low speed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Drop about 1.5 tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until cookies are lightly browned and springy, about 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on their baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, blend cream cheese, honey, cardamom, and nutmeg together until smooth. Spoon cream onto half the cookies and top with the other half.

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33 Comments on Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies with Honey Cardamom Cream Cheese

  1. Lisa
    January 31, 2011 at 4:33 pm (12 years ago)

    Why do I not have Saved by the Bell potlucks?! Congrats on your success and your delicious carrot cake cookies, Ms. Julie!

  2. Amy
    January 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm (12 years ago)

    Why do I always read your blog when I’m starving and stuck at work for another couple hours…
    These look amazing, and I might have to buy cream cheese and cardamom on my way home. šŸ™‚

  3. Adele
    January 31, 2011 at 5:18 pm (12 years ago)

    I don’t think I’ve ever exercised four days in a row! These cookies looks like the perfect reward, and cardamom is my favourite favourite spice.

  4. Susan C.
    January 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm (12 years ago)

    I used to exercise a lot, and rewarded myself with Italian food… gobs of it!!
    I’m in the middle of my fourth pregnancy in four years (shew, can’t believe I’m writing that!!) so big time exercise has been put on the back burner – what with baby belly and nursing… and baby belly and nursing!! I do get in a walk most days, but since I’m walking at a toddlers pace I don’t find myself being allowed to binge on pasta for it!! šŸ™‚
    Looking forward to the day, in the distant future, where I can eat an entire calzone and know I earned it!! šŸ™‚ (And the piece of tiramisu that tops it off!!)

  5. Muppy
    January 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm (12 years ago)

    I LOVE the look of these, and the flavours you have put in sounds amazing,
    p.s. i am trying to exercise too….

  6. Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm (12 years ago)

    How do I get myself invited to a Saved by the Bell party of any kind?! Congrats on a success like that!!! I feel like congratulating yourself on any kind of workout success is the best way to stay motivated. Oh and these sandwiches are a perfect reward!!!

  7. Joanne
    January 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm (12 years ago)

    I may be a marathoner but I definitely recognize how hard it can be to get yourself to go to the gym every day for four days. Especially now that my calves are slightly injured and I can’t run….I fight with myself CONSTANTLY. So proud of you Julie!

    ANd these seem like the absolute perfect reward. I’m just in awe of them.

    Oh and Teen Mom is a fantastic work-out show. The Real Housewives are up there as well. I’m addicted.

  8. mrsahayes
    January 31, 2011 at 8:55 pm (12 years ago)

    Julie, great job! I reward myself with food too =) I always love reading your blog, haven’t made anything yet but its probably going to happen pretty soon!

  9. Dmarie
    January 31, 2011 at 11:08 pm (12 years ago)

    sooo glad to see this recipe. bought some of that ginger stuff but have only used it once for a cookie recipe. glad to have another option, especially one that looks so VERY yummy!

    • Meghan
      January 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm (12 years ago)

      Another really great way to use up candied ginger is in stained glass biscotti. SO DELICIOUS.

      Also, Julie, I’m loving your sandwich cookie support. I think they’re the next dessert trend to follow cupcakes. Calling it now!

  10. Vivian
    February 1, 2011 at 12:01 am (12 years ago)

    Looks delicious!! šŸ™‚

  11. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    February 1, 2011 at 12:29 am (12 years ago)

    Eek! Somebody close to me requested carrot cupcakes for their birthday at the end of the month, but I think I need to make these instead. Maybe with honey-goat-cheese filling, because that could also be delicious. And great work on the exercise! I don’t judge.

  12. Emily @ NeedsMoreSugar
    February 1, 2011 at 12:37 am (12 years ago)

    Any exercise is a good thing and nothing to be sneezed at – good on you!

    I like to treat myself with some cocktails, or a cupcake – or cheese and crackers (or all of the above!).

  13. Megan
    February 1, 2011 at 10:23 am (12 years ago)

    Congrats! You most definitely deserved a reward. I have not gotten myself to the gym in almost a year now. I feel like a terrible person. We keep talking about working it into our schedule and it just doesn’t happen. We even talk about getting up early and working out to some Comcast OnDemand video and that hasn’t happened yet either. I seriously need to find some motivation too!

  14. briarrose
    February 1, 2011 at 10:37 am (12 years ago)

    Beautiful! What a wonderful mix of flavors. Nom!

  15. Caitlin
    February 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm (12 years ago)

    Whoo hoo nice job! I’ve actually been considering working out for the past 30 minutes. I am taking this as a sign.

    Carrot cake seems like the perfect reward for every possible achievement. Oh, and the perfect comfort for every ailment. It is always appropriate!

  16. Jen@Twenty-Something and Starving
    February 2, 2011 at 8:33 pm (12 years ago)

    My dear, sweet heavens these cookies look ridiculous. And I mean that in the best way possible, of course. I would reward myself with these everyday. If I make them in the future, which I plan to, I probably will! šŸ™‚

  17. Maranda
    February 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm (12 years ago)

    Yum!!!! Congratulations on working out 4 days in a row! It’s a struggle to keep going when you are first starting out. You should be very proud of yourself!

  18. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    February 5, 2011 at 1:11 am (12 years ago)

    Hubby and I just joined a gym and I’d love to be able to say that I’ve exercised for four straight days. šŸ™‚ Those little carrot cake creations look delicious! šŸ™‚

  19. Monica H
    February 6, 2011 at 5:58 am (12 years ago)

    Congratulations Julie. I am so proud of you! ha! Sorry, didn’t mean to snicker. I really am proud.

    Love carrot cake cookies, especiallyon day 2 ad three when they get nice and soft.

    “Saved by the Bell potluck” Just when I thought I couldn’tlove you any more šŸ™‚

  20. B-Wil
    February 10, 2011 at 11:23 pm (12 years ago)

    You have no idea how timely this is.
    After a hiatus from working out for months and months, I have managed to work out TWO days in a row and was feeling awfully proud of myself. Must. Reward. Carrot cake. Cookies.

  21. Andrea
    November 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm (12 years ago)

    Just wondered if these would freeze well?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      November 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm (12 years ago)

      The cookies would, but not the cream cheese filling — it’s easy to whip up, though, if you already had the cookies prepped.

  22. Damaris @bliss.com
    April 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm (10 years ago)

    This looks fantastic. I bet it tastes wonderful too. Love your content!


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