carrot cake thumbprint cookies on parchment paper

When life gives you the choice between cookies and cake, it’s just not fair to have to choose. Thankfully, these carrot cake thumbprint cookies don’t make you have to decide.

They’re so nice like that. And they happen to be delicious, too.

Because I mean, when you combine the flavors of carrot cake into a cookie and then fill it with a tangy, jam-swirled frosting, how could they not be?

Cake, meet cookie. Cookie, meet face. Repeat as needed. That’s how my Thursday is going to go. How about yours?

preparing carrot cake thumbprint cookies on baking sheet

I stumbled upon the recipe for these cookies in my March issue of Martha Stewart Living (love her, love the magazine, I want to live in it), and I was immediately drawn to the idea of a cookie-cake combination. Then I looked at the ingredient list and noticed something strange — or rather, unusual.

filling the carrot cake thumbprint cookies

There’s goat cheese in the frosting! And since I love goat cheese, this was a major plus for me. The result is a cookie filling that is tangy and creamy and smooth and perfectly complementary to the crunchy, chewy texture of the cookie. Of course, if you’re not a goat cheese fan, you can substitute it for cream cheese. Either way, you’ve got a winning dessert right here, just begging to be an adorable addition to the Easter brunch or dinner menu.

close up carrot cake thumbprint cookies

These are a perfectly acceptable breakfast, by the way. I should know. Ahem.

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Carrot Cake Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Adapted from Martha Stewart
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Yield: 18 cookies 1x


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup (1/2 stick), room temperature, for frosting
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed fine-grated carrots (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
  • 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fig or apricot jam


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, whisk melted butter, sugars and egg yolk. In separate medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture to combine. Stir in oats, carrots and raisins just until dough forms. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll balls in chopped pecans to coat. Space 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; use back of wooden spoon to press indent into center of each cookie. Bake until set and lightly golden, 10 to 12 more minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  3. In small bowl, beat remaining butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in goat cheese until smooth. Stir in fig jam. Pipe or spoon frosting into center of fully cooled cookies.