Guess whooo paid us a visit last night?
*v* ~A Late Winter Nature Study ~ Owls~ *v*

*A recipe for REALLY yummy cookies*

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I know I said my next post would be the owl study post, but since it's taking me a while to finish that up, I wanted to tell you all about these amazing carrot cookies I baked today! I got the recipe recently from my friend and fellow homeschooling mum, Laura - who brought a batch of these delectable things to one of our recent Tufts classes. (We mums sit upstairs and drink coffee and chat while the kids are at class.) One bite and I was scrambling for a pen so I could jot down the recipe! (Which, happily, Laura had committed to memory.)

They are basically a soft "drop" cookie made with white whole wheat flour and mashed cooked carrots. Sounds kind of basic, doesn't it? Well, the extra special something comes in their unique orange-vanilla flavor, which is provided by a 1/2 teaspoon of a special flavoring, Fiori di Sicilia. You can order it through the King Arthur Flour Baker's Catalogue - $7.95 for 1 oz. 
That seems like a lot for so little, but you don't need to use much, and it lasts almost indefinitely. Which is lucky for me - because it just so happened I had a bottle of this stuff in my fridge! Never opened, never used - it just seemed like a good idea to order it last Easter! And I'm so glad I did, because it really makes all the difference in this recipe, I think - the citrus flavor is out of this world. (I believe it is the traditional flavoring used in Italian panettone - but Bookworm says it tastes just like a creamsicle, lol!)

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The recipe calls for a cup of mashed cooked carrots; I steamed a bunch of organic baby carrots this morning. (If I was ever asked to name one thing I always have in my refrigerator, it would be baby carrots. My boys - Earlybird especially - eat them like there's no tomorrow! I guess there could be worse things to binge on, lol.)

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And here's the rest of the recipe:

*Orange-Carrot Cookies*
 (Yield: approximately 30 cookies)

1 egg (room temp. works best)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. Fiori di Sicilia or 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed, cooked carrots
2 cups white-whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Combine flour and baking powder; set aside.
Cream the egg, butter, sugar and flavoring. Add carrots and blend well. Slowly incorporate flour mixture - be careful not to overmix.

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Drop by tablespoons (or by cookie scoop if you have one) onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I use a Silpat.) Bake 10-12 minutes.

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After a minute or so, remove cookies to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. (I think this keeps them soft but not soggy.) 

These cookies are so tender and fragrant and delicious! I can see these making a wonderful and relatively healthy Eastertime treat. Very child-friendly, too - as my boys can attest. :)

Speaking of the King Arthur Flour Baker's Catalogue, the mail just arrived and their "early spring" issue came today! It is filled with all kinds of Easter goodies! It's just the little breath of spring air I needed today, because the sun barely came out, the temperature barely budged 30 and the wind was like something out of the arctic! 
A good day to bake ~ and a good day to dream a little dream of spring. :)

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