This one’s for all the mamas coming here for my milk-making cookies. Even over my blogging hiatus, this post alone kept the site humming ever-so-slightly.
So here’s a funny observation I had when nursing Otto, but less so with Petra. At first, well-meaning people asked “are you breastfeeding?” just out of plain curiosity. And that was fine. I was happy to answer yes and that things were going reasonably well. At six months, there was a slightly different version of this question: “are you still breastfeeding?” And the tone of that one was more a “good for you…I gave up way earlier.” But then at about a year–and for me, I can clearly recall two specific instances–there was the occasional “you’re not still breastfeeding, are you?”. That’s the one that was delivered with a slight look of horror, like I was going to become that mom from Little Britain. But whatever…I shrugged it off the way I shrugged off various comments that first year. And then I thought about starting an etsy shop called Smile&Nod with posters featuring “advice” for new parents. Just kidding. I was too foggy to be witty back then.
With Petra, I got no prodding re the breastfeeding. I guess that’s something reserved for new parents? Anyway, Petra’s one and even though she’s down to a single feeding a day, I’m still making lactation cookies. I think they’ve become a bit of a nostalgia thing for me…last winter was pretty cozy on the couch with a sleeping newborn in my arms as I ate handfuls of cookies and watched lots of HGTV. But one thing I know for sure is that these cookies are now preferable because they’re not loaded with sugar and we can all enjoy them. They’ve become my go-to recipe. At some point, I might omit the brewer’s yeast. It’s not terrible or anything, but I don’t see it as essential to the recipe, unless you’re in full-on feeding mode, and it does have a slightly funky aroma, doesn’t it?
This new recipe was inspired by something I learned from the book Mother Food. It’s one of the best books I found as a second-time-around parent and I recommend it to my pregnant friends all the time, but warn them to read it well before they give birth. It’s a heavier read and is more of a textbook than a how-to book about breastfeeding. But it’s well worth the time even skimming a few chapters. One of my top discoveries: carrots are your friends when you’re producing milk. And beets! Both are considered lactogenic. And while I’m sharing…parsley and sage will slow you down. And caraway seed is the magic ingredient for any potentially gassy vegetables. And there’s so much more. Seriously. Best book on the subject. Just dry as can be. Then again, it’s there to inform, not entertain.
So back to the recipe. I’ve always wanted to make carrot cake cookies. I’ve seen recipes floating around, especially those that look like sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting. For this recipe, I modified my Milk-Making Cookie recipe with a few ingredients. I upped the cinnamon, because I keep reading about how good it is for you. I added cream cheese into the batter for a bit of zing…and anyway, what’s carrot cake without a cream cheese frosting? (Side note: I first learned about cream cheese in a cookie dough when I made these chocolate chip cookies….sooooo good, but definitely more of a treat). And while there’s sugar in these, I added sweetness with golden raisins, and moisture with unsweetened coconut (I once had carrot cake with coconut in it, and can’t have it any other way now). In the end, they had more of a cereal bar consistency. In fact, I may end up making these as bars next time. Yes, there will still be a next time
Here’s the recipe! I’m posting this after just one try, so please share your tips and I’ll update as I make these again.
Carrot Cake Milk-Making Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flaxseed meal (I use the one from Bob’s Red Mill)
3 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (available at the health food store)
1/3 cup water (you could also use carrot juice here, just for extra color and flavor)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 3/4 c. oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, flaxseed meal, yeast, water/carrot juice, sugars, and vanilla. Add the eggs and continue mixing.
Add the flour to the wet mixture and continue mixing until well combined.
Add carrots, raisins, and coconut. Mix to combine. Then add oats and combine it all by hand or on the slow/stir setting of your mixer if you’re tired like me!
Using a tablespoon sized cookie scoop (or just a regular spoon will do), scoop the dough and gently form a ball. You can fit about 20 balls onto a single pan; don’t worry about the dough spreading out during baking.
Bake for 7 minutes for a softer cookie, or longer if you prefer. As soon as you take them out of the oven, press them down gently with a fork to flatten.
Cool and store in the refrigerator if you plan to keep them around for a few days.
(oh, and ps, look at my little carrot top!)