A few years ago, my mother gave me a recipe that was given to her by my Aunt Thelma, my dad’s sister, when I was just a little girl back in the seventies.
The recipe is handwritten on paper that has yellowed with age, and the ink has bled and ran, probably because of the shortening that has been accidentally smeared on it from the many times it has been used. I can still remember being in my aunt’s kitchen the day I first tasted these cookies. She was babysitting my sister and me and we eagerly watched as she made made them for us. Her son, Shawn, our cousin, was also there and although I don’t remember much, I do remember it being a really fun day.
This recipe is very special to me and the actual sheet of paper even more so. I guess it’s silly to be sentimental about a piece of paper, but when I look at it, I can still see my aunt writing out the recipe along with a short note to my mother, and it takes me back to a pleasant and carefree place. For just a moment, I am a little girl again, anxiously waiting for cookies to cool, with no concerns of failing economies and financial bail outs. My biggest worry then was how many cookies I would be allowed to eat.
I made these cookies exactly as the recipe was written more than thirty years ago. My daughter just loves them; I’ve made them for her several times. They are soft and puffy and the only thing I changed was to add a little more orange juice to the frosting.
Aunt Thelma, if you’re reading this, I hope you know how much I love you. I think of you often and I keep you in my prayers always. Thanks for a wonderful memory and a recipe that I can share over and over again with the people I love.
Orange Carrot Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cooked, mashed carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon orange juice (or a little bit more for desired consistency)
1 cup powdered sugar
The zest of one orange
- Cream the shortening and sugar on medium speed; add the egg. Add all ingredients except the nuts and beat until combined. Stir in the nuts.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown on bottoms.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the frosting until smooth, adjusting the amount of orange juice to drizzling consistency.
- When the cookies are done, transfer to a wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet. Drizzle with the frosting and let cool completely. About 3 dozen.