What’s for dinner tonight? Let’s take it nice and easy and whip up a batch of One-Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo! You’re gonna love this recipe for SO many reasons. First off it’s fast and easy to make which means it’s perfect for a busy weeknight […]
Looking for a fun way to use up some overripe bananas? Well friends, let me introduce you to White Chocolate Banana Cream Truffles! Truffles are an easy dessert to make because they’re no bake. This delicious version is a combination of Golden Oreos and ripe […]
Now just what the heck are Carrot Cake Shortbread Cookies you might ask? This dessert mashup takes all the flavors that you love from carrot cake and bakes them into a perfectly delicious sandwich cookie. With notes of caramely brown sugar, lots of vanilla, and hints of cinnamon, this bitesize dessert packs a whole lot of flavor. And don’t forget that irresistible cream cheese filling that holds it all together. Any dessert with cream cheese frosting is a winner in my book! Do you see those ingredients listed below? Go ahead and add them to your grocery list right now because you’re going to be baking Carrot Cake Shortbread Cookies this weekend.
Here’s all you’ll need: vanilla extract, butter, finely shredded shredded carrots, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecan halves, powdered sugar, and cream cheese.
Let’s get started! Add 1 cup of softened butter, vanilla extract and 1/3 a cup of finely shredded carrots to a medium sized bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer for 1 minute. Transfer the butter mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
A couple things to keep in mind: Shred the carrots as fine as possible think itty bitty to avoid large hunks of carrots in your cookies. This is also a good time to shred an additional tablespoon of carrots to use later in the recipe for that amazing cream cheese frosting I mentioned earlier.
Pure vanilla extract works best to achieve that intense vanilla flavor. You could also get a little bit fancy and use the seeds from a vanilla bean.
You can soften the butter ahead of time by leaving it set out on a countertop or nuke it in the microwave for no longer than 15 seconds. We’re looking for softened not melted.
Next add 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to a large bowl. Cut in the butter mixture with a pastry blender, a fork or even a knife until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. A pastry blender is one of those kitchen tools that’s more of a luxury than a necessity. If you shop around you can snag one that’s really inexpensive. Plus they’re small and don’t take up a whole lot of cupboard space.
Knead the crumbs by hand until a smooth dough forms. Now you’re going to look at those crumbs and think how the heck is this mixture ever going to turn into a dough? But don’t worry. The heat from your hands will warm the butter and help the flour and sugar to cling to it. It took me about 10 minutes of squishing and squeezing and kneading to make this magic happen. Don’t give up on it! If after 10-15 minutes it’s looking like it’s not going to happen for you just add some softened butter a tablespoon at a time to help along the process.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the balls at least 2 inches apart. I was able to fit 20 cookies on my largest baking sheet. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie to 1/4-inch thickness.
I’m a total parchment paper advocate! Parchment paper is a non-stick baking paper. It reduces browning and when you’re done using it you can just toss it in the trash. No mess! It’s probably my favorite baking tool.
Next press a pecan into the top of every other cookie. For every cookie with a pecan we will also need one without. The pecans topped cookies will be the top of our sandwich and the ones without will be the bottoms. Of course if you’re not a fans of pecans or allergic to nuts, you can skip this step and go without. Bake in a 300 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown. Remove from the oven and leave the cookies on the baking sheet for one minute and then transfer to wire racks until cool.
For perfect cookies every time I always rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking. Always use the top and middle racks in the oven, never the bottom. And then about halfway through baking time swap positions. So the cookies that were baking on the top rack get bumped down to the middle rack and the cookies that were baking on the middle rack get moved up to the top. I also rotate the baking sheets so that the cookies that were in the front of the oven are now in the back and vice versa. This helps all the cookies to bake evenly and will yields the very best results. Every. Time.
While the cookies are cooling we can whip up that absolutely essential (in my opinion) cream cheese filling. This will be used to sandwich our Carrot Cake Shortbread Cookies together. Add 1/4 cup butter and 2 ounces of cream cheese to a small bowl. You’ll want both of these ingredients softened so again you can leave them out on the countertop while the cookies are baking or toss them in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat on a low speed with an electric mixer to combine. Gradually increase the speed to a higher setting and continue to whip until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Stir in 1 tablespoon of shredded carrots (from earlier).
Spread the cream cheese frosting on the bottoms of the cookies without pecans. Top with the remaining cookies, pecan side up to make these adorably sweet cookie sandwiches. Shortbread cookies contain a larger ratio of butter to flour resulting in cookies that are crumbly and tender and store great in the fridge.
Carrot Cake Shortbread Cookies
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup finely shredded carrot
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 24 pecan halves
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon shredded carrot
- Step 1 Add 1 cup of softened butter, vanilla extract and 1/3 a cup of finely shredded carrots to a medium sized bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer for 1 minute. Transfer the butter mixture to a sheet of plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Step 2 Add 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to a large bowl. Cut in the butter mixture with a pastry blender, a fork or even a knife until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Knead the crumbs by hand until a smooth dough forms. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Step 3 Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the balls at least 2 inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten each cookie to 1/4-inch thickness. Press a pecan into the top of every other cookie. For every cookie with a pecan we will also need one without.
- Step 4 Bake in a 300 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown. Remove from the oven and leave the cookies on the baking sheet for one minute and then transfer to wire racks until cool.
- Step 5 FOR THE FROSTING: Add 1/4 cup butter and 2 ounces of cream cheese to a small bowl. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat on a low speed with an electric mixer to combine. Gradually increase the speed to a higher setting and continue to whip until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Stir in 1 tablespoon of shredded carrot.
- Step 6 Spread the cream cheese frosting on the bottoms of the cookies without pecans. Top with the remaining cookies, pecan side up to make these adorably sweet cookie sandwiches. Store in the fridge. Enjoy!
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I’ve got pretty high standards especially when it comes to desserts. So when I tell you this is The BEST Rhubarb Meringue Pie out there you better believe it’s the truth! Rhubarb Meringue Pie is a Springtime favorite in these parts. The base is a […]
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Some come for the music, some come for the football, and then there’s our favorite kind of people, the ones that come for the food! Nashville has long been known for it’s music scene but lookout country music, the food scene is taking over. This city is growing and FAST! With over 100 people moving to Music City on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that Nashville has the latest and greatest restaurants popping up just about everywhere. From it’s famous Hot Chicken, to mouthwatering desserts and everything in between, keep scrolling to check out some of our favorites!
I don’t think you’ll find a person on this planet that can say a single negative thing about Milk & Honey, or at least not anyone in Nashville. This place comes highly recommended from locals, bloggers, and especially Uber drivers. Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is a great for breakfast, lunch or just a quick sweet treat to kick off an afternoon of shopping and exploring in this trend setting neighborhood. And just how stinking’ cute is this Strawberry Pop Tart??? If there’s rainbow sprinkles involved, then you know I’m in!
You absolutely cannot visit Nashville without trying a little BBQ! Nashville’s best BBQ is is a highly debatable topic around these parts but for us there were a few clear winners that jumped to the top of the list. Don’t walk, but run to Peg Leg Porker!!! This crowd favorite has only been around for about a decade but I can assure you they’ve got staying power for a lifetime to come. Pitmaster Carey Bringle’s dry rubbed ribs are worth the trip to Nashville alone.
With meats that are smoked fresh daily and paired with made from scratch sides, this award winning BBQ really stands out from the rest. I mean how can this juicy pulled pork sandwich not make you drool a little?!? The mac and cheese and potato salad were both can’t miss sides for us. Think down home cooking at its finest. Bonus points for being walking distance from Broadway.
If you prefer your BBQ on the saucier side, then Edley’s Bar-B-Que will be the clear cut winner for you! Named in honor of the late Edley Newman, grandfather of owner Will Newman, this mouthwatering bbq joint is a tribute to all things Southern. With five locations, three home based in Nashville, there’s no excuse to miss this Tennessee staple. The 12 South location did not disappoint! The smokey brisket sandwich was among the best we’ve ever tasted. Hands down our favorite! The fries were a cut above the rest as well.
We also devoured some of Edley’s delicious nachos. This inventive app starts by swapping house made kettle chips in place of tortillas, then loads them up with smoked chicken (you can swap out for pork or beef as well), nacho cheese, pico de gallo, bbq sauce, sour cream and green onion to top it all off. Absolutely top notch! The cocktail menu ranked high on our list too.
If sweet treats are more your thing, The Christie Cookie Co. will get the job done! All will power goes right out the window as the scent of freshly baked cookies draws you into this boutique bakery. We couldn’t resist the white chocolate macadamia nut (my favorite!) or the snickerdoodle.
Ask any local where you can find the best coffee in Nashville and I guarantee Frothy Monkey will be the next words to come out of their mouth. Expect this coffeeshop meets restaurant to be buzzing at all hours of the day, but don’t let the crowds scare you off. The atmosphere is great, the baristas are super nice, and it’s totally worth the wait. A vanilla latte made the perfect start to a leisurely day getting to know the 12 South neighborhood. Be sure to check out the Nashville Looks Good on you mural located in the back parking lot.
Five Daughters Bakery should be at the top of every single Nashville vacation itinerary! You can’t miss this brightly colored bakery in 12 South or the hugely instagrammable donut mural out front. The showstopper here is the 100 Layer donuts which is Five Daughters take on the iconic cronut. This is seriously the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole entire life!!! We saw multiple people pop in with luggage in hand ready to take a dozen home as a souvenir. One bite and you’ll wanna do the same! They also have gluten-fee and vegan options available.
Headed to a show at the Grand Ole Opry? Pop into the Gaylord Opryland Resort for a dinner or drinks before or after the show. With 9 acres of indoor gardens, winding rivers and waterfalls, 15 restaurants, 4 bars, and lots of retail therapy, this stunning resort is a destination all by itself. I highly recommend grabbing a glass of wine at the Conservatory Bar while soaking up all the beauty of the Atrium. You can’t do this on Broadway folks!
You can find the Jack Daniels restaurant tucked away near the back of the Opryland Resort. This family friendly restaurant serves up plenty of that Southern food and Tennessee Whisky that Nashville is known for. The Jack Burger did not disappoint. This wonderfully cooked burger was topped with BBQ sauce, smoked brisket, and pimiento cheese spread. Now that’s a mouthful of Tennessee goodness to enjoy in every bite!
My first experience with Jeni’s Splendid was at the Nashville Farmers Market. I later found out that this artisanal ice cream company is home based in Ohio and distributes their products nationally, meaning I can buy this unforgettable brand at my local Wegman’s. Yassssss!!!! Their ice cream has a uniquely smooth texture and buttercream body, with a bright flavor and clean finish. And don’t even get me started on the their flavor profiles. I’ll be dreaming about scoops of Gooey Butter Cake and Bramblerry Crisp for quite awhile!
The Nashville Farmers Market is also home to up and coming wood fired pizza shop Bella Nashville Pizza. Let me tell y’all this pizza is the real deal. This traditional Neapolitan style pizza is baked in a Terre Blanche white clay oven. With cooking temps ranging between 800-900 degrees your pizza bakes up in less than two minutes flat. The meatball Parm was delish! This pizza starts with a freshly made pizza dough that uses all natural leaven instead of commercial yeast to produce a healthier, more flavorful crust. Add all-beef meatballs, house made mozzarella, pomodoro sauce, Parmigiano, and fresh parsley and you’ve got a winning combination in my book!
With down home roots that stretch all the way back to the 1950’s, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant knows a thing or two about great food and Southern hospitality. This grocery store turned restaurant boasts six Tennessee locations. You can find this popular Nashville eatery on the corner of Church and 5th. You can smell the comfort food pouring out of the building before you even put a foot inside the door. Really, it will stop you dead in your tracks. The biscuits and gravy breakfast skillet exceeded our expectations! This stick to your ribs kind of breakfast consisted of two biscuits smothered in sausage gravy and even came with a side of bacon too. It’s the kind of food that’ll make you wanna lick your plate clean.
My hubby went with the Smoked Brisket Hash. This breakfast skillet was a perfect mash up of breakfast meets dinner. The skillet mixed beef brisket with sweet onions and bell peppers, home fries and two sunny-side up eggs with spicy BBQ sauce. What a way to start the day! Puckett’s is also known for hosting lots of live local music acts on a regular basis.
Hot chicken is a local specialty in Nashville and Hattie B’s does it right! With six heat levels ranging from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up (burn notice) there’s something for everyone here. I am typically not a spicy food person but OMG!!! This chicken was SOOOOO good!!!! The mild was about as far as I could go on the heat scale and I was happy to have some of their delicious Red Skin Potato Salad to cool down the small fire in my mouth. My hubby went for medium and it was just about making him sweat. The Pimiento Mac and Cheese was really creamy and delicious too. Buffalo may have cornered the market on chicken wings, but dang the South sure has us beat on fried chicken. Pro tip: Skip the line that will likely be down the street and order on Uber Eats.
One of my favorite food stops in Nashville is Legendairy Milkshake Bar. This super cute dessert cafe is walking distance from Broadway and serves up piled-high jars of over the top milkshakes. Order up a custom shake from the menu or build your own creation. You really can’t go wrong way! We split a Strawberry Cheesecake Shake which consisted of strawberry ice cream, a vanilla icing rim covered in white chocolate chips, lots of whipped cream, followed by a chocolate and strawberry drizzle, and an entire slice of New York style cheese plopped on top to finish off this epic shake. They also have ice cream and other goodies on hand. Yum Yum!!!!
There’s a million reasons you need to go to Pinewood Social. Whether you’re there to eat, sip coffee, bowl, swim, or socialize, the experience will be the same…stellar! The complex has an industrial chic feel paired with a cozy, vintage vibe. The food menu is incredibly sophisticated and nothing short of spectacular. Hubby ordered the Short Rib Omelette with cotija and ranchero sauce and paired it with a Gentleman-mosa. So good!!! I can tell you there was not a scrap left on his plate.
I chose the Croque Madame and OMG was this sandwich sooo tasty! It was crispy on the outside yet so incredibly moist and creamy. The sandwich itself is made with gruyere cheese and french ham, then smothered in mornay sauce and topped with a sunny side up egg and a side of tater tots. So dreamy!! I washed it all down with a Rose Bellini. I could seriously spend a whole afternoon here. Be sure to check out the vintage bowling alley. It’s an instagrammers dream!
And since we’re on the subject of tater tots, let’s talk about those tots at Ole Red! The house made tater tots at Blake Shelton’s came so highly recommended from my cousin Breanna and Grrrrl let me tell ya they lived up to that hype. I wanted to sneak some home with me for sure. We took it a step further and went with the Southern Tater Tot Poutine. So drool on this, homemade tater tots covered in pulled pork, smothered with sawmill gravy, then add in some white cheddar cheese curds, a sprinkle of green onions and top it all off with a fried egg and some Ole Red hot sauce. It’s all sorts of yasssssss!!!!!!
We also shared the Pimineto Mac N Beer Cheese because if it’s got beer cheese in the name then I want it in my belly. This shareable side is served cast iron skillet style and plenty enough for two. The crunchy bread crumbs and green onion topping paired perfectly with the pimiento and beer cheese flavors. I wanted to order the Absolutely Obnoxious Lucky Charms Sundae so bad but I just couldn’t find the room. Sigh! There’s always next time. Lord knows we’ll be back because this place is so fun. Be sure to check out the Lookout, their rooftop bar. Take the elevator to the top but use the stairs to come back down. There’s some really fun neon signs in the stairwell.
Another great rec from Breanna was The George Jones rooftop bar. And I can see why! Voted one of Music CIty’s best rooftop bars by Thrillist, this hidden gem is the perfect place to cool off and enjoy a cold one. The George Jones has unbeatable views of the Cumberland River, Nissan Stadium and the downtown skyline as well as a round the clock music scene. Grab an adult slushy like the Horny Grandma (pictured above) kick back and enjoy the atmosphere.
Biscuit Love is a Music City staple known for its playful take on Southern brunch. This food truck turned restaurant has been drawing crowds to the Gulch since 2015 with their made from scratch breakfast and lunch menu. The East Nasty was the obvious choice seeing how it was voted BEST sandwich in America. I mean how could I not try this?!? The fried chicken is spicy and flavorful and the sausage gravy is super satisfying. Pair all that with a homemade biscuit and some aged cheddar and this was one splurge-worthy meal that was totally worth every calorie. No regrets!!!
And don’t forget to order a side (or two) of Bonuts!!! What the heck is a Bonut you ask??? This part biscuit part donut culinary creation is the superstar of the menu. These tiny little bitesize nuggets of fried biscuit dough are rolled in sugar, topped with lemon mascarpone, and served over a blueberry compote. They taste like heaven and you won’t be able to stop eating them. You’re welcome!
Hubby kept it classic and went with their biscuits and sausage gravy and topped it off with two eggs. Go to Biscuit Love. Wait in line (no matter how long it is). Order one of everything on the menu. Die happy. The end. There’s nothing else to say other than this place is one of the best in town.
Big Machine Distillery was one of our first stops in Nashville. You can take a guided tour or head straight to the tasting room to sample some of their delicious spirits. We went straight for the drinks! And boy were they strong…but so darn good. The lemonade slushies were so heavenly in the Nashville heat. The bartender mixed us up a delicious combo that was half lemonade half watermelon so that we could try both. Yummy!!!!
The Goo Goo Shop is located on 3rd Avenue, just a stone’s throw away from Broadway and totally worth a visit. Look for the vintage sign out front and pop into the dessert bar for a treat. Goo Goo clusters were born right here in Nashville in 1912 by Howell Campbell and the Standard Candy Company. This disk-shaped candy bar contains marshmallow nougat, caramel, and roasted peanuts covered in milk chocolate. After sampling all 3 flavors (for research purposes of course) I have to say I think the peanut butter is my favorite! Next time we’ll be sure to hit up their chocolate making class so we can learn how to make this Nashville classic back in NY.
Step through the doors of Sun Diner and you’ll feel like you traveled back in time. The walls are lined with pictures and memorabilia of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison and loads of other Sun Records recording artists. Pop in 24/7 to grab a bite to eat or grab a bottle of one of their delicious house made condiments to take home with you as a souvenir (I wish I would have). Sun Diner is first come first serve. It’s mostly countertop style seating with a few tables in the back so it’s better for smaller groups. The line was long but moved quickly and soon we were sitting on a barstool ready to devour a fantastic meal. Hubby got their Traditional Eggs Benedict which came with asparagus and home fries. I love me a good eggs benny!
I went with the Let’s Do The Twist Creme Brûlée French Toast. What a mouthful! And every bite was absolutely to die for!! So it’s a thick cut cinnamon bread that’s dipped in a Rum Chata creme brûlée batter and then topped with berries, candied pecans and whipped cream. OMG I can’t even tell you how good this meal was. I alternated dipping bites in their classic syrup and the spicy pecan flavor and couldn’t pick a favorite between the two. Too close to call! It’s easy to see why this place has been voted the best diner in Nashville.
Until next time Nashville! I promise I’ll be back (soon!!) Planning a trip to Music City? Check out our day trip to the Jack Daniels Distillery.
Get vacation ready!
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Broccoli Cheese Spread is such a simple recipe but it’s so amazingly good. You absolutely need this quick and easy appetizer recipe in your arsenal. I mean could there be a more classic combination than broccoli and cheese? I don’t think so! Just try it and see. It’s near impossible to resist the lusciousness of this rich and creamy dip. You won’t believe how easy it is to make. Serve it up for a party or crowd, whip it together quickly when company stops by, or hoard it all for yourself while binge watching your fave Netflix series. This versatile dip can be ready at the drop of a hat or even made ahead of time. Pop it in the oven and it’s done in 20 minutes. Go ahead and hit the print button already!
Here’s all you’ll need: cream cheese, sour cream, Italian salad dressing mix, frozen chopped broccoli, cheddar cheese, and crackers for dipping.
Five ingredients, that’s it just five ingredients! Let’s get this party started!! Soften the cream cheese and place it in a large bowl. You can leave the cream cheese out for a bit or nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds. It’s easier to mix when it’s softened. Using a hand mixer, blend together the cream cheese, sour cream and Italian salad dressing mix. You can find the salad dressing mix in the salad dressing aisle at your local grocer. It usually comes in a packet or sometimes in a box if it’s a two-pack.
Thaw the frozen broccoli. You may need to drain it as well and pat it dry. You can also chop up any especially large broccoli florets that slipped through the cracks. I like all my pieces to be bitesize. Next fold in the broccoli and 1-1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. I love sharp cheddar! The sharper the better!! My hubby always seems to gravitate towards mild. So whatever floats your boat will work just fine.
Spray a shallow 1-quart baking dish lightly with cooking spray. I used my Corningware 1-qt dish but a pie plate also works greats for dips or spreads. Spoon the Broccoli Cheese Spread evenly into the baking dish.
Top with the remaining cheese and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. That’s it! Seriously so easy!!
And so cheesy!!! Grab a cracker before it’s gone because I’m diving right into the Broccoli Cheese Spread. Speaking of broccoli and cheese…Have you tried our Broccoli Cheese Soup?
Broccoli Cheese Spread
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
- 3 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, drained and patted dry
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Crackers for dipping
- Step 1 Soften the cream cheese and place it in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, blend together the cream cheese, sour cream and Italian salad dressing mix.
- Step 2 Thaw the frozen broccoli, drain, and pat dry. fold in the broccoli and 1-1/2 cups of cheddar cheese.
- Step 3 Spray a shallow 1-quart baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Spoon the Broccoli Cheese Spread evenly into the baking dish.
- Step 4 Top with the remaining cheese and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers. Enjoy!
We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!
Calling all cinnamon roll lovers!!! Have I got a cookie for you?!? Clear your schedule because you need to put “Bake Mini Cinnamon Roll Cookies” at the top of your to do list. From the very first batch all I could think was WOW…these cookies […]