Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio Breakfast Cookies

Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio Breakfast Cookies | A Sweet SpoonfulA few days ago I went shopping for running shoes for the first time since Oliver was born. I used to run marathons in my early thirties and would look for pretty specific things in a shoe, but these days I knew I’d use them for occasional runs, walks and bike rides, so training shoes, per se? Not as critical. I miss my serious running days, but my priorities (and my body) are a little different now, and I’ve grown ok with that. So there you have it: on a mild afternoon in early March, I strolled into a local running store and strolled out twenty minutes later with not one but three pairs of new running shoes, along with an anger I couldn’t squelch. Carrot, Cardamom, Pistachio Breakfast Cookies | A Sweet Spoonful

A young sales guy was helping me – let’s call him “Jerrod,” if only because that’s his real name – at least to the degree he could while keeping constant vigil over his phone. Jerrod pulls out the three pairs of shoes I was interested in and as I’m trying them on, I chat with another associate on the floor about her son; we both, as it turns out, have toddler boys and set about commiserating about their precipitous emotional highs and lows that, so they say, will one day normalize. When she went to help another customer, Jerrod turns to me to say, “well maybe these shoes are more than you need? Since you’re just home doing the mom thing we can pull out something else that might work better?”

My face felt red hot as I stared down at my feet. Then I looked straight into Jerrod’s eyes and said, “I’ll take all three” (this is the point in the story in which my husband thinks I’ve lost my mind). He seemed confused and kept reiterating his point that he could bring out more shoes that would fit my lifestyle better. I said “I’ll take all three, Jerrod,” grabbed all three, and started walking up to the register. Now sure, a few days later I see that I have more sneakers than I need and perhaps that wasn’t the most prudent financial decision and yes, I have to figure out when Jerrod takes his lunch break so I can return two of them.

Carrot, Cardamom, Pistachio Breakfast Cookies | A Sweet SpoonfulI’ve found I have a particularly strong reaction when people say that someone is “just doing the mom thing.” I got it a lot after I sold Marge, even from some close friends — and I don’t blame them; I know what they meant. I didn’t sell Marge to be a stay at home mom; I sold it for a lot of other reasons. But “just doing the mom thing?” I don’t know, Jerrod. I actually like working. I happen to like being a mother, as well. And neither of those two passions really tell you anything about what running shoes I might need, no less want. And had I decided to stay at home with Oliver full time, “just” really wouldn’t be the word I’d use as I’m convinced it’s one of the hardest jobs out there. Try it out for a day, Jerrod. See how you do. Report back.

For now, I’ll keep wearing my three pairs of sneakers around the house, trying to determine which to keep while making breakfast cookies and copywriting a wine website for a client. Oh and ordering Oliver a new backpack for our upcoming trip to see Nana, and racing to the grocery store to use my coupon for free salmon this week at our local coop. You know, just doing the mom thing. Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio Breakfast Cookies | A Sweet Spoonful

These cookies are a riff on a recipe in my cookbook for Nutty Millet Breakfast cookies that we make quite a bit. With all the flavors of carrot cake (carrots, coconut, raisins) along with toasty pistachios and warm spices they’re great with coffee or tea and make a most welcome second breakfast, for those of you who are up early and are into that sort of thing. I always like to manage expectations with baked goods: these cookies aren’t crispy — they’re quite soft and chewy: imagine a healthy muffin top in cookie form. I hope you love them.

Sidenote: if you haven’t yet seen Brandi Carlile sing her new song, Mother, to her daughter it’s worth a listen/watch; my favorite part is Evangeline mouthing the words towards the end of the song. The absolute sweetest.

Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio Breakfast Cookies

Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio Breakfast Cookies

  • Yield: About 14 cookies
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 12 mins
  • Inactive time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 42 mins

Soft and chewy, these cookies bake up quickly and only dirty two bowls in the process. While I love the pops of color from the pistachios, swap in another nut if you’d like (or omit altogether to keep them nut-free). Because of the high moisture content from the fresh carrots, the cookies are best eaten within 2 days of baking. I often freeze a few to have on hand for those late mornings when a warm, whole grain cookie sounds like just the thing.


1 cup (120g) spelt flour
1/4 cup (32g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (100g) rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquid at room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (110g) grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1/2 cup (55g) raw pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup (30g) unsweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup (75g)sultana raisins, optional


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, oats, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, folding in with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Stir the carrots, pistachios, coconut and raisins into the dough until combined (feel free to use your hands and get in there to give the dough a few turns to ensure all the dry ingredients are incorporated). The dough will be super sticky; that’s ok. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough and, working quickly, form a ball using your hands. Place the balls about 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten the cookies with the palm of your hand to about ¾ inch thickness.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges and firmed yet still soft in the center (they’ll continue to firm up as they cool). Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. shanna

    I love this story .

    1. megang

      Thank you, Shanna. <3

  2. Margot

    Oh my goodness, I don't know where to start. I worked for the first two years of my daughter's life because I had always worked and felt like I had to (and I like working). But then I realized I had a choice and decided to take a break to do the "mom thing" and maybe hopefully start a baking business or do something else I really want to do (BTW, I remember when you sold Marge products at the Larkspur Farmer's Market!). And I have shaved an hour off my marathon time since I became a mom.

    1. megang

      Hi, Margot! Yes to choices! And that's incredible re: your marathon time. I switched gears a bit when O was born and do a lot more barre / yoga now but I miss my long distance running days. Maybe I'll kick it back up. Thanks so much for the comment; are you still working away at a baking business (and YES I was there in Larkspur! I have fond memories of those days)?

  3. CP

    Oh I relate so much to this story! Though so often it is my own internal voice saying 'just' a mum, not sure how we got to a place where it has so little social currency to be a parent raising a child in the world. Well done you for pursuing all that is meaningful to you in the different areas of your life.

    1. megang

      Thank you, CP. We do too many "just's" don't we? And then it becomes really easy to internalize. I see you have an Australian email address: do you find parenting feels like it has little social currency there? I'm always just so curious as to differences around the world ... have a great weekend!

  4. Emily

    Ugh, Jerrod sucks. On a brighter note, I will definitely try these cookies, I made the original version on repeat when I first got the book, my boyfriend and I loved them!

    1. megang

      Jerrod totally sucks. I hope you like the cookies! These, because there's so much moisture from the carrots, are a touch more like hearty muffin tops - perfect for breakfast. Have a great weekend, Emily!

  5. mcs3000

    Jerrod turns to me to say, “well maybe these shoes are more than you need? Since you’re just home doing the mom thing we can pull out something else that might work better?”... I got it a lot after I sold Marge, even from some close friends...

    "Just doing the mom thing." This made my blood boil. I'm glad you wrote about this, Megan. My mom friends hear this crap too. My dad friends do not. Whether a mom decides to be a stay at home mom, work part-time or work full-time, being a parent is always a full time job, and the most important. Moms and Dads are my heroes.

    1. megang

      Thank you, Mary! Nope, it's true that Moms definitely hear more of this than Dads. My favorite is when Sam is out with Oliver and someone will say something to the effect of, 'that's great that you're watching him today' or sometimes even use the word 'babysitting' insinuating that Sam is generous to give me a break. Drives me nuts: it's his child, too! Thankfully, as you can imagine, Sam is quite the opposite and takes on more than his fair share of kiddo duties - not sure what I'd do if that wasn't the case. I hope you have a great weekend, Mary!

  6. Char Slovenz

    I feel your fury. I would have replied that just the Mom thing is worth more than anything he will ever do in his entire life. This was a perfect opportunity to teach that young stupid fool about the world and why being just a Mom is the most important role any one could ever have. If we had more just Mom's maybe our kids wouldn't be so screwed up.

    1. megang

      Char! Should've had you by my side last week! Agreed. Here's to more "Just" Moms :)

  7. Olivia Atherton

    haha! I love that you bought all three=) I'm single (without kids) but I hate the entire "just a..." comments.

    1. megang

      Me too, Olivia! Offensive to everyone!

  8. Argelia Brown

    Hi Margot, love your blog and recipes! As I'm reading your story and comments, I realize that even though I'm close to my 60's now, things havent changed much from when my 4 kiddos were young! With all the progress that we have achieved moms still don't get all the credit they deserve or dads. But wait for something to happen to their child and who's the first person to be questioned? Yep, mom! I have never regretted one minute of my time at home, they were very special and nurturing. Plus I promise you Oliver appreciates them also! Persevere!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Argelia! Oh gosh, isn't it true that people are always very happy to chip in with unsolicited advice? I thought it was bad when I got a puppy in my early 20's but BOY is it different with a kiddo! That's so wonderful you have such positive memories of your time at home; I love to hear that :) I hope you all have a great weekend!

  9. sarah

    Oh my goodness this made me laugh out loud. Haha, yes, go return those shoes on Jerrod's lunch break! I love it. I can so identify with this story. And holy wow that Brandi Carlisle song! I cried.

    1. megang

      Isn't the song incredible? I love the way her daughter kind of whisper / sings it towards the end. The best. Have a great weekend, Sarah!

  10. Jenna

    I was so angry at Jerrod that I saw red flashes while reading your story! I'd complain to his manager, if you're calm enough at this time (I would not be).

    There's nothing I love seeing more (and nothing more threatening to the status quo) than a woman out in the world, doing everything she loves to do, and being fulfilled by it. Keep doing all those things that you find fulfilling - whatever they are, you're changing the world.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Jenna! My sister recommended calling the manager, too - might not be a bad idea. And thank you so much for the sweet comment - you're absolutely right. Have a great weekend!

  11. Carole

    What?!!!!! That story is both hilarious and outrageous. Kinda makes me want to find Jerrod myself and teach him a little lesson in salesmanship and sensitivity. You go girl! Hell hath no fury like a mom who gets dissed. It truly is the hardest job there is. Coincidentally I bookmarked the recipe in your book and bought all the ingredients for your nutty millet cookies just last week.

    1. megang

      Hi, Carole! Ha, I mean I did keep thinking that: at the end of the day, all feelings aside, it's just a bad sales move right?! Like if you want to sell shoes, don't offend people or - really - make any larger comments on their lifestyle outside of the role the shoes play! I hope you love the cookies; they really are great and super forgiving (so feel free to swap in any nuts / seeds you like); enjoy!

  12. Jude

    Jerrod is clueless. Hopefully he won't contribute his genetics to any offspring of his own. Now a days, women who decide to become Mothers do not have to put up with being disrespected about their lifestyles. Whatever it entails, we owe no one explanations. Sometimes, when someone is so blatant as Jerrod, we are caught off guard. I wouldn't call his manager, I would write a letter to the headquarters and register a complaint and cc the manager. I always enjoy your posts. By the way, I'm 64 and I got the same comments when my daughter was younger as well.

    1. megang

      Hi, Jude! Yes I think maybe the comments have changed all that dramatically, unfortunately. You're right that I was caught off guard (and therefore bought all three shoes - eek). They've since been returned and I've taken a deep breath :) Hope you had a great weekend and thank you so much for the comment.

  13. M

    Ah it sounds like he was being clueless rather than malicious - we've all been young and we've all said the wrong thing. Try and choose to see the hilarity rather than taking it on as anger - he as an individual can't embody an issue you feel on a societal level, right. Tough to do when we get that burning indignation I know, but I guess that's where the previously mentioned meditation comes in!

    1. megang

      Totally, M. I agree. I was trying to speak to a broader trend I'm noticing where I'm hearing this a lot - not necessarily pointing a direct finger at Jerrod. Maybe I missed the mark a bit. And yes: meditation! Thanks so much for the comment, and have a great week!

  14. Alicia A

    What would a phone wielding kid know about being a mom anyway! I've been a self-employed SAHM for 18 years!
    And I like wearing red spike high heels too, who cares if I twist my ankle baking cookies!

    1. megang

      Love the image, Alicia!

  15. Adriana

    These were so good! I baked them yesterday and I dont see them lasting the two whole days, thanks for sharing. I used half pistachios and half almods because the first were roasted and salted and I didn’t know if it would affect the outcome, definitely will make them again soon.
    I have had the blessing of doing the mom thing for 19 years, nothing can be as rewarding as looking at two babies grow into good and happy persons, I think that is what it is about. So have fun and enjoy doing it, no matter what 😊

  16. Tricia

    Ugh, Jerrod needs a talking-to. I hope you say something to his employer about this. So inappropriate. I really hope someone at least directs him to this post! Take care.

  17. Kim

    Definitely making these cookies - they look like just the thing to keep me fueled when I'm at home just doing the mom thing ;)
    I work two days a week and often think to myself that my days at work are loads easier than the days I'm home with my almost 2 year old daughter! It's lovely having a foot in both worlds but man is it exhausting sometimes. And I agree with others that my husband NEVER gets the same comments that I do when he and our little one are out together. And dare I say he doesn't feel the pinch and pull from having a career AND a household/child that I do? And how much of what I feel is self imposed and how much from society? Such big questions! Let's just have some cookies and take it one day at a time. Thanks as always Megan for your wonderful site and recipes!

  18. Seetha

    Reading this made me realize that I should be proud of being a stay at home. It’s the toughest job out there with so much patience, optimism and problem solving needed.

    1. megang

      Absolutely, Seetha! THE PATIENCE!!

  19. Hillary

    Oh lordy, Jerrod, Jerrod, Jerrod. I am young, on the cusp of 31, don't have kids (we are trying to get pregnant) and am not working. I have mental health issues that have made working a full-time job difficult and my body just can't do the crazy baking hours anymore. I am lucky that I have a husband who has a good job and is supportive of me taking the time I need to focus on my health and hopefully get pregnant. I have struggled so much with the stigma around mental health and the idea of being "just" a stay-at-home mom. My dream is to own my own baking business of some sort while raising children. It's so easy to judge someone from the outside; I think the world just needs some more gosh darn empathy. Working is hard, being a parent is hard, living in this world is hard. I have just as much admiration for stay-at-home parents as I do for business owners and parents who are working 3 jobs just to make ends meet. Thanks for creating a space for dialogue about broader issues, although the food is fantastic as well :)

    1. megang

      AMEN, Hillary! I agree. I feel like it's all hard as well and there's so much dignity in each choice but struggles as well (I know a lot of full time working moms who are just plagued with guilt that they're not spending more time with their kids and stay at home moms who feel unsatisfied and bored ... ). I wish you the best of luck getting pregnant; it's tough. We are trying again, too, and sadly it seems it doesn't get easier with age. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, generous comment. Makes my day.

    2. megang

      ...Also good for you for taking the time you need for yourself to get / feel / stay healthy.

  20. Valerie Silliman

    This story is awesome. I love it! I love that you just up and bought all three. I like that spirit! Also, I’ve called stores and asked people schedules before. Apparently it’s not that odd. They think you want to come when that sales person is working. Also, you could write a complaint!

    1. megang

      Oh smart, Valerie! Yes I ended up returning the other two pairs of shoes (If I'd really liked them I would've kept maybe one additional pair, but they were really spite shoes - ha). And when I went in did say something to the manager just so he knew. Thanks so much for your two cents :) Have a great week!

  21. Marta

    People are so fast to make judgements without knowing the real life settings of the person they judge! And even if they knew... Choices are ours to make doesn't matter if it's staying at home with your baby, not having babies or buying crazy special running shoes! ;) I remember some time ago when I was still working at the university in Germany (PostDoc) one new technicial assistent asked me if I have kids... I didn't so she said: "Ohhh, so you are one of THESE career focused ladies...". Like it was something very wrong and not proper for a REAL woman. It was just so hurtful because I was very unlucky with my love life and it just took me a longer while until I found someone I trust and want to have family with. But even if the career was something I woud choose as one and only passion - what's wrong about that? Now I'm 33, with the man I love and pregnant with my 1st baby :) and planning to be stay at home mum for the 1st year :) And although there are a lot of things to manage - I've never been happier. And that's what it is about. What YOU feel and want! Good luck with getting pregnant again! I keep my fingers crossed. And I will definitely ty the cookies. They look delicious :)

  22. Christi

    Megan - my 3 year old daughter and I just made these cookies (I stay home - hardest job I've ever done as well! ), and they are absolutely divine! They will definitely be in our regular rotation from now on. Thank you for all the hard work you do on this blog. It is very much appreciated - both the recipes and the narrative you tell.

    1. megang

      Ahhh thank you so much, Christi! I'm so glad to hear you both enjoyed the cookies (I can't wait to do more baking with Oliver!) + it's always nice to hear that people are enjoying the site. Thank you! Happy (almost) Friday :)

  23. Kim H.

    From one just-a-mom to another, thank you! These breakfast cookies are off the charts. The flavors are so delicious. I might like them even more than your nutty millet breakfast cookies. Maybe (those are so good, too).

    1. megang

      YAY! So glad, Kimberly. Thank you so much; I love those cookies, too :)

  24. B

    I feel silly for asking, but what is your method for freezing these? I assume you mean you cook them all first and then freeze the final product (rather than freezing the dough). Do you flash freeze them and then wrap them in...foil? plastic wrap? How do you reheat them and how long are they stay good in the freezer? I'm a bit of a worrywart in the kitchen.

    1. megang

      Hi! Sorry for the delay! So two ways: 1) bake them off, let them cool completely and then freeze them in a freezer safe bag for up to 2-3 months (after that they get kinda icy). To thaw, you can just take them out of the freezer and let them thaw overnight or, I'm usually so eager to eat them, I just pop them in the microwave to soften (mmmm, warm cookies!). 2) Can totally freeze the dough balls: lay them out on a plate first to freeze then plumk the frozen balls of dough into a freezer bag. They're good in there at least three months. You can bake them directly from frozen (some say even better this way). Hope that helps!

  25. Jessica

    Where’s the love button when you need one? Story and recipe, of course.

    1. megang

      Aww thanks, Jessica :)

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