Friday, November 16, 2012

Cinnamon Cranberry Swirl Cookies

Swirled cookies are probably one of my absolute favorites.  To make, to eat, either way I love these cookies and they totally put me in a holiday mood.  And these particular swirl cookies are extra holiday mood inducing.  A perfect cinnamon-spiced dough wrapped around tart fresh cranberries with a perfect holiday coloring--yes, these will do just fine on my cookie tray.  One bite and it's a burst of holiday flavor in your mouth, with a subtle crunch and a perfect balance of tart and sweet in a simple cranberry sauce filling.  This cookie could easily be one of my new favorites.

Remember when I sent Stephie from Eat Your Heart Out a fun Foodie Pen Pal package?  Well, when started poking around Stephie's blog to get to know her, I stumbled upon these cookies and immediately added them to the holiday cookie list.  No joke it was June, but I needed to make these tasty treats.  I didn't alter the recipe and even opted to mashed the cranberries a bit, like Stephie suggests, for a smoother filling.  In hindsight, I should have rolled the dough between sheets of waxed paper so that I could get a tighter roll to the spiral, so I included instructions to do it that way below.  The waxed paper really helps pull the dough and filling together without putting a finger through the dough, and makes it easy to get a nice, even seal.  So this batch doesn't have the perfect shape, but they are still delicious and the pretty deep red color will certainly brighten up any cookie display.

Cinnamon Cranberry Swirl Cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
2 cups flour
12 ounces fresh cranberries
3/4 cup water, divided (not pictured)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

In a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.

Gradually add salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and flour and mix until dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a work surface.  Divide in half and flatten each half into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for an hour.

Combine cranberries, remaining sugar (1/3 cup) and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries pop and mixture comes to a boil (about 5 minutes).  Reduce heat to low and mash cranberries with a potato masher or back of a spoon.

Whisk remaining water (1/4 cup) and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir into cranberry mixture.  Add remaining cinnamon (3/4 teaspoon) and stir to combine.  Remove from heat once mixture is thickened (just a few minutes) and let cool completely, about an hour.

Roll dough between two sheets of waxed paper to about a 12 x 10 inch rectangle (Note: You can cut and relocate dough to create your rectangle. Just be sure to roll the dough over any "seams.")

Remove top layer of waxed paper and spread half the cooled cranberry sauce over the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges.

Starting at the long end, carefully roll dough up, jelly roll style, using the bottom layer to waxed paper to press dough together and make a tight roll, peeling waxed paper off as you go.

Once rolled, pinch the seam together and tuck in the edges.  Wrap in waxed paper, twist the ends closed and place in the freezer overnight.  Repeat with remaining dough and cranberry sauce.  (Note: You can freeze this dough for up to a month, but should wrap the rolls in aluminum foil as an additional layer.)

Now the sun finally peaks through a tiny sliver in the kitchen window.

To bake, slice rolls into 1/4 to 1/3 inch discs and arrange on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until edges are gently browned.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through baking. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.

Remove from oven and cool on pan for about 10 minutes before gently moving to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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