Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

If you've been following me for a while, you know I love swirled cookies.  I've got so many different flavors and am always looking for more--mint and fudge, almond and sugar, cinnamon and cranberry, peanut butter and chocolate.  I just love these cookies because they are so much fun to make.  It might seem like a lot of steps, but I still think they are easier than regular roll out sugar cookies, and there's the bonus of tons of flavor.  These cranberry and orange swirls are stuffed with fresh cranberries and pecans, sweetened with brown sugar.  It's a lovely combination and I'm really glad I picked up this recipe for my swirls this year.  Sweet and nutty with a nice sugar cookie base.  Cranberry and orange are one of my favorite holiday flavor combinations, and the addition of pecans works so well.  These are officially on the holiday cookie list.

Since I love the swirled cookies so much, I will bookmark just about any version and I'm so glad this one from Better Homes and Gardens caught my eye--after all, they are the ones that introduced me to the almond swirls and mint fudge swirls. I forgot to pick up an orange before I made these, so I added some dried orange zest I keep on hand for just these occasions.  I do think the fresh zest whole add a fresher, more vibrant orange flavor, but this worked in a pinch.  I might even add a bit of zest to the filling to enhance the citrus component.  Speaking of the filling, Dave thought these could use more of it, and I think I agree.  It's a great flavor and to be honest, I didn't think I had enough to spread into these cookies.  Rather than make two large logs and divide the filling in half, I divided the dough and the filling into quarters, but I still think the next time I make these cookies, I'd double the filling, but keep the dough into four smaller logs for easy handling--the dough certainly was thick enough in these spiral rolls.  If you're a cranberry orange fan like me, these cookies might soon be one of your favorites--lucky for you and me, the recipe makes plenty, so no one will notice the missing stash you kept for yourself.

Cranberry Orange Pinwheels


1 cup cranberries
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cranberries, pecans and brown sugar.  Pulse until finely chopped and well combined.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large bowl and a hand held mixer, beat butter until creamy, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.

Mix in eggs, one at a time, then mix in orange zest, baking powder, and baking soda.

Reduce speed to low and gradually stir in flour until just combined and a soft dough forms.  If using a hand held mixer, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups flour with mixer, than switch to a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon and stir in remaining flour by hand.

Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and combine into a soft ball.  Divide dough into four pieces and flatten them into discs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.

Remove from fridge and place disc between two pieces of waxed paper.  Roll each disc to about a 10 inch square, about 1/4 inch thickness.  Remove top layer of waxed paper.

Spread 1/4 of the filling on the dough, taking care to get as close to the edges as possible.  Using the bottom piece of waxed paper as your guide, starting at the bottom, gently and tightly roll the dough, jelly-roll style, removing the waxed paper from the bottom as you go.  If the ends of the roll aren't flush, tuck them in on themselves to create a seal.

Twist the edges of the waxed paper to seal the roll inside the paper and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Remove one roll from the refrigerator and using your sharpest knife, cut the dough crosswise into 1/4 inch slices.  I like to cut the whole roll in half, and then work from the inside out.  Wipe the knife occasionally to remove any excess dough or filling.

Arrange cookie slices on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set and lightly golden.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.

Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Makes 8 dozen cookies.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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