Cinnamon Cranberry Pinwheels


I read a lot of food blogs. And by that, I mean I read a LOT of food blogs. I already read quite a few as it was, and then I joined Twitter. I resisted joining Twitter for a long time because I knew exactly what would happen – that I would read even more food blogs. The great thing about Twitter is that I have connected with a lot more food bloggers. The bad thing about Twitter is that I have connected with a lot more food bloggers! Ah well, this blog is so named because I really do dream about food all day. Twitter just gives me more food to dream about.

I get a lot of inspiration from my fellow food bloggers, but as a general rule, I don’t make any of their recipes wholesale. At the very least, I make a few minor changes to suit my own tastes or what I have on hand. Often, I am looking for recipes that I can modify to be low carb and/or gluten free, which usually means a major overhaul of the recipe. But every so often, I come across a recipe that I have to just make as is. This one, from Baked By Rachel, was one such recipe. I saw it and instantly knew that I wanted to add it to my Christmas cookie line-up to give away to friends and family. The pinwheels are so colourful and festive, and I thought that the cranberry-cinnamon flavour combination would be lovely. A nice addition to my Gingerbread White Chocolate Biscotti and Caramel Nut Bars.

The Results: They are lovely cookies indeed, especially if you like the tartness of cranberries to come through. The dough almost seems like shortbread in texture, and the hint of cinnamon complements the cranberry very well. As Rachel noted, they don’t spread much and the dough is a bit hard to work with for rolling up into logs as it is fragile. They don’t come out as nice round cookies because of this, but they still look remarkably pretty.

In the end, I did sort of change something, by making more filling. I didn’t think I had enough when I was spreading it on the rolled out dough so I quickly made a little more. I realized when cutting it into cookies that I had spread it quite thickly, but I rather like them like this. So I will write the recipe to reflect little more filling but you could pare it down if you like.

Cinnamon Cranberry Pinwheels – adapted from Baked By Rachel

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 cups cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup water, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp cinnamon

For the dough, cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg and vanilla, scraping down bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add flour, salt and cinnamon and beat until dough comes together.

Divide dough in half and form into balls. Wrap in plastic and flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Meanwhile, heat cranberries, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries pop and mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup water and cornstarch. Stir into hot cranberry mixture until thickened. Add cinnamon and stir until combined. Let mixture cool completely, at least 1 hour.

When the dough is firm enough to work with, roll out one disk into a rough rectangle, about 12×10 inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with half of cranberry mixture, leaving 1/2 inch around border of dough.

Starting at one of the shorter ends of the rectangle, roll carefully up into a log. Pinch and seal ends and wrap tightly in plastic and then in aluminum foil. Repeat with second disk of dough.

Freeze for at least one day and up to two months. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Using a large, sharp knife, slice logs into 1/3 inch slices. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges are just starting to brown. Cool 5-10 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

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  1. Stephanie says

    So pretty! Something about that color — not too red, not too pink, that I absolutely love. Just screams sophistication. :-p

    I, too, just recently got into Twitter. And I hear yah. The thing is like a drug — I love it and I can't stop. Won't stop. I love being part of a community, though, and I'm loving the new relationships I'm building through Foodbuzz & Twitter. :-p Very thankful, indeed.

  2. BroccoliHut says

    Just to reiterate what others have said–these pinwheels are gorgeous! I am in a baking mood today, so I might just make a batch of these this afternoon:)

  3. Imwaytoobusy says

    Oh, these look and sound so good! Just last night I realized how many blogs I am following now and it has gotten out of control. There are so many good ones (like yours ;)! I haven't done too much with Twitter and my blog, may have to give it a whirl!

  4. The Mom Chef says

    Those are gorgeous! I definitely like the idea of more filling than less.

    Like you I joined twitter, but limit myself to very short, periodic glances at it. I can't afford more time than that!

  5. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    These are beautiful for the holidays. I hear you on too much reading. I still haven't gotten used to twitter. I want to though.

    Happy Holidays.

  6. Sommer J says

    Great job, Carolyn!! They look so pretty, buttery, just the right amount of sweet and damn pretty! I wanna eat the whole lot! I read so many blogs too and Twitter inspires me with the random, "i'm cooking…" tweets. Like you, food is constantly on my mind! It's so nice to have an outlet and read about other obsessions! I know you've inspired me :)

  7. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    I read A LOT of food blogs too and even more since I went to the Foodbuzz Festival, joined twitter and stumbleupon! Sometimes it's so hard to keep up but I try. And I especially make sure to always read your blog because you're one of my absolute favorites! (it's the truth!)

    These cookies are SO gorgeous. I love the idea of using a cranberry filling, I LOVE cranberries in desserts. What a great idea to add cinnamon to the filling and the dough. They sound and look AMAZING!

  8. Foodiva says

    These cranberry pinwheels are so bright and eye-catching! Definitely one for the festive season. Btw, I'm glad you've joined Twitter, and I'm sure we're already Twitter friends. We must make an effort overcome the time difference one day and have a good old Twitter chat!

  9. Evan @swEEts says

    These are such pretty little Christmas cookies! I'm with you on the blog world.. I can scour it for hours if my day would allow me! And I definitely fought being a part of twitter for a while but you get to meet so many great people :) Hope you're having a great weekend!

  10. TheFlavourJunkie says

    As always, a fantastic recipe and beautiful images. Love these ones and I think i'll add them to my list of Christmas cookies as well! Thanks!!

  11. The Small Boston Kitchen says

    I love this idea! I am totally going to give it a try. These looks awesome. I like the fruit filling isn't skimpy as it can sometimes be in a cookie like this. Great post!

  12. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    I feel the same way about twitter. I've discovered so many great people and blogs, but now I spend all my free time reading blogs! I also find myself logging into Twitter way more often than I should at work, just so I don't miss anything good!

    These cookies are gorgeous. I love the tart flavour of cranberries, especially when balanced with something sweet.

  13. UrMomCooks says

    These look amazing and so festive! Who wouldn't love to see these on a cookie tray??? (Twitter got me reading loads of new food blogs too…feels like there is not enough hours in the day sometimes!)

  14. Beth says

    What a beautiful holiday cookie. I always enjoy your recipes as well as your finds. I too dream about food all day and I mean all day. I should be as bifg as a house. I will be giving these as pretty holiday gift. Thanks!! B:)

  15. Island Vittles says

    Your Christmas baking is out of control…and I`ve only looked at the last 3 posts. I could use a care pkg with samples of all 3! I love the vibrant colour of these pinwheels. You know it`s Christmas just by lookin` at 'em…Theresa

  16. Catherine says

    I don't even know how twitter works! Maybe one day – hmmm?? Those pinwheels look AMAZING! My mouth is watering.

  17. Sarah-Jane - says

    I'm another fan of cranberries and have just found your blog. These look so yummy, Christmassy and striking.

    thanks for posting

  18. sara @ CaffeIna says

    These pinwheels are so cute and so colorful that they could totally be put on a Xmas tree…and then also eaten of course! Beautiful!

  19. Wilde in the Kitchen says

    I really like your filling to cookie ratio, I'm a big fan of cranberry. I have to get on twitter, it would be so much easier to follow all my favorites!

  20. Boulder Locavore says

    This looks delicious Carolyn! Glad I can just come visit you for inspiration and let you do the sleuthing! Do you make all your baked goods gluten free? Would be curious to compare notes on how you modify gluten recipes to become GF successfully!

  21. MyMansBelly says

    These look stunning! I love that there's a lot of filling in there. Usually the filling (which is the best part) is skimpy – not these.

  22. Elisabeth says

    Carolyn-For a moment, I thought they were pinwheel cakes, and after reading the ingredients, realized they were cookies. So lovely, colorful, and yummy!
    Congratulations, on getting on the Top 9 with it!

  23. Kathleen says

    I saw these on Rachel's blog and can't wait to try them. I'm just like you and read a ton of blogs too ;). Love your blog and I'm your newest follower.

  24. Chef Dennis says

    I am with you on the filling, I think the extra was a very good idea, especially when it sounds so delicious!
    Your pinwheels although no round are beautiful!

  25. Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking says

    Wow, that was the most perfect pinwheels I've seen, ever. How do you make them so perfect? Well, I have nothing more to say then, I'm impressed.

  26. Emily Z says

    AUGH! These are gorgeous and they sound delicious! I agree with you about the fact that I feel like I spend so much of my time looking at other food blogs. Being unemployed has not helped matters, it's gotten way worse with the extra time on my hands. But I find so much inspiration, so it is definitely worth it! And in the process, I am so happy to have met you! :)

  27. Sandra says

    Congrats Carolyn! While back when I was writing a comment and I had a feeling that you will be once more on top 9! I am so happy, because those look so good!

  28. BakingWithoutaBox says

    Oh how wonderful. Colorful and fun. Very childlike and yet so elegant. What a great recipe!

    I hear you on all the wonderful blogs out there. I feel like I can never catch up with all the lovely posts I'd like to see. Very addictive.


    These are the prettiest little bites I've seen all week! I think they would make a great addition to out Christmas get-together this week!

  30. Beth says

    Your cookies are so beautiful and Christmassy looking. What a perfect holiday treat! (I seldom use twitter for the reasons you mentioned. It's easy to get addicted to social media, isn't it?)

  31. Rachael Ray Magazine says

    Cranberry and Cinnamon combination is actually lovely. From the pictures, these wheels sound so delicius especially the cranberry spread.

  32. Stella says

    Wowzers! These are so pretty! I need to make some twirl cookies like this with your filling here. The color is amazing:)

  33. Saveur Magazine says

    I love cranberry and any dish which has cranberry. Thanks for the recipe. I would want to try this next weekend. They look so pretty.

  34. Made in Sonoma says

    I had left over cranberries on Thanksgiving so I decided to make these. I saw them on foodgawker and they looked great! Unfortunately, mine didn't turn out as pretty but they are still a tasty cookie nonetheless.

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