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Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies)

Cran­ber­ry Pecan Pin­wheel Cook­ies are soft, pil­lows of brown sug­ar cook­ie with a won­der­ful tart-sweet cran­ber­ry and pecan jam fill­ing. They’re an easy filled cook­ie to make and they’re beautiful!!

Cranberry Pecan Pinwhell Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

I need to qual­i­fy that though. They ARE easy. But, they are a lit­tle more time con­sum­ing than the aver­age cook­ie. The dough has to be chilled. Then it is rolled and filled and needs to be chilled, again. So, while not dif­fi­cult, you do need to plan ahead to make them.

A Twist on a Classic

This is ALMOST not a new recipe for you guys. 

Ear­li­er, I made Filled Date Cook­ies with Wal­nuts (Date Pin­wheel Cook­ies), so I almost opt­ed not to share this one. 

But Cran­ber­ry Pecan Pin­wheel Cook­ies end up being a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent cook­ie, because of their very vibrant col­or and flavor. 

So, the “dif­fer­ent” part of this recipe is the jam. The cook­ie is exact­ly the same. The process is exact­ly the same. 

The two cook­ies could­n’t be more dif­fer­ent, though. And that’s because of the that scrump­tious fresh cran­ber­ry and cit­rus jam. 

I would hap­pi­ly eat the jam fill­ing, for either cook­ie, out of a bowl with a spoon! Yum! Cran­ber­ry Pin­wheel Cook­ies are def­i­nite­ly worth sharing.

Cranberry Pecan Pinwhell Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top

The Ingredients

  • But­ter
  • Dark Brown Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Unbleached All-Pur­pose Flour
  • Vanil­la
  • Salt
  • Bak­ing Soda

For the Cranberry Pecan Jam:

  • Fresh Cran­ber­ries
  • Sug­ar
  • Corn Starch
  • Fresh Orange, juice and zest
  • Cin­na­mon
  • All­spice
  • Pecans
Graphic with a measuring cup of light brown sugar and a measuring cup of dark brown sugar showing the percentage difference of molasses in light to drak brown sugar - 3.5% to 6.5%

Dark Brown Sugar vs Light Brown Sugar

Can I sub­sti­tute light brown sug­ar for light brown sug­ar in Cran­ber­ry Pecan Pin­wheel Cookies?

Sure. I’ve subbed dark for light or light for dark many, many times, when I have run out of one or the other.

You do need to under­stand that there IS a dif­fer­ence between light and dark brown sug­ar, though.

Most brown sug­ar is made by refin­ing the sug­ar cane into gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar and then adding the extract­ed molasses back into it.

Dark brown sug­ar has just under dou­ble the amount of molasses as light brown sug­ar. So, while the two can be inter­changed in recipes, it can mean a slight tex­tur­al dif­fer­ence in the way your food bakes.

Dark brown sug­ar is heav­ier and con­tains more mois­ture (liq­uid molasses). And since molasses is acidic, dark brown sug­ar is more acidic than light. It also has a deep­er, rich­er fla­vor that is more caramel‑y or toffee-like.

Molasses dripping off a wooden spoon into a clear glass bowl of molasses

Because the actu­al amount of molasses is so small in both types of brown sug­ar, in pro­por­tion to the gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar that they both are made from, you won’t need added dry ingre­di­ents to com­pen­sate for the extra mois­ture in dark brown sugar.

You may find that baked goods made with dark brown sug­ar rise ever so slight­ly high­er because of the acidic reac­tion with bak­ing soda.

And because that acidic reac­tion is less with light brown sug­ar, cook­ies may spread a lit­tle more, instead of ris­ing high­er. Again, this will typ­i­cal­ly be only a slight difference.

Items baked with dark brown sug­ar tend to be moister, denser, chewier and more caramel‑y in fla­vor. And of course, their col­or is deep­er brown.

In the end, light and dark brown sug­ar are usu­al­ly pret­ty easy to sub for one anoth­er in a recipe. There will be dif­fer­ences. But they should be slight.

pile of fresh cranberries on a white counter top

Cranberry Benefits

Are cran­ber­ries good for you?

Yes. Cran­ber­ries are a great addi­tion to your diet, (even in pin­wheel cook­ies).

1 cup of fresh cran­ber­ries has 25% of dai­ly Vit­a­min C, plus oth­er vit­a­mins and min­er­als. Cran­ber­ries also con­tain antiox­i­dants. (When they are dried, cran­ber­ries lose near­ly all their vit­a­min con­tent.)

Cran­ber­ries also have prop­er­ties that may have anti-can­cer and anti-inflam­ma­to­ry effects. They may also help with liv­er dis­ease, eye sight, blood pres­sure and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health accord­ing to webmd.com.

It’s also believed that cran­ber­ries may help with improv­ing gut health by adding in good bac­te­ria and reduc­ing bile acids.

And just like in your gut, cran­ber­ries can help with oral health. They reduce the amount of acid you pro­duce and keep it from stick­ing to your teeth. This in turn helps fight tooth decay, gum dis­ease and cav­i­ties.
Want more info? Here’s a good article.

Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top
  • Cream the but­ter and brown sug­ar togeth­er.  I used my stand mix­er, but these are eas­i­ly made by hand, too.)
  • Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingre­di­ents and mix until com­plete­ly incorporated.
  • Divide the dough in half and place each half of the dough in a gal­lon zip-top bag, press it down flat and refrig­er­ate for 1 hour.  You want the dough to be chilled enough that you will be able to roll it out.
  • While the dough is chill­ing make the cran­ber­ry pecan jam.

How to Make the Cranberry Pecan Jam

  1. Start with fresh cran­ber­ries. Put them in a medi­um sauce pan and add sug­ar, corn­starch, cin­na­mon, all­spice, orange juice and orange zest.
  2. Stir every­thing togeth­er and bring the entire mix­ture to a boil over medi­um high heat, stir­ring frequently.
  3. Once the mix­ture is boil­ing, reduce the heat to medi­um and con­tin­ue cook­ing, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly, until the cran­ber­ries pop and the mix­ture thick­ens to the con­sis­ten­cy of jam. 
  4. To see if the jam is done, start count­ing sec­onds as you drag a spoon through the jam to the oth­er side of your pan. The trail you leave will begin to fill in, but you should be able to count 5 sec­onds before it clos­es com­plete­ly, at the oth­er end. 
  5. Remove the cran­ber­ry jam from the heat, stir in the pecans, and allow the mix­ture to cool to room tem­per­a­ture before using it to fill the pin­wheel dough. 
Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top

Rolling the Pinwheel Cookies

  1. Now, divide your chilled dough into two halves. Roll each of them into a 9x12 rec­tan­gle on top of a sheet of parch­ment paper.
  2. Spread each rec­tan­gle with 1/2 of the jam.
  3. Work from the long edge, of each rec­tan­gle. Use the parch­ment paper to help you roll the dough and fill­ing into a log.  The log will be fair­ly big around, 3 ‑3.5 inch­es in diam­e­ter.  Because the fill­ing lay­er is thick, it will not be tight swirls like pin­wheel cookies. 
  4. In the end the roll will have a swirl of dough at the cen­ter, sur­round­ed by jam and then dough encas­ing it all.  It won’t form the tight round and round pin­wheel like the cook­ies from the past that had just a tiny thin rib­bon of filling. 

Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top
  1. Wrap and chill the logs for at least 6 hours.
  2. To bake the cook­ies, cut the logs into 1/3″ slices and place the slices on a cook­ie sheet leav­ing at least 2 inch­es in between. (If you rotate the log a quar­ter turn after each slice you make, it will help the cook­ies stay round instead of going flat on one side.) 
  3. Bake.  The cook­ies will be light­ly browned around the edges, but still soft and ten­der. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the *bak­ing sheet for 3 min­utes, before remov­ing to cool­ing racks. 
  4. Enjoy, my friend! Cran­ber­ry Pecan Filled Cook­ies are going to be gor­geous on your Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas dessert tables!
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Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies) on a rough wooden table top

Cranberry Pecan Pinwheel Cookies (Filled Cookies)


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3 dozen 1x

Description

Cran­ber­ry Pin­wheel Cook­ies are a deli­cious twist on Date Nut Pin­wheels and a gor­geous Christ­mas Cook­ie!  Pil­lowy, brown sug­ar cook­ies filled with tart sweet cran­ber­ry jam.  These cook­ies are deli­cious and beautiful!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Cook­ie Dough:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups unbleached all-pur­pose flour
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons salt
  • 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing soda

For the Cran­ber­ry Filling:

  • 2 (12 oz) bags fresh cran­ber­ries (about 6 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 table­spoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 table­spoon orange zest
  • 1 tea­spoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tea­spoon allspice
  • 3 cups chopped pecans

Instructions

For the Cookies:

  1. Cream the but­ter and brown sug­ar togeth­er.  I used my stand mix­er, but these are eas­i­ly made by hand, too.)
  2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingre­di­ents and mix until com­plete­ly incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough in half and place each half of the dough in a gal­lon zip-top bag, press it down flat and refrig­er­ate for 1 hour.  You want the dough to be chilled enough that you will be able to roll it out.
  5. While the dough is chill­ing make the cran­ber­ry pecan jam.

For the Jam:

  1. Place cran­ber­ries, sug­ar, corn­starch, cin­na­mon, all­spice, orange juice and orange zest in a medi­um saucepan.
  2. Stir togeth­er and bring to a boil over medi­um high heat, stir­ring frequently.
  3. Once mix­ture begins boil­ing, reduce the heat to medi­um and con­tin­ue boil­ing, stir­ring occa­sion­al­ly, until the cran­ber­ries pop and the mix­ture thick­ens to the con­sis­ten­cy of jam. (Start count­ing sec­onds as you drag a spoon through the jam to the oth­er side of your pan. The trail you leave will begin to fill in, but you should be able to count 5 sec­onds before it clos­es completely.)
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the pecans, and allow the mix­ture to cool to room tem­per­a­ture before using it to fill the pin­wheel dough.

Shap­ing the Cookies:

  1. When the dough is ful­ly chilled, roll each half out into a 1/4‑inch thick rec­tan­gle, (each rec­tan­gle will be 9x12) on a sheet of parch­ment paper.
  2. Spread one half of the cooled jam across each of the rec­tan­gles of cook­ie dough, spread­ing it to the edges.
  3. Work­ing from the long edge, use the parch­ment paper to help you roll the dough and fill­ing into a log.  The log will be fair­ly big around, 3 ‑3.5 inch­es in diam­e­ter.  Because the fill­ing lay­er is thick, it will not be tight swirls like pin­wheel cook­ies.  Work from the long edge and tuck the dough into the jam as you get the roll start­ed.  Keep rolling, using the parch­ment to help you, tuck­ing as you go to keep the roll being formed.  In the end the roll will have a swirl of dough at the cen­ter, sur­round­ed by jam and then dough encas­ing it all.  It won’t form the tight pin­wheel like the cook­ies from the past that had just a tiny thin rib­bon of filling.
  4. Wrap and chill the logs for at least 6 hours.
  5. To bake, cut the logs into 1/3″ slices and place on a cook­ie sheet leav­ing at least 2 inch­es in between, for spread­ing. (If you rotate the log a quar­ter turn after each slice you make, it will help the cook­ies stay round instead of going flat on one side.)
  6. Bake at 400° for 8–10 min­utes.  The cook­ie will be light­ly browned around the edges, but still soft and tender.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the bak­ing sheet [affil­i­ate link] for 3 min­utes, before mov­ing to cool­ing racks.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Desserts, Cook­ies
  • Method: Bak­ing
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can

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