Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies

Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies

11 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, October/November 2005

These cookies boast a bright, zesty filling and spicy aroma. They make a large batch and are extremely convenient, since you can make the logs of cookie dough ahead, then pull them out of the freezer and slice and bake as many cookies as you need. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.

Ingredients 90 servings

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Original recipe yields 90 servings
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  • Filling
  • 1½ cups sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, or allspice
  • Dough
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • Scant ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, or allspice
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 3½ tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk, plus more as needed
  • 2½ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. To prepare filling: Combine dried and fresh cranberries, honey, orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Note) over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook, stirring, until the fresh cranberries burst and soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and puree. If the mixture seems dry, stir in up to 2 teaspoons water. Transfer the mixture to a nonreactive container and refrigerate while preparing the dough.
  2. To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom (or allspice) in a large bowl. In another large bowl, combine oil, butter, sugar, honey, eggs, milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat the wet ingredients with an electric mixer first on low speed, then on medium speed, until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until evenly incorporated. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in up to 1 tablespoon more milk. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 to 45 minutes to reduce its stickiness.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a 6-inch-long log. Working with one log at a time, center it on a 16-inch-long sheet of baking parchment or wax paper. Cover with a second sheet. Press and then roll into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle of even thickness, inverting the dough occasionally to roll out any wrinkles and patching it to make the sides as even as possible. Transfer the dough, in the paper, to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining log of dough and transfer to the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the dough is slightly firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. To prepare pinwheel rolls: Place one sheet of dough on a work surface. Peel off the top sheet of paper. Spread half the reserved filling evenly over the dough (it will be a thin layer). Working from a 15-inch-long side, tightly roll up the dough jelly-roll style, leaving the bottom sheet of paper behind. While rolling, slightly stretch out the center to yield an evenly thick roll. Wrap the roll in a clean sheet of wax paper, twisting the ends to prevent unrolling (see Tip). Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough and place on the baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours.
  5. To bake cookies: Position racks in the upper third and center of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one pinwheel roll at a time, trim the uneven ends. Cut the roll crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices using a large serrated knife; periodically turning the roll to maintain a relatively round cookie shape. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about ½ inch apart. Bake the cookies until puffed and barely golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to middle halfway through baking. Immediately transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cut and bake the remaining pinwheel roll.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate filling (Step 1) for up to 2 days. Tightly wrap pinwheel logs (Step 4) and freeze for up to 2 months. Do not defrost before slicing. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to
  • Kitchen note: A nonreactive pan—stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass—is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as cranberries, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.
  • Tip: To produce perfectly round pinwheel cookies, enclose the rolls in cardboard tubes (from foil or paper towels, for example) before freezing (Step 4). Slit each tube lengthwise and insert the wrapped pinwheel log. Secure the tube around the log using rubber bands or tape.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Per serving: 57 calories; 2 g fat(0 g sat); 0 g fiber; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 mcg folate; 5 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 21 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 7 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 24 mg sodium; 16 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: ½ other carb

Reviews 11

December 19, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Delicious - with adjustments After reading through the reviews, I decided to go ahead with these cookies for a cookie exchange at work. The reviews suggested the dough was too sticky, and the cookies were too sweet. I used only all purpose flour. As another reviewer suggested, I added an extra 1/4th cup of flour. I reduced the sugar by 1/4th cup, and reduced the honey in the dough to just a little over 1/6th cup. I chilled the dough for more than an hour in the fridge - I had to let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before I rolled it out, but it rolled out easy. I used parchment paper and paper towel rolls to wrap the dough, and chose to freeze the logs overnight before cutting and baking. Worked out beautifully. The dough wasn't sticky. The cookies aren't overly sweet. The only thing I would change is to add a bit more cardamom to the dough. 1/4th teaspoon is just a tad lower than what I would prefer. The cookies tasted way better the next day, for some reason. Pros: Pretty, tasty, different Cons: Recipe needs tweaking
November 24, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Worst. Dough. Ever. These cookies were a nightmare. They need far too much work to make them happen. The dough is insanely sticky and impossible to roll, way too difficult to warrant the effort. I bake every year for Christmas and I'm no stranger to complicated recipes. But this? The only reason I didn't throw them out and move on to something easier (like, advanced calculus) was because I am stubborn, and the cookies weren't going to win. I hated every moment of working with them. I'll never do it again. Pros: They taste OK. Cons: Everything else.
January 12, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
Good but not spectacular These were somewhat time-consuming, but I didn't mind, considering the work gave me two long cookie rolls and lots and lots of cookies. I cut the sugar a bit, but in future I'd cut it more, or leave out the dried cranberries and use only fresh--these were sweeter than I like. I might also cook them longer--they softened up too quickly in storage, becoming too spongy for my taste, more like a cake than a cookie. I feel like this recipe has potential to be much better, though, and so I might experiment with it sometime. Pros: attractive, nice use of cranberries, nice orange flavor Cons: too sweet, too moist
December 27, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
well ... nothing special Way too much work for this result. It really takes a lot of time to make these cookies and they are not worth it. They are absolutely too sweet, the flavor of orange is too strong. I won't be making them again. Cons: too sweet
December 17, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
Creative alternative to sugar cookies at the holidays I actually used a different recipe for the filling - BHG Cinnamon Sugar Roll Cookies filling - but liked this dough recipe better (less butter!) This dough tasted like the cousin to the krumkake (thanks cardamom) and would go great with a glass of milk or tea. My only complaint is the time to make these - granted you could make them ahead and pop out of the freezer whenever you want. Make sure you keep the dough cold while you're slicing. If it gets sticky you'll be better off sticking it in the freezer than trying to wrestle the dough off your fingers Pros: Flavorful, spiced Cons: Tedious, time consuming
December 13, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
AMAZING i made these last year for christmas and they were such a hit, extremely tasty- not too sweet and ever so slightly tart, super adorable (which is why i did it in the first place, that swirl is amazing) I remember it being a bit involved me to do, but I think all baking is too involved since i'm mostly a cooking meals kindof girl and I will totally make these again this year. Pros: tasty,adorable Cons: involved
December 04, 2011
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By: EatingWell User
Needed tweaking Based on other reviews saying the dough was too sticky, I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour. The cookies came out perfect this way and the dough was easy to handle. I will definitely make these again. Pros: Delicious, special
December 15, 2010
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By: krysia99
Tasty I loved the flavor of these cookies, but I think that they would be even better if some of the butter from what would have been the original recipe was restored. I also think that amending the recipe so that just enough of the milk is used to hold the dough together would help. The original icebox cookie recipe in Joy of cooking would be a good model ... but the flavor and look of this cookie is work playing with. Pros: Flavor visual appeal Cons: Cake like cookies
May 09, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
These were the best cookies I ever made for our annual christmas cookie exhange. They didn't hold up well (too moist) but that may have been more to do with how I packed them. Also, I think the dough needs to be chilled a lot longer than the recipe indicates. However, they tasted INCREDIBLE. The dough was so tasty and the filling so tasty, that we nearly ate it before we assembled the cookies.
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