Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Cranberry Nut Swirls

November 27, 2012Teresa

Teresa’s Bake Shop – Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2012

Cranberry Nut Swirls are my FAVORITE cookie! I just love this beautiful, festive Christmas cookie. It is really hard for me to have a favorite cookie. I love ALL of them! But this one really is my favorite. It has such a luscious taste with just the right amount of tartness from the cranberries and sweetness from the brown sugar in the swirl part of the cookie.

This shortbread-type cookie tastes so wonderful. It’s filled with chopped cranberries, orange zest, and pecans in a delicious brown sugar glaze. The recipe is amazing and just can’t be improved upon. This lovely Cranberry Nut Swirl pinwheel-type cookie is utterly amazing and heavenly.

I think we have made this fabulous Taste of Home recipe every year for the past 15-20 years except one. Yes, it takes a good bit of work and is rather involved. But the taste of this cookie is awesome! I usually ask John to make up about 4 or 5 batches of this because he doesn’t mind all the rolling and detail work. (He is much more patient than me!)

This year we made about 400 of these jewels. I think it was 16 batches total. Yum, yum! Such a sensational cookie even if it is more work than most cookies.

One caution in making this cookie is not to allow the cookies to brown. If they’re browned they’re too done and become crispy and lose their soft texture. I think we usually bake these at 350 about 15-18 minutes (but that’s with 4 pans in the oven at one time so baking takes a little longer).

You will look at them and think they are still doughy. Touch them lightly with you finger to test for doneness. You will be able to tell when they are done as they are firm to the touch and no longer doughy.  Avoid the tendency to overcook these delicious holiday cookies.

Don’t let how much work these cookies take put you off from trying them. They are so amazing. You, your family, and your holiday company will be so glad you took the time to make these wonderful goodies for them. I drool over these cookies. The house has such a marvelous fragrance when these cookies are baking with the lingering smell of the cranberries filling the air. Did I say they are my favorite cookie? If you ever try them you will see why.

When I initially posted this recipe in November 2012, I was still using an iPhone 3 for a camera. My pictures weren’t very clear, plus I used too many Christmas decorations as props so the pictures were a little gaudy and overwhelming. I recently remade this recipe (December 2016) for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and took some new pictures. These cookies are still my favorites. I hope you give them a try.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Cranberry Nut Swirls are spectacular pinwheel-type cookies that are so decorative and beautiful. The taste is even more amazing.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Here’s a close up of a Cranberry Nut Swirl so you can see the texture. In this picture you can see all the finely diced pecans. 

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Here’s a Christmas tray of these wonderful goodies. I always want to gobble down a handful.

Here’s what I did.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

I used these ingredients. (I made four batches of these cookies, so my pictures show a larger amount than for a single batch).

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Add UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour. Bleached flour toughens baked goods.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Chill dough several hours.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

While dough is being chilled make the cranberry filling: Wash cranberries. Place cranberries in food processor and grate or shred then place cranberries in large mixing bowl.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Add pecans and orange zest.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Stir all the filling ingredients together. Set aside.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Combine brown sugar and milk. Set aside. (I think I only put the amount for one batch in this picture).

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Once mixed, refrigerate dough at least one hour.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

After chilling dough remove from refrigerator. Sprinkle a large amount of flour on flat surface. Also sprinkle flour on the ball of dough. Press out dough slightly with the heel of your hand.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Roll dough out into rectangle.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Here the first batch of dough is ready.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Spread brown sugar mixture onto shortbread dough.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Spread the cranberry mixture over the brown sugar mixture.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Begin rolling up the dough. You can use a spatula to help lift the dough off the counter top and to help roll the dough and keep it from tearing apart. 

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Roll the dough very tightly. Secure the edges of the dough so they don’t unravel.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Lift the dough onto a piece of waxed paper and roll up in waxed paper. Chill the dough again. It is easier to work with this dough if you chill it overnight or at least several hours.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Remove dough from wax paper. Cut with sharp knife in approximately 1/4″ slices.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Place on baking sheets that have been heavily sprayed with cooking spray. I recommend leaving more space between the cookies than I left here. The cookies expand A LOT while baking.

Because of the sugar and cranberry content in these cookies, if the pans are not well greased or sprayed the cookies will stick and be hard to remove from cookie sheets.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Bake at 375 for 14-15 minutes or until done. Do not overcook. These cookies will not get very brown. Touch the surface. You’ll be able to tell if the cookie is baked by touch.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

I didn’t space these far enough apart so they kind of ran together while baking.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Cranberry Nut Swirls are such elegant, beautiful cookies. They present very nicely at Christmas parties.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Here’s a stack of Cranberry Nut Swirls.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

You don’t want to bake them too long. These are very lightly browned. They lose their soft texture if you bake them too long. (On the other hand, you do need to make sure they are cooked!) 🙂

Here’s the recipe.

CRANBERRY NUT SWIRLS

(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home 6th Edition Cookbook)

Print Recipe
Cranberry Nut Swirls BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Fabulous Christmas cookie made with a shortbread layer and a cranberry-orange zest-walnut layer swirled into the cookie. Great for holiday baking.
Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients.
  2. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts and orange peel; set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10-inch square.
  7. Combine brown sugar and milk; spread over dough.
  8. Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture, leaving about a ½-inch edge at both ends of dough; roll up tightly, jelly-roll style.
  9. Wrap with waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
  10. Cut roll into ¼-inch slices and place on well-greased cookie sheets.
  11. Bake at 375° for 14-15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: 1 bag of cranberries = 2 cups shredded cranberries.

NOTE: Avoid the tendency to overcook these cookies because they don’t look done after 14-15 minutes. Once they get to the lightly browned stage all over they will become crispy cookies, which is not what they are supposed to turn out like.

NOTE: Preparation time does not include time necessary to chill the dough.

NOTE: It is recommended that you spray your pans heavily with cooking spray otherwise the cookies may stick to the pan.

NOTE: Be careful not to crowd the cookies on a cookie sheet as they expand quite a bit while baking.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

 

[b]Cranberry Nut Swirls[/b]
Recipe Type: Cookies, Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Author: Teresa Ambra adapted from [url href=”http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cranberry-nut-swirls” target=”_blank” title=”cranberry nut swirls”]Taste of Home[/url]
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 42
Fabulous Christmas cookie made with a shortbread layer and a cranberry-orange zest-walnut layer swirled into the cookie. Great for holiday baking.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup finely ground cranberries
  • ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. grated orange peel
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. milk
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients.
  2. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts and orange peel; set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10-inch square.
  7. Combine brown sugar and milk; spread over dough.
  8. Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture, leaving about a ½-inch edge at both ends of dough; roll up tightly, jelly-roll style.
  9. Wrap with waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
  10. Cut roll into ¼-inch slices and place on well-greased cookie sheets.
  11. Bake at 375° for 14-15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
Notes
1 bag of cranberries = 2 cups shredded cranberries.[br][br]Avoid the tendency to overcook these cookies because they don’t look done after 14-15 minutes. Once they get to the lightly browned stage all over they will become crispy cookies, which is not what they are supposed to turn out like.[br][br]Preparation time does not include time necessary to chill the dough.[br][br]It is recommended that you spray your pans with Baker’s Joy cooking spray otherwise the cookies may stick to the pan.
Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Don’t Cranberry Nut Swirls look terrific?

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Cranberry Nut Swirls make great holiday gifts, and though they are more work than many cookies, the taste is marvelous.

Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert

Your holiday company will love these cranberry cookies. Cranberry Nut Swirls won’t last long. Better get one while you can!

You may also enjoy these delicious recipes!

White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | #Subway copycat recipe. #cheesecake pudding mix takes these scrumptious #cookies to the next level. They are sensational! #whitechocolate #craisins #dessert

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Blondies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Blondies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these luscious #brownies are great for the #holidays or any time you want a special treat. #chocolate #cranberries #dessert

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these favorite #Christmas #cookies use #pumpkin, fresh #cranberries & have a #cinnamon frosting on top with #sprinkles! Terrific #dessert for #fall baking.
Print Recipe
Cranberry Nut Swirls BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Fabulous Christmas cookie made with a shortbread layer and a cranberry-orange zest-walnut layer swirled into the cookie. Great for holiday baking.
Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 24 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Cranberry Nut Swirls | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these are our favorite #Christmas #cookies. They have a lovely #cranberry, pecan & orange zest filling in a shortbread crust. Heavenly. #dessert
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients.
  2. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  5. In a small bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts and orange peel; set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10-inch square.
  7. Combine brown sugar and milk; spread over dough.
  8. Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture, leaving about a ½-inch edge at both ends of dough; roll up tightly, jelly-roll style.
  9. Wrap with waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
  10. Cut roll into ¼-inch slices and place on well-greased cookie sheets.
  11. Bake at 375° for 14-15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: 1 bag of cranberries = 2 cups shredded cranberries.

NOTE: Avoid the tendency to overcook these cookies because they don’t look done after 14-15 minutes. Once they get to the lightly browned stage all over they will become crispy cookies, which is not what they are supposed to turn out like.

NOTE: Preparation time does not include time necessary to chill the dough.

NOTE: It is recommended that you spray your pans heavily with cooking spray otherwise the cookies may stick to the pan.

NOTE: Be careful not to crowd the cookies on a cookie sheet as they expand quite a bit while baking.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

36 Comments

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  • Elizabeth Martinez

    December 18, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Can frozen bread dough be used. I was thinking of putting it out on counter to rise and then roll it and follow the instructions from there?

    1. Teresa

      December 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Well, Elizabeth, I’ve never tried it with frozen bread dough before but it might work. It may be too yeasty and not the shortbread texture that this recipe has. Just saying….

  • Sarah

    December 12, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    These look amazing – I am really tempted to make a version with pistachios and white chocolate chips for the holidays!

    1. Teresa

      December 12, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      I bet those would be fantastic, Sarah. If you enjoy baking I’d sure give it a try!

  • Debbie Wyatt

    December 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Do you use fresh or dried Cranberries? I stocked up on cranberries, and froze them, as you can only get them in November & Dec. Love cranberries!

    1. Teresa

      December 8, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Hi, Debbie, these use fresh cranberries. I put them through the food processor to grate them.

  • Elaine

    November 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Those colors are just mesmerizing! I can’t stop admiring your recipe, Teresa! It is so detailed and bright – thanks a lot for sharing it with me and like-minded food lovers! 🙂

    1. Teresa

      November 16, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you so much, Elaine! This has always been one of our favorite Christmas cookies. It’s a good bit of work, but since we only make it once a year, it’s worth it. The combination of flavors is awesome. Hope you enjoy them. Thanks for letting me know – you brightened my day! 🙂

  • Susan

    October 11, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Can you freeze these cookies? They look delicious and I would like to make them ahead of the holidays as things get so busy.

    1. Teresa

      October 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Susan. Yes, you can freeze them. I freeze them every year in individual bags and then in a large zip lock bag. You can also wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze in containers. They will easily keep in the freezer for three or four months. Hope you enjoy them.

  • Lisa

    September 17, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Have you ever made them with gluten free flour? They look delicious and I’d love to try making them at Christmas this year, but most of my family have recently been diagnosed with Celiac.

    1. Teresa

      September 17, 2017 at 11:23 am

      I haven’t Lisa, but there are some really good GF flours available these days. You may want to try it with Namaste, Better Batter or even Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose GF flour for baking. I’d sure give it a shot.

  • Amy

    September 16, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Would these cookies ship well?

    1. Teresa

      September 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Hi, Amy. I have shipped these cookies multiple times at Christmas before. I sealed mine in individual poly bags. But you probably won’t have that on hand so wrap in plastic wrap or in individual plastic bags and place in some kind of smaller box or cookie container (I used tupperware type container). Then when packing the package use plenty of padding like bubble wrap or styrofoam peanuts. They should be fine that way.

  • Louise

    September 15, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    A hint from Martha Stewart….
    If you want your cookes to be rounder…
    After you have rolled the cookies and wrapped them, put them in a
    Paper towel roll that is split down the side. This will prevent the dough
    From getting flat on one side. It works. The cookies look great. I will
    Definitely be making them. Thank you

    1. Teresa

      September 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

      What a fantastic idea, Louise! It’s so hard to get these nicely rounded and the original recipe didn’t give any hints like this one. Thanks so much for sharing this tip. Have a great weekend.

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  • nancyc

    December 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I love cranberry recipes at the holidays!

    1. Teresa

      December 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Me too! These are a good bit of work but my favorite holiday cookie. Love the taste and texture.

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  • LizForADay

    December 2, 2012 at 4:49 am

    Did the cranberries add a bitterness to the cookies. They look amazing. 🙂

    1. Teresa

      December 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Not really. They have a wonderful flavor. Probably because if all the sugar.

      Sent from my iPhone

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  • petit4chocolatier

    November 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    This is a great recipe and looks delicious!! You are incredible!!

    1. Teresa

      November 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      thankfully John did most of the work on this one (sheepish grin). He doesn’t mind the grunt work.

  • explodyfull

    November 27, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    These look amazing! I can’t believe you made so many in one go I am impressed!

    1. Teresa

      November 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Well, thanks really has to go to my husband. He did all the grunt work. I only took pictures, packed the cookies in individual bags and heat sealed them so we could ship them!

      fortunately, he doesn’t mind doing the cookies that take more work than normal!

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