Cranberry Nut Swirls
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 are spectacular pinwheel-type cookies that are so decorative and beautiful. The taste is even more amazing.
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.
Here’s a Christmas tray of these wonderful goodies. I always want to gobble down a handful.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients. (I made four batches of these cookies, so my pictures show a larger amount than for a single batch).
Place softened butter in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.
Add UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour. Bleached flour toughens baked goods.
Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Chill dough several hours.
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.
Add pecans and orange zest.
Stir all the filling ingredients together. Set aside.
Combine brown sugar and milk. Set aside. (I think I only put the amount for one batch in this picture).
Once mixed, refrigerate dough at least one hour.
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.
Roll dough out into rectangle.
Here the first batch of dough is ready.
Spread brown sugar mixture onto shortbread dough.
Spread the cranberry mixture over the brown sugar mixture.
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.
Roll the dough very tightly. Secure the edges of the dough so they don’t unravel.
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.
Remove dough from wax paper. Cut with sharp knife in approximately 1/4″ slices.
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.
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.
I didn’t space these far enough apart so they kind of ran together while baking.
Cranberry Nut Swirls are such elegant, beautiful cookies. They present very nicely at Christmas parties.
Here’s a stack of Cranberry Nut Swirls.
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)
- 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
- In a large mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients.
- Beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts and orange peel; set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10-inch square.
- Combine brown sugar and milk; spread over dough.
- Sprinkle with the cranberry mixture, leaving about a ½-inch edge at both ends of dough; roll up tightly, jelly-roll style.
- Wrap with waxed paper; chill several hours or overnight.
- Cut roll into ¼-inch slices and place on well-greased cookie sheets.
- Bake at 375° for 14-15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
Don’t Cranberry Nut Swirls look terrific?
Cranberry Nut Swirls make great holiday gifts, and though they are more work than many cookies, the taste is marvelous.
Your holiday company will love these cranberry cookies. Cranberry Nut Swirls won’t last long. Better get one while you can!