I think it’s important when making your cookie selections for the holidays to make sure you have a mix of different flavors and colors. I also like to make sure that there is a balance of sweet and tart which is why I love making these orange and cranberry cookies. These cookies look beautiful, the spiral really pops on a cookie tray and the flavor is a nice mix of tart citrus and intense cranberry. In preparation for making these cookies I always buy my cranberries the week after thanksgiving when I can get them for a dollar a bag rather than the slightly higher price they are now or the over the top pricing the rest of the years. If you are a cranberry fan like I am then you may want to do the same a stock up, I have 5 more bags in the freezer as I type this. With that being said I would not have wasted any of my cranberry supply on these cookies if they weren’t good.
The other reason I love these cookies is because I think that these are the easiest spiral cookies I have ever made. Usually pinwheel cookies require making two separate flavor and colored dough’s and then rolled out the same size and thickness before carefully laying one over the other and rolling them up without distorting the overall appearance. I’m sure some people can just go with the flow and as long as it tastes good it doesn’t matter, I of course am not one of those people. I actually have two tins for each type of cookie that I make, one tin has the nice looking ones that are saved for cookie trays and gifts and the other one has the less perfect ones. I was worried originally that the cranberry layer would not hold its shape but rather melt and go everywhere; I can assure you that did not happen but stayed exactly as it should.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended, do not worry if the mixture appears separated. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, add in orange peel and juice. I juiced the orange after I zested it, no need to waste and ingredient. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, gradually adding slowly to creamed mixture and mix until well combined.
Divide dough into 4 equal balls, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until chilled. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cranberries, pecans and brown sugar and process until finely chopped and creamy.
Roll out one portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper , using flour to prevent the dough from sticking, to a 10-in. square. Remove top sheet; spread dough with a quarter of the cranberry mixture almost to the edges. Starting at one edge, roll the dough tightly and evenly until all of the cranberry is no longer exposed. I find it is helpful to use the wax paper to move the dough rather than my fingers making sure to move the wax paper out of the way with each roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge. Repeat the same process with remaining 3 dough balls and cranberry mixture. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Remove rolls from the fridge, one at a time leaving the remaining rolled dough in the fridge so that it stays firm until slicing, take the plastic wrap off and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets, you may need to use your hands to round the edges of each cookie if they seem too square. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, remove and let cool on wire racks or news paper. Once completely cool store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. Makes 80 cookies.
Much Love, Aislinn and Emily