Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies

This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. As always, all opinions and recipe are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support The Speckled Palate!

Celebrate the season with Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies! Mix up a classic tea cake dough, then slather with cranberry filling, studded with pecans, and roll into a pinwheel. Brush the rolled cookie log with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Chill, then slice and bake until golden brown. Serve with milk or a favorite festive cocktail – if that’s your thing! Tart, slightly sweet Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies are a festive cookie for Christmas parties.

cranberry pinwheel cookies on a white plate

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When we moved to Baton Rouge from Nashville more than five years ago, we were stunned to discover a giant fig tree growing in our sideyard, producing buckets upon buckets of fresh figs in the early summertime.

Obviously, I did what any good food blogger would do: I made fig preserves, a tart and more… and ate as many fresh ones as I could.

That winter, when clearing out my cabinets and trying to figure out what the heck to do with all the preserves I’d made that summer, I decided to take a favorite Christmas cookie recipe – Tea Cakes – and transform them into pinwheels featuring the figgy goodness.

Admittedly, it’s not FIGGY PUDDING, but it’s gotta count for something, right?

cranberry pinwheel cookies in a holiday tin

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.

I don’t want to say I was inundated with all things cranberry, except I totally was. It was approaching the epic FIG proportion of yesteryear, and I struggled to solve the problem of what to do with ALL THE CRANBERRIES.

The solution?

Make the cranberry into a chutney of sorts, transform a classic holiday recipe into a lightly spiced dough and then roll them together to create more seasonal pinwheels.

cranberry pinwheel cookie on a glass of milk

I worked with the folks at Sprouts to create this delicious recipe as a part of their Incredible Bulk Bin Treat Exchange!

Eleven food bloggers and I created delicious treats for this exchange, each of us sending two other bloggers a dozen cookies. I received goodies from Runnin Srilankan and Lemons and Basil, and I haven’t been able to stop snacking on them. (Seriously. Can we figure out a way to make these cookies last FOREVER? Because they’re so tasty!)

This exchange was SO much fun. I mean… who wouldn’t love exchanging cookies, sharing recipes and making new blogger friends?

cranberry pinwheel cookies on a white and gold plate

These Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies take a little time and love, but they’re well worth the effort. The sugar on the outside is nice and crunchy, and the cranberry filling is deliciously spiced. The cookie is the right consistency and supports the cranberry beautifully without overwhelming its taste.

While they might not be winning any beauty awards, they’ve got some major holiday spirit and taste.

And that, my friends, is what holiday baking is all about.

cranberry pinwheel cookies close up

Erin’s Recommended Tools/Products for Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies

Without further ado, here’s how I made these pinwheel cookies:

cranberry pinwheel cookies close up
Yield: 72 cookies

Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Celebrate the season with Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies! Mix up a classic tea cake dough, then slather with cranberry filling, studded with pecans, and roll into a pinwheel. Brush the rolled cookie log with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Chill, then slice and bake until golden brown. Serve with milk or a favorite festive cocktail - if that's your thing! Tart, slightly sweet Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies are a festive cookie for Christmas parties.


Cranberry Filling

  • 8 oz. fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons pecan pieces

Cookie Dough

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons milk (whole or skim OK)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, for the egg wash
  • 1 cup sugar, for the exterior


Make the Cranberry Filling

  1. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the honey, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and the orange juice.
  2. When the wet ingredients have combined, add the cranberries, ginger and salt.
  3. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries begin popping and breaking down (about 5-10 minutes.)
  4. Remove from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Pour the cranberry filling into the base of a food processor. Add the pecan pieces.
  6. Pulse the cranberries in the food processor until they have broken down. Continue pulsing until the cranberries reach the desired consistency.
  7. When the cranberry filling is a spreadable consistency, with no large chunks of cranberries or pecans, remove from the food processor. Transfer into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
  8. Place in the refrigerator, and let chill and set up for at least one hour.

Make the cookie dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk together. Set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, combine the unsalted butter and sugar. Using a hand-held mixer (or a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Measure in the vanilla and egg to the butter/sugar mixture. Using the hand-held mixer, whip them together until smooth.
  4. Add the milk and vinegar. Beat those into the wet ingredients until smooth.
  5. Carefully measure the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, using the hand-held mixer to combine them on a low speed. Continue until the dough has come together.
  6. Cut the dough into two even-sized pieces. Turn each out onto a separate sheet of plastic wrap. Press into a rectangular log shape, and cover.
  7. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Roll out and prepare the cookies

  1. Once the dough and cranberry filling have chilled, remove both from the refrigerator.
  2. Sprinkle flour over a flat surface. Sprinkle flour onto a rolling pin, as well.
  3. Place the first dough log onto the prepared surface.
  4. Roll out into a rough 12” x 20” rectangle until the dough is about ½” – ¼” thick. Trim up the edges to make the rectangle even.
  5. Slather half of the cranberry filling into the rectangle, leaving about ½” space from the edges of the dough. (The closer the cranberry filling is to the ends, the more likely it will leak out in the rolling process.)
  6. Starting on one of the long sides, slowly lift the dough and roll the cookies into a pinwheel. If the dough is sticking to the surface below, use a knife or pastry cutter to gently free it. Slowly roll the dough until a long pinwheel has been formed.
  7. When the dough and cranberry filling have been rolled into a wheel, brush all sides with the egg wash.
  8. Once the egg wash has been brushed on, sprinkle with additional sugar.
  9. Transfer the cookie roll onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator.
  10. Repeat the process with the other rectangle of dough.
  11. Let both cookie rolls chill overnight. (This step is very important. Please don’t skip it, as the longer the cookie rolls chill, the better chance the pinwheels have of keeping their circular shape.)

Bake the Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Remove the chilled, rolled dough from the refrigerator.
  3. Moving quickly, slice the cookies. I sliced mine to be about ½” thick, and this thickness served them well, as they crisped up in the oven.
  4. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. When all the cookies have been sliced and arranged on the baking sheets, transfer the baking sheets into the oven. Transfer the remaining cookies/cookie rolls into the refrigerator to chill while the first batch bakes.
  6. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the cookies have crisped around the edges and have turned slightly golden.
  7. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a cooling rack.
  8. Repeat the process, baking all of the cookies, until the dough has been completely used.
  9. Enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature with a cold glass of milk!


Please note that the total time does not include either chill time. That will add additional inactive hours onto the recipe and should not be skipped.

Adapted from my Fig Pinwheel Cookie recipe.

Nutrition Information:


72 cookies

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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Cranberry Pinwheel Cookies on white plate and in holiday tin

When you have an overabundance of cranberries or figs, what’s your favorite way to use them?

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  1. Your photos are totally GORGEOUS and I’m happy to have been lucky enough to enjoy a few of these! So perfectly festive and delicious!

  2. This sounds incredible! I love pinwheel cookies! I know my family would love a batch this season!

  3. Oh, I am TOTALLY jealous of your fig tree!! For some reason I couldn’t find fresh figs ANYWHERE this year… so needless to say, I would have killed to be your neighbor! Lol. 🙂 These cookies are so festive and fun!! I LOVE the pretty pinwheel shape with the cranberry filling throughout! And the addition of pecans for a little crunch sounds just fabulous! I bet these beauties are dangerous!
    Thank you so much for putting together The Sweetest Season!! I had such a blast participating!! Cheers! <3

    1. I couldn’t find them either, Cheyanne! I miss that tree SO MUCH and have contemplated putting one in my yard here, though I have no idea how figs grow in Dallas.

      Thank you so much. The pinwheels took a little time to get right, but they (and that cranberry filling!) turned out super well. Thank you for participating in this year’s Sweetest Season and joining in on the fun!

  4. These look wonderful, and so festive! I loved sending and receiving the bulk bin treats, such fun, wishing I could have sampled these, too! 🙂 Thanks so much for mentioning me in the post! Merry Christmas to you!

    1. Thank you, Kaylee! They’re super festive and colorful, that’s for sure. I wish I could’ve sent some of these your way, too! Thanks so much for sending me your gorgeous cookies. We devoured them!

  5. I love participating in cookie exchanges. I’m always excited to see what everyone comes up with! These cranberry pinwheel cookies look tasty!

    1. Thank you, Sharon! It took a few iterations for me to get the pinwheels to come out, but they were delicious in the end. And the cookie exchange was a blast!

  6. These look wonderful! And ooh so delicious! Thank you so much for mentioning me – I sure hope you enjoyed those healthier, gluten free, Triple Chocolate Chip beet cookies I sent your way! Glad our paths crossed!

    1. Thank you, Shashi! And you’re so welcome. We loved the Triple Chocolate Chip Beet Cookies. (I mean, BEETS in a cookie?!? Craziness… but we gobbled ’em up.) So happy our paths crossed, too!

  7. I can’t comment (yet) on the end product, but I just finished making the pinwheel for an overnight set. I have to say, unless I did something horribly wrong, this doesn’t make nearly enough dough to do two 12″ x 24″ rectangles of 1/2″ thick. I ended up rolling out all the dough at once and still couldn’t get it to that size. Then at about 12″ x 18″ most of the chutney was used meaning at two 12″ x 24″ probably not enough chutney either.

    Again, I may have done something wrong. But could you check the recipe quantities just in case? Thanks.

    1. Hi Joe. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave me a comment about this cookie dough. I’m so sorry that the dough does not make enough for two of the rectangles for you. Did you divide the dough before it went into the fridge for the first time? I remember suggesting doing that after my first batch was really hard to roll out as one.

      I’ve gone back through my recipe notebook (where I write my recipes as I make them) and have double checked what’s there to here, and it is all correct. Which makes me wonder if I overestimated how large the rectangles of dough were when I made them last year. I’ll be making these cookies later this month for an exchange, and I will note however large my rectangles are because I hate that this recipe didn’t describe what I did well enough. Also, I went through my images to see if I had a shot of the dough being rolled out, but sadly, I do not.

      I hope that, in spite of the directions flub, these cookies work out for you today and are absolutely delicious when all is said and done. Happy baking, and thank you, again, for taking the time to leave a comment. Comments like yours help me make my recipes better, and I really appreciate it. Happy Saturday to you and yours!

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