Cranberry walnut pinwheels a sort-of success

Published 12:21 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

I found today’s recipe on Pinterest at The photo is what grabbed my attention — the little morsels looked yummy. I printed out recipe and stored it in my dessert folder for another day.

Recently, while sifting through my dessert folder, I ran across this recipe. I pulled it out of the stack thinking I need to make these. The recipe calls for store-bought pie crust, but I thought I would just make my own. However, I made a note on the bottom of the page that in the commentary with the recipe,  someone had tried that and the homemade crust puffed up too much, so the author didn’t recommend doing it. Alas, I opted to buy a box of pie crusts while at the grocery.

One gloomy Sunday afternoon, I was in a baking mood and decided to make these pinwheels because I had some dried cranberries that needed to be used. I didn’t have walnuts. Of course, I did have pecans, so I used them instead.

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The pie crust box said to let the crusts sit out for 10-15 minutes before using. While the crust sat, I put the cranberries, pecans, sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. This step was super simple.

The next step, rolling the crusts into a square didn’t take much time either. I melted the butter and brushed it on each crust. Then I evenly divided and spread the cranberry filling on the two crusts. Rolling up each was a bit of a challenge because I kept putting my fingers through the dough.

I whisked the egg and water together and brushed it all over both logs. I used a serrated knife to slice each log into 10 pieces.

Instead of putting parchment paper on the cookie sheet, I opted to try out the Silpat mat my husband got me for Christmas. Silpat is a non-stick mat you don’t have to grease and you use in place of parchment paper; nothing sticks to it.

The recipe indicates you can put all 20 pinwheels on one cookie sheet, but I wasn’t convinced so I used two cookie sheets.

Brad also got me a generic non-stick mat for Christmas and I used it on the second cookie sheet. I was curious how each non-stick mat would work.

After slicing the logs, moving the pinwheels to the cookie sheets was a little tricky. In hind sight I probably should have put the logs in the refrigerator or freezer for a bit before slicing. Not only was the crust really soft, which made them not want to hold their shape, but they were a little slick from the egg wash. Soft and slick don’t go together very well.

After filling one cookie sheet, I put it in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer sounded, they were just a little bit brown so I let them cook a little longer until brown enough for my liking. I removed the first batch from the oven and put the second cookie sheet of pinwheels in to bake.

I spooned out local honey from Howard Phillips (He comes to our office every year with that liquid gold. This year I bought 12 jars from him — we use a lot of honey) and covered each pinwheel with one teaspoon. Since the pinwheels were still pretty warm, some of the honey ran off. I let the second batch cool a little longer before I added the honey.

You might be able to tell from the photos that not all of the pinwheels stayed together like they probably would if I had refrigerated or froze them before slicing. Even though some weren’t that pretty, they tasted pretty good. They weren’t very sweet, though, so Brad enjoyed them.

Since they weren’t as sweet as I like and because they didn’t look very pretty, I was going to say I failed this recipe. But I shared some with our neighbors, — Rachel, Chris, Linda and Carl — and they said this is not a failure. They all loved them. Rachel even commented she could taste a hint of citrus in them.

With everyone’s encouragement, I now say I nailed this recipe. I’m debating on adding it to my cookbook.

As for the non-stick mats — both of them worked great; however, the generic one got creases in it when I washed it. I’ve decided the Silpat mat is my new favorite baking companion.