It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Pinwheels

December 11 , 2016 by: Amber Trudeau Cookies

See? What did I tell you? These Christmas puns are terrible 🙁 Now if I wasn’t going for a Christmas theme, I easily could’ve used something like “Pinwheels Keep on Turnin’, Cranberries Keep On Burnin’ ” , or possibly “Pinwheels of Fortune”. Instead though, we’re stuck with this. Look, we’re all suffering here, but let’s just try and get through this together in the hopes that next year will be a lot more pun 😉

Anywho, I was initially so excited/ pumped about these cookies. The raw batter tasted delicious, the homemade cranberry sauce filling was scrumptious. They also chilled perfectly in the freezer, so slicing them up for baking was a breeze. I thought I had found the cookie to end all cookies. The peanut butter to my jam, the sun to my moon, the Bonnie to my Clyde, the…well, you get the idea. Now clearly the setup to that sentence indicates that that’s not quite what happened here (although wouldn’t that have been hilarious if I had then said “and that’s exactly what happened!”? No? You wouldn’t have laughed so hard you’d break a rib and require immediate medical attention? Hmmm….well, either way, probably good that didn’t happen so we don’t need to test this theory 😉 ).


Then the big reveal happened. I removed these perfectly golden brown slices of fruity, Christmas cookery goodness from the oven and could barely wait to sink my teeth into them. Just imagining the combination of the raw dough and the filling was enough to send me into paroxysms of joy, so I couldn’t even begin to contemplate how amazing they were sure to be once in their combined and baked state. With great anticipation, I lifted the first cookie to my mouth, took a huge bite and tasted….blandness. What happened!!!?????? How could simply baking them make the flavour change so much??? To be honest, they weren’t even bad. They probably would’ve been exactly what I was looking for if these were intended to be breakfast cookies or breakfast scones. They just had that more earthy, bready kind of flavour to them.


I was incredibly disappointed, not only for the fact that they didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but I also vastly underestimated how many cookies this would make, so I was now stuck with 120 of these (I typically double or triple recipes I do for Christmas, so the recipe below will not make quite that many). Again, they weren’t bad, just not really sweet enough, so not what I wanted for my Christmas cookies. I also now didn’t want to give them away to anyone because I have standards and I didn’t want people thinking I considered these acceptable.


At this point, while I was being overly dramatic and behaving unconscionably traumatized by the whole experience, Kevin said “What’s the problem? So they’re not quite as sweet as you want them, why don’t you just put icing or something on them?” To which I was all like “that’s a terrible idea, it’ll never work, and then I’ll have wasted even more time and ingredients” (I was in a totally pouty and unreasonable mood at this point, so Kevin was smart enough to just say “Ok” and walk away). I’m happy to say though that once I stopped being a crazy person (or less of one anyway 😉 ), I realized he made an excellent point and I decided to take his advice after all. At which point, I made a cranberry orange glaze which I spread a thin layer of on the cookies and low and behold, I was just as amazed as a child seeing a magician pulling a rabbit out of hat. The cookies were saved!!!


Once again, Kevin coming through to save my bacon…er…cookies. (Rabbit-filled) Hats off to you Kevin! You saved Christmas 😉 .

Cranberry Apple Butter Pinwheel Cookies

Yield: 5 dozen cookies



  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (or orange juice)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 cups coconut apple butter (optional)


  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey (or agave)
  • 2 egg replacer
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk, plus more as needed
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (or orange juice)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
  • 3-4 teaspoons of coconut oil


  1. To prepare filling: Combine all the ingredients for the filling except for the apple butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook, stirring, until the fresh cranberries burst and soften, 4 to 5 minutes (or if frozen, until mixture thickens somewhat – you may have to cook a bit longer because of the extra water in the frozen cranberries). Let cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor and puree. seems dry, stir in up to 2 teaspoons water. Refrigerate while preparing the dough.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice. Add oil, butter, brown sugar, honey, egg replacer, non-dairy milk, orange zest, vanilla and almond extracts and stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, stir in up to one tablespoon more non-dairy milk.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 to 45 minutes to make it easier to work with.
  4. Divide dough in half; wrap and chill for one hour.
  5. When chilled, place half of dough on a floured surface. Roll into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle. If using, spread half (aka 1 cup) of your coconut apple butter over dough, then spread half of the cranberry filling over dough. Roll up jelly-roll style and wrap in plastic. Repeat with the second half of dough. Freeze until firm, at least 3 to 4 hours (or up to overnight)..
  6. To bake cookies: Slice cookies and place on greased baking sheets. Bake 12-16 minutes at 350-degrees or until lightly browned.
  7. While cookies are baking, make your glaze by mixing together all your glaze ingredients. Err on the lower side for the coconut oil at first and just add more as needed to get the proper spreadable glaze consistency.
  8. Allow cookies to cool completely before spreading with glaze.
  9. Store in the refrigerator.


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About Amber

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Hi, I'm Amber Trudeau.  I bake.... a lot.

I'm also vegan, and found that whenever I went out to a restaurant my dessert choices were limited to sorbet, sorbet, and sorbet.  So I started making my own desserts. I wanted them to taste good though - so my ultimatum was to make delicious desserts that also happen to be dairy-free and egg-free. Every week or so, I challenge myself to try something new.  To recreate some kind of traditional dessert that tastes amazing without using animal products.

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