Cranberry Cardamom & Citrus Pinwheels | Almanac.com

Cranberry Cardamom & Citrus Pinwheels


Cranberry Cardamom & Citrus Pinwheel Cookies

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Attar Herbs & Spices
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Guess what friends, cookie season is on! Here's a seasonal take on the pinwheel cookie recipe, adding color and flavor with cranberry and cardamom. 

I've already received two invites to a holiday cookie swap and asked to bake for the school bake sale this week. The time of year when the kitchen counter and floor takes on a constant film of flour for weeks to come. It's all good though. It comes and goes so quickly and brings joy, and perhaps an extra pound or two... but who's counting.

An Abundance of Cranberries

We are fortunate to have a small bog in our backyard that was abundant with cranberries this year. Our adventurous neighbors recently took to their kayaks and in a couple of hours harvested a hefty 19lbs! Those cranberries became the inspiration for our first round of heavenly holiday goodness. 


Playing With the Pinwheel Cookie

I remember making pinwheel cookies years ago and always loved the tang of the cranberry mixed with notes of citrus and sweet buttery dough. This year, we decided to play around with the traditional recipe and spice it up a bit. We went with cardamom. Cardamom, Elettaria cardamomum, is the fruit of a large perennial bush that grows wild in southern India and Sri Lanka and is now cultivated heavily in parts of Central America.   


What is Cardamon?

Cardamom is known as "The Queen of Spices" and that is a rightly royal name for it. In our home, cardamom is found right next to our stove so in the morning we have quick access to grab and grind to add into our morning coffee brew. It has been used in Scandinavian countries and India for baking and savory dishes for thousands of years. It is a common ingredient in the popular Scandinavian bread, pulla. In India, it is a base ingredient for the popular drink, chai tea and often an important ingredient in curry recipes. The flavor of cardamom is unique. Its aroma is strong and requires only a small amount to impart its slightly floral and camphory flavor. 

Trio of Flavor

In our cookies, we combined freshly ground cardamom, cranberry and citrus to form a beautiful floral trio of flavor that is so pleasing you won't be able to stop at one. I know that I can't, but also isn't that part of the culinary pleasures of this season?

Happy holiday baking to you and remember to play around with your recipes and see if you can elevate the flavor a touch with a few dashes of spice, you will be pleasantly surprised.


Cranberry Cardamom & Citrus Pinwheel Cookies


  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tsp cardamom, ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp finely shredded orange peel
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (we used gluten-free flour)


  1. To make filling, combine cranberries, nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg and cardamom in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until cranberries and nuts are finely chopped. Set filling aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and orange peel until combined. Add in flour and mix well. Divide your dough in half. Cover with saran wrap and chill dough about 1 hour.
  3. Roll out half of the dough between pieces of parchment or waxed paper into a 10-inch square. Spread half of the filling over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Next slowly and carefully roll up dough into a nice round log. Wrap this in parchment paper or plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Chill for a few hours.
  4. When dough is solid, cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degrees degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Let sit on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 40 cookies.


For more holiday baking inspiration visit here.



About The Author

Melissa Spencer

Melissa Spencer is a flower farmer, writer, and dirt-worshipper living in the Monadnock Region of Southern NH. Read More from Melissa Spencer

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