Sunday, November 13, 2011

CRANBERRY-WALNUT PINWHEELS

1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup walnuts, finely ground
2 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the filling:
Combine the cranberries, half cup of sugar, and the cornstarch together in a small saucepan.  Add the water; bring mixture to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Gently boil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove the mixture from the stove.  While hot, press the mixture through a sieve and discard the solid matter.  Cover the surface of the mixture and allow to cool without stirring or bothering.

In a food processor (or blender) after grinding the walnuts, add the 2 tablespoons of softened butter and process until the mixture is smooth and of spreading consistency, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.

To make the dough:
In large mixer bowl beat 3/4 cup of the walnut mixture at medium speed of electric mixer for about 30 seconds until softened.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour to the nut mixture and mix just until combined.  Add the 1 cup of sugar, the egg, milk, baking soda, and vanilla extract.  Beat until the mixture is thoroughly combined, scraping down bowl as needed.  Beat or stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Cover dough and chill for approximately an hour until easy to handle.

Divide the dough in half.  Place in half between two sheets of waxed paper and using a rolling pin, roll each half into a rectangle about 16 x 12 inches.  Spread half the filling mixture over each rectangle.  Starting at a short side, roll rectangles up jelly-roll style.  Remove the waxed paper as you roll.  Moisten the edges and pinch together to seal filling inside.  Wrap each roll securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours but up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the rolls into slices 1/4-inch thick.  Place cookies on lightly greased cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or till the edges are firm and the bottoms are just lightly browned.  Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 96 (8 dozen) cookies

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