Cinnamon Bun Pinwheels

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Hands-on time:
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Yield: 4 dozen

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This cookie is sure to remind you of your favorite morning treat. The balance of sweet, spice, and everything nice in this recipe makes for a fanciful addition to any holiday cookie swap. For a true "cinnamon bun" experience add a drizzle of royal icing to the top of the cookie.

Cinnamon Bun Pinwheels

star rating (16) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 4 dozen
Published: 09/29/2011


Vanilla Dough

Cinnamon Dough


1) To make the vanilla dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla.

2) Add the flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use — at least 1 hour.

3) To make the cinnamon dough: In a saucepan combine the sugar, honey, salt, cinnamon oil, vanilla, butter, and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

4) Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly.

5) Transfer the cinnamon mixture and the toasted pecans to a food processor, and process until smooth.

6) In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the pecan mixture and flour to make a cohesive dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use — at least 1 hour.

7) To shape the cookies: Place parchment or waxed paper on your work surface and dust it lightly with flour. Lay the vanilla dough on the parchment and roll it into an 18" x 12" rectangle. Set it aside.

8) Using more parchment paper or waxed paper, roll the cinnamon dough slightly smaller than the first, into a 17 ½" x 11 ½" rectangle.

9) Place the smaller piece of dough on top of the larger piece of dough, using the parchment to transport.

10) Starting with a long edge, use the parchment to help you gently roll the stacked dough into a tight log, with no gaps. Press the edge to seal, then wrap the log in plastic wrap or parchment, and freeze for 1 hour.

11) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

12) Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap it, and place it on a clean work surface. Let it thaw for 15 minutes, or until it's soft enough to cut.

13) Use a sharp knife to gently cut the log into ¼" slices. If the dough becomes too soft to handle, place it back in the freezer briefly. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.

14) Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they feel firm. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

15) When cool, store airtight, at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies.


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  • star rating 12/15/2013
  • Laura from Bolingbrook, IL
  • This dough was really hard to work with until we figured out a trick. Roll each dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper (one below & one on top). Roll the vanilla dough to the size of the 1/2 sheet parchment and roll the cinnamon dough to just slightly smaller all the way around. Once the dough is rolled out simply remove the top parchments, trim the edges & flip the cinnamon dough on top of the vanilla dough, remove the top parchment from the cinnamon dough & start rolling (leaving the parchment on the bottom of the vanilla dough). Use the parchment to help roll up the dough. This was our most requested Christmas cookie each time we've made it.
    Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks! Happy Baking - Irene@KAF
  • 12/12/2012
  • Heather from Massachusetts
  • Question?: My cinnamon dough came to a boil. Do I need to start over?
    This may be a great opportunity to call our baker's hotline (800-827-6836) to problem solve with a baker - we're here from 8 AM to 9 PM weekdays and from 9 AM to 9 PM weekends. We'll ask many questions and help you understand the "boil" and dough growth. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 12/10/2012
  • JustABaker from San Jose, CA
  • Don't make this recipe without the cinnamon oil it's really needed, otherwise the cookies are just meh. Too much trouble for so little wow factor. Just an okay cookie and in hindsight could do with a touch of icing to add some much needed sweetness to resemble a cinnamon bun.
  • star rating 12/05/2012
  • Chris from White River Junction, VT
  • After reading all of the comments I made this recipe exactly as explained (using the correct flour measurement). My Cinnamon dough ended up being very buttery (so much so that I thought I did something wrong), but after I refrigerated it, the dough seemed fine. The cinnamon dough was quite hard to roll out so thin - it kept on breaking even though it was still somewhat oily. All in all this was a good recipe with a great reaction from my coworkers, yet I'm not likely to return to this recipe.
  • star rating 09/04/2012
  • hmgunnarson from KAF Community
  • The dough is a little tricky to work with but man, oh man! These taste amazing!
    Working with a refrigerated cookie dough can be challenging at first - we're proud that you persevered and trust that next time the process will be easier for you. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 02/20/2012
  • Michele from Burlington, Ontario
  • I had a hard time with the method of this recipe, the dough was so rock hard I couldn't roll it out without breaking, I even reduced the flour by 2 tbsps in each part because of previous posters issues. I ended up kneading the dough to warm it up and flattened it with my hands on press and seal which I had cut to 12x18 inches, once it was warmed I started to roll it, not using any extra flour. Once I had both pieces rolled out and laid on top of each other I rolled them a few times again to make sure they stayed together, when I started rolling the long edge I pushed the seams together and used the press and seal to lift the dough then I squished the dough together, then continued until done. I put in the fridge overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing. I got 67 cookies, 10 minutes were perfect on Silpat lined sheets. I would double the vanilla in the vanilla dough next time as it was quite tasteless.
  • star rating 12/22/2011
  • bakingfiend127 from KAF Community
  • The taste is fantastic, but I too had a heck of a time getting these cookies to roll up properly once the doughs were together and I was making the final roll. The dough kept falling apart and cracking and the vanilla dough stuck to the wax paper. It got really frustrating I am also a pretty good baker, i ususally don't have problems like this - any ideas as to what went wrong. Is the amount of flour in the dough tthat critical? I read form a previousreview that it may be the way I measured the flour. I did dip into the flour and level off a measuring cup. Looking forward to hearing back.
    Yes, correct measurement method really is important. If you "dip" flour, you'll end up with 20% too much. Take a look here: Frank @ KAF.
  • 12/14/2011
  • dojaan22 from KAF Community
  • If I omit the pecans, should I add anything to replace them, such as more flour or keep the recipe the same? THANKS!
    If you omit the pecans, you should either replace them with another nut or omit them completely. ~Amy
  • star rating 12/09/2011
  • swilcox423 from KAF Community
  • I am rating these cookies a 4 because they are delicious - but I had a terrible time making them, and I am usually a proficient baker. I found that the line between the dough being warm enough to roll and too warm and too soft to handle was very thin. Once I assembled the two doughs and started rolling them up, the dough was tearing and falling apart! Should I have put the two sections back in the fridge for a while before assembling and rolling?
    Anytime a butter-based cookie dough is difficult to handle, placing it in the refrigerator helps to firm up the butter again, and make it much easier to work with. Give it a try next time! ~Mel
  • 12/09/2011
  • kaf-sub-jdey222 from KAF Community
  • Getting ready for holiday cookie trays & would like to prepare now & freeze for when I need them. Loved your recent email on 'Freeze Now, Bake Later'. Question? Can I shape the Cinnamon Bun Pinwheels dough & just freeze? Or do I have to cook them first and then freeze? Also, how long can they freeze for? Cooked and raw dough. Thanks so much for your on-gong help!!
    You can shape and freeze the pinwheels unbaked for up to three months. I don't recommend freezing these cookies baked. ~Amy
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