Pecan Pinwheels

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pecan pinwheels recipe

Uniting the rich flavor of smooth, buttery shortbread and nutty pecans in one mesmerizing swirl, these cakey Pecan Pinwheels are then coated in sugar and finely chopped pecans for irresistible crunch from Schermer Pecans. They’re delicately tender, and have an incredible toasted, nutty flavor swirled throughout thanks to the toasted, finely ground pecans incorporated into one of the swirls of dough. Plus, this slice-and-bake dough needs some time to chill before slicing, so it’s the ultimate make-ahead treat. These cookies are perfect as a festive fall dessert, or even included in your holiday cookie exchange lineup. Regardless of where or when you serve them, they’re sure to be a hit!

With pecan harvest season currently at its peak, you can be sure you’re purchasing the freshest, most premium quality pecans when you choose Schermer Pecans. Buying pecans at the peak of harvest promises the finest-tasting pecans. And there’s no need to rush to bake! Store your pecans in the freezer, and you can enjoy them throughout the year.

Founded in 1946, Schermer Pecans takes pride in its pecans every step of the way. From tree to table, Schermer oversees every step of the process. This ensures consistent quality and freshness throughout the entire pecan-growing and -selling life cycle. Today, Schermer Pecans is one of only a few family-run pecan companies that grows, shells, and distributes its own pecans. You can purchase Schermer Pecans online at its website in a variety of sizes, whether in bulk or by the case. The Baker’s Box offers the perfect supply of pecans for the artisan home baker, including 3 (12-ounce) bags of medium pecan pieces and 3 (12-ounce) bags of fancy pecan halves.

Pecan Pinwheels
Makes about 24 cookies
  • 1⅔ cups (208 grams) plus 1½ cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder, divided
  • ½ cup (57 grams) pecan pieces, toasted (see PRO TIPS)
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided
  • 2½ teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (57 grams) finely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) turbinado sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon (3 grams) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place pecan pieces and 2 tablespoons flour mixture; pulse until pecans are finely ground. (See PRO TIPS.) Add pecan mixture to remaining flour mixture, whisking to combine.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat ½ cup (113 grams) butter and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour-pecan mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Clean bowl of stand mixer and paddle attachment. Using the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar and remaining ½ cup (113 grams) butter at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) vanilla, beating until combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1⅔ cups (208 grams) flour, remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Let doughs stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll vanilla dough into a 14×10-inch rectangle (⅛ inch thick). Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat procedure with pecan dough.
  7. Transfer vanilla dough on parchment to a flat surface. Carefully invert pecan dough on top of vanilla dough. Between sheets of parchment, gently roll over doughs a few times to press together. Peel away top sheet of parchment. Starting at one long side, roll dough into a log, using bottom sheet of parchment to help lift and roll. (If dough cracks, stop rolling, and let stand for a few minutes until pliable.) Be sure to roll doughs together as tightly as possible to avoid gaps. Trim any pecan dough if uneven after rolling. Tightly wrap in parchment paper, twisting ends of parchment to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or freeze until ready to use.
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 egg (50 grams). In another small bowl, stir together chopped pecans and turbinado sugar. Pour onto a piece of parchment paper. Brush log with egg wash, and roll in pecan sugar. Roll back and forth a few times so sugar sticks to log. Using a sharp knife, cut log into ½-inch-thick slices. Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
  10. Bake until edges are just beginning to turn golden, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool completely on pans. Store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.
To toast pecans in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and spread your pecans in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. When the oven is ready, bake the nuts until lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Remember that nuts continue to cook even after they have been removed from the oven, so don’t hesitate to pull them from the oven once they begin to change color. Once the nuts are warm but not too hot to handle, chop as desired. Nuts are still slightly soft when they’re still warm, so this will make cleaner cuts than if you wait to chop them when the nuts are cool and brittle.

We like to add a little bit of flour to absorb the oils from the nuts and prevent a nut butter from forming in the food processor.


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  1. Great cookies for a neighborhood bake sale! It was a tad challenging for this newbie baker to rollout the dough to a good rectangle without it cracking. I think my fridge is too cold or dough needs to warm up more to roll. But these are forgiving. Cut the cookies from the log and rounded the sides, rolling again in the sugar/pecans. Will make again!


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