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Cinnamon-Swirl Cookies

Inspired by classic cinnamon rolls, these dainty spirals swap sticky yeast bread for more manageable trappings but retain the intoxicating, iconic stripes of sugar and spice.

Cinnamon-Swirl Cookies

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2009


For the Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs

For the Filling

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Make the dough: Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Beat butter, sugar, and orange zest with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture gradually, and beat until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

  2. Turn half the dough onto floured parchment. Roll into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle, then trim edges straight. Repeat with remaining half of dough. Transfer rectangles on parchment to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm but pliable, about 10 minutes.

  3. Make the filling: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Crumble mixture evenly over rectangles. Starting on a long side, roll 1 rectangle into a log, and wrap it in the parchment. Repeat with remaining rectangle. Refrigerate logs for 1 hour (or overnight).

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each log crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake until edges are golden brown, about 19 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.

Reviews (21)

  • ljwaldron 23 Aug, 2011

    They are delicious, but too putsy; in my opinion. I don't have a very large frig, so refrigerating the cookie sheet was tricky, therefore, this is my one and only time. They are very crunchy, so they are perfect with cold milk!

  • Bookstacker 5 Jun, 2011

    My cookies did not fall apart. I'm wondering if you refrigerated them long enough?
    The cookies were good, but the next time I make them, I am going to double the filling recipe. My cookies did not have as much filling as in the photo.

  • sarabranscum 11 Dec, 2010

    According to the original recipe it makes 5 1/2 dozen. Without nuts it will not be the same cookie. I made them and they were delicious but a disaster. The dough is too soft and they fell apart. I may try them again with one or two egg yolks, not whole eggs and that should fix it. Cooking time was 14 minutes. I believe that MS should correct the recipe.

  • fuzzypeaches106 10 Dec, 2010

    does anyone know?

  • fuzzypeaches106 10 Dec, 2010

    i wonder if i dont need to put in the orange zest cuz i dont really like that

  • JMalin 24 Mar, 2009

    I wish I had read these comments before I made the recipe from the mag. Also, agreed- cooking time for me was good at 12-13 min. I would add more flour next time. I had a hard time making the roll tight as it kept sticking to the parchment. Did anyone try rolling it out on a plastic pie mat?

  • tourtes 14 Mar, 2009

    I just made these cookies today. Chilling for 1 hour was way to long for me, Dough would not roll well so I had to kneed the dough a bit more before rolling to get warmer....then it rolled well. Chilling the rectangle once more for 10 minutes was not good....dough kept breaking as I rolled it up. Next time will do differently. The baking time was way too long......14 minutes is adequate. At 19 min. they are too crispy.....will also cut the pieces to a bit thicker. Tasty!

  • mykele 21 Feb, 2009

    CFmom Bethy, I live in Fort Collins so you are higher than I am but we
    priobably need to make similar adjustments. I went to Colorado
    Woman's College quite a few years ago and learned about recipe
    adjustments then in a Home Ec class. After many years in other
    places, we retired and moved here. Thus old lessons were a big help.
    Additional flour always helps. I also add a package of vanilla or
    french vanilla instant pudding mix to many cookie recipes to add more
    body ....really helps.

  • alysonwonderlan 21 Feb, 2009

    Just made these delicious cookies. Munching on one as we speak. I made them without walnuts, mainly because I didn't have any and I didn't really feel like running to the store. They went a little "oblong", but were otherwise fine. Also, I agree 19 minutes is WAY too long. I cooked my for 12 and found that to be sufficient.

  • CFmomBethy 20 Feb, 2009

    mykele, yes, I did chill dough as directed, but not overnight. Maybe 2 hours wasn't long enough after reading another comment. I normally do make high altitude adjustments (Colo Spgs)for other baking and haven't had trouble before. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • mykele 20 Feb, 2009

    kitkat 0708, You won't be seeing any of taz'zs comments because the
    webmaster blocked her comments due to reports by users in the
    inappropriate section. She kept "advertising" for aanother site
    that is not a great competitor of Martha 's was rude and annoying to many.

  • cathyc 20 Feb, 2009

    Could these be made without any nuts in the filling? Or would they "collapse" without the structure of the nuts? Thank you!

  • kitkat0708 20 Feb, 2009

    I keep seeing people reporting MUMTAZ. I must be the lucky one I don't get any of her comments. Does any one know what i could substutute eggs with i'm alleric to them.

  • flits21 19 Feb, 2009

    After experimenting I fugred out that the cook time as written is way too long. 14 minutes is more like it...otherwise they are too burnt and crisp. Also, they came out better after being refigerated for about four hours, not one. When I cut them closer to 1/2 inch than 1/4 they came out better. Also, it's important to roll dough out evenly and roll tightly.

  • mykele 19 Feb, 2009

    CFmomBethy, Did you chill the dough as directed? Also you mentioned high
    altitude changes....I live in Colorado at about 5,ooo feet and always add
    at least a tablespoon of flour to many recipes. I got a great guide to
    high altitude baking/cooking from General Mills in Minneapolis about
    14 years ago when we moved here from a sealevel place. They
    are a good resource for you to try.

  • CFmomBethy 19 Feb, 2009

    The taste is good but I prefer a much softer cookie. I baked these cookies for 14-15 minutes and they flattened more than expected and crisped to the point of being almost too hard to eat. I'm not sure if any high altitude adjustment was necessary-I just followed the recipe. My husband will eat my "mistakes" with no trouble with his coffee. Will not make these again unless I use a different cookie recipe.

  • mykele 18 Feb, 2009

    iionaP in case you missed any of yesterday's tip sites from Martha,
    SHE was not in sight at all and I actually saw one of her comments
    disappear two days ago while I was reading a comment
    below hers.....I think that someone monitoring the site did
    see all of our reports......................

  • MsLisaC 18 Feb, 2009

    This sounds like a great recipe, but I think I'm going to use hazelnuts instead of walnuts and add a sprinkle of white sugar and nutmeg. Yum!

  • nanacakes 18 Feb, 2009

    I'm not great at math but if each rolled log is 12" and you divide that into 1/4" slices, you would get 48 cookies per roll.

  • lindawashington 18 Feb, 2009

    This looks like a wonderful recipe that I plan to try - however, it doesn't give the number of cookies a batch provides.

  • IlonaP 18 Feb, 2009

    We should all stop interacting with MUMTAZ. She's just a spammer, and why this site hasn't banned her IP address is beyond me. I suggest that every time we see one of her comments -- and lord only knows there's MILLIONS of them -- we click the "report as inappropriate" link.

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