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The Joy of Cookies

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A selection of readers’ favorite Christmas cookie recipes tested by the Times.

Cranberry Cherry Pinwheels

11/2 cups sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup cherry preserves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
11/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For filling, combine cranberries, cherry preserves and cinnamon with water in a medium saucepan. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 5-8 minutes, or until mixture softens and most liquid is absorbed. If it seems too dry, stir in 1 tablespoon water. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until cool. (Filling may be stored up to 48 hours. Warm slightly and stir well before using.)
For dough, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs, orange zest and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into egg mixture and blend well. Chill 1 hour.
To assemble rolls, halve dough and roll out each half between sheets of waxed paper into a roughly 8- by 12-inch rectangle. Remove top sheets of waxed paper (if they stick too much, chill dough briefly to firm them) and divide filling between rectangles, spreading it in an even layer. Tightly roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, beginning with a long side and using the waxed paper as an aid, to form a 12-inch log. Wrap rolls in waxed paper and then foil. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one roll at a time (keeping the other roll chilled), remove wrapping and cut rolls crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange slices 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in batches in the middle of the oven until pale golden and set, 8-12 minutes. Transfer warm cookies to racks to cool.
Makes about 51/2 dozen.
Source: Kathryn Wilson, St. Petersburg

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