Recipe 52: Coconut Cream-Cheese Pinwheels

We’re having a series of Iron Chef-themed potlucks at work and the secret ingredient this time was cream cheese. I wanted to win, so I needed something fancy and good.


These looked perfect! Well, they were some of the most complicated cookies I’ve made so far. 

I thought I’d be able to make these the night before, but I was mistaken. I split this up into 2 rounds.

Step 1: Gather ingredients for dough: Flour, vanilla, baking powder, sugar, egg, cream cheese, butter.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder.

Just when I was getting comfortable with step 2, you throw a curve ball at me! Sugar doesn’t usually go in during this step!

Step 3: Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. 

That looks pretty fluffy.

Step 4: Add egg and vanilla. 

Step 5: Add flour mixture. 

Step 6: Divide in half and form disks. Wrap and refrigerate. Drive around town to look for a cookie cutter.

The recipe wanted a 2 1/2-inch fluted square cookie cutter. I couldn’t find one, so I had to improvise with a pastry wheel (I needed that later anyway).

Step 7: Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares, chill for 15 minutes. 

They definitely were not even squares. These aren’t going to help me win Iron Chef!

Step 8: Make the filling: Shredded coconut, white chocolate chips, sugar, cream cheese. 


Step 9: Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each square. 

I did not think these squares were large enough to hold 1 teaspoon. I used 1/2.

Step 10: With a fluted pastry wheel, cut slits diagonally from each corner toward the filling. 

This was stressing me out.

Step 11: Fold every other tip over to cover filling, forming pinwheel. 

This was a very, very slow process. I didn’t want to rip them!

Step 12: Using a pastry brush, lightly brush tops with a beaten egg. Then sprinkle with sanding sugar.  

OMG, this silicone brush is TERRIBLE for this. I globbed egg everywhere. I switched to a paintbrush.


Much better.

Step 13: Bake for 6 minutes, then remove from oven. Press with a wooden spoon to make the well deeper. 

This was also slow. Didn’t want to squish them! I also don’t have a normal wooden spoon, this one is kind of squared off.

Step 14: Fill well with strawberry jam, then return to oven. 

That was a lot of steps! Now you know why I split it into 2 rounds!


The Silpat looks messy, but those cookies turned out pretty good looking.

Link to original recipe (not found on Martha’s site)

Yields: 30
I got: 36

Round 1: PM
Start time: 7:30
End time: 11:25 (3 hours, 55 mins)

Round 2: AM
Start time: 8:00
End time: 9:30 (1 hour, 30 mins)

Total time: 5 hours, 25 mins
Martha’s estimated time: 3 hours (hmph.)

What did I learn? 

  • Improvising for the cutter (which I found today at Michael’s, BTW) worked okay.
  • Patience is required for these! I had it!

What do I need to learn? 

  • Would these have been fine with a full teaspoon of filling? I used less than half of it.

I got this cute Valentine’s Day plate from Target while shopping for that damn cookie cutter. I left with no cookie cutter and spent $43. You win, Target, as usual.


I bet you’re wondering if I won Iron Chef. I can’t tell you, because the judges have not voted! Get on it people!

Miss my most recent post: Lemon Clove Cookies? Check it out!

5 responses to “Recipe 52: Coconut Cream-Cheese Pinwheels

  1. These were pretty and really tasty, but I think if you were trying to highlight cream cheese, they don’t really do that. The coconut was overpowering. What’s with Martha and coconut cooks anyway? But I’d still eat a dozen.

  2. you better win! they look and sound fantastic!

  3. Anni

    I hope your cookies win! They were the only item I tried from the potluck. I love coconut, cream cheese, and jam…so these were pretty much meant to be amazing. And they were!

  4. Leann Faulk

    Butter cookies with jam?!?! My fave!!! These look beautiful, Nate! 🌸

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