Gluten-Free Pistachio Fig Pinwheel Cookies

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Have I got a good recipe for you today! Remember the Peach Curd Bars I made in the fall? Pamela’s Products asked if I would like to develop another recipe especially for the holidays using their Gluten-Free Sugar Cookie Mix. I’ve been wanting to try making pinwheel cookies for ages. Confession: I kind of hate rolling out cookie dough. It’s time consuming and messy. (We won’t talk about the perfectionist in me that rears her ugly head when I get the kids involved. Ahem.) So I thought I would experiment with the Pamela’s sugar cookie mix using some of our favorite holiday flavors.

gluten free pistachio fig pinwheel cookies

The mix lists cassava flour as one of the ingredients. Cassava is also known as tapioca. The cassava flour is different than tapioca starch, which is another ingredient in the mix too. This is fascinating to me because we use cassava flour a lot in other capacities in our Brasilian cooking. I think it’s the cassava that sets this mix apart from other recipes I’ve made and GF sugar cookies I’ve sampled that were made from mixes. The baked cookies have the characteristic sweet flavor, but the texture is phenomenal. I don’t like soft sugar cookies, sadly. They are too doughy for me. I prefer cookies more like sables – a sandy, crisp texture that melts in your mouth. These cookies definitely have that texture going on. And the promise of no cracking held up. This sugar cookie dough is a dream to work with. I didn’t believe the claim that it didn’t crack. I really didn’t. Gluten-free cookie dough is finicky on a good day. This dough rolls out perfectly. No cracks – love it!

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We normally use a lot of cardamom at our house already, but during the holidays I use it even more. We also use a lot of dried fruit and nuts. I wanted to try chopping up Turkish figs and pistachios as a filling rather than just mixing it into the dough. I had a few failed attempts, I’m not going to lie. It took a little bit of patience and trial-and-error to get the amounts just right. Too much fruit and nuts meant the dough didn’t stick together as I rolled it. Too little made the cookies look pretty skimpy. I settled for a lesser amount that I would have liked, but I found that pressing the figs and pistachios into the dough worked really well. I still had a bit of spiraling, which I wanted, and the filling stayed put instead of falling all over the place.

If you want to fill your house with delicious smells, these cookies are the way to go! These are in the running for favorite Christmas cookie this year. (Though we like the GF No-Bake Cookies a lot too. And I have a few more on my list to try over the next few weeks.)

Gluten-Free Pistachio Fig Pinwheel Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Crisp, buttery cardamom and orange sugar cookies with a swirl of chopped pistachios and dried figs.
Recipe type: Dessert, Cookie
Serves: 30
  • One bag Pamela's Sugar Cookie Mix
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 Turkish figs, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, or zest of 1 fresh orange
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Following package directions, beat butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Add the dry sugar cookie mix, cardamom, and dried or fresh orange peel to the bowl. Mix on low speed until crumbly. Add egg and beat on low speed until dough comes together. This will take a few minutes, but be patient, it will come together nicely. Remove dough from beaters. Scrape down sides of bowl with a large spatula and push the dough together into a ball.
  3. Lay a large rectangle piece of parchment paper out onto a clean, flat surface. Transfer the dough to the parchment paper. Using your hands, form the dough into a thick rectangle. Tear off another sheet of parchment paper and place on top of the dough. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle that is about 10- by 15- inches and ¼-inch thick. Trim the sides and patch as needed to make the dough as rectangular as possible.
  4. Sprinkle the chopped figs and pistachios evenly over the dough, leaving a bit of a margin around the edges. Gently press the figs and nuts into the dough.
  5. Gently fold one of the long edges (about 1-inch) over onto itself. Use the parchment to lift the rest of the dough and roll it over. Be sure to roll as tightly as you can. When you reach the end, gently press the dough onto itself to seal it.
  6. The dough can be chilled or cut into cookies right away.
  7. Use a very sharp knife to cut 30, ½-inch thick rounds. Place on the parchment lined baking sheets. Gently use the palm of your hand to press the cookies down, especially if any of them have gaps or holes.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and firm. Let cool on baking sheets. Transfer to an airtight container. Will keep for about 1 week at room temperature. For longer storage, freeze in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.
-Other nuts and dried fruit can be substituted, as well as different spices. Mix and match for a unique flavor.
-If the dough feels too soft to cut right away, place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.
-To make these dairy-free, use non-dairy butter or pure vegetable shortening.



gluten free pistachio fig pinwheel cookies
Step 1: Gather ingredients. You’ll need one bag of Pamela’s Sugar Cookie Mix, 8 Tablespoons butter (at room temperature), 1 large egg, cardamom, dried (or fresh) orange peel, pistachios, and dried figs.

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Step 2: Beat butter until creamy. Add the entire bag of sugar cookie mix along with cardamom and orange peel.

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Step 3: Mix on lowest speed until crumbly.

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Step 4: Add egg. Mix again on lowest speed.

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The mixture will still be crumbly at first, but eventually come together into a nice, soft dough.

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Step 5: Press dough together into a ball and transfer to a sheet of parchment paper.

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Step 6: Place another piece of parchment on top and roll out into a rectangle that is about 10-by 15-inches and 1/4-inch thick.

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You may need to trim the edges a bit and press them together to make an even rectangle. (Don’t stress if it’s not perfect!)

gluten free pistachio fig pinwheel cookies-7Step 7: Finely chop the pistachios and figs.

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Step 8: Sprinkle the pistachios and figs over the dough and gently press into the dough. This will help the roll stay together and keep the filling in place. Leave a bit of a border on each long side.

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Step 9: Roll up the dough. Start on one of the long sides and roll about 1/2-inch of the dough over onto itself. Then use the parchment as a help to tightly roll the dough. When you get to the end, press the dough onto itself to seal it.

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Step 10: Dough can be chilled at this point, or cut immediately into rounds and  baked. Use a very sharp knife and cut the dough into 30, 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

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Gently press down on the cookies if there are any gaps or holes.

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Step 11: Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Let cool completely on baking sheets.

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They are best after the first 2-3 days after baking,  but will last longer. Keep in an airtight container. Can also be frozen with layers of waxed paper in between.

gluten free pistachio fig pinwheel cookies-20Disclosure: This recipe has been sponsored by Pamela’s Products. I received compensation for developing this recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands I love.

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