These easy caramel apple pinwheels include a cinnamon sugar-spiced apple and pecan filling wrapped in flaky puff pastry with decadent caramel icing on top.
Today I’m really excited to share with you my very first experience using puff pastry. I’ve always been intrigued by the thought of using it, but never really got around to trying it until now. So I thought I’d use my very first experience as a tutorial so you could all cook along with me.
For starters, I chose a recipe on Pepperidge Farm’s Puff Pastry website. This is a very slightly tweaked version of their apple pecan pastries recipe.
Let me tell you, I was really surprised at how easy it was to make this delicious coffee treat using puff pastry. I had always thought it would be fragile to work with, but found it to be sturdy and hold up much better than any other traditional dough. I made these in a fraction of the time it takes to make homemade muffins too.
So, what do you need to make my apple pinwheels? Puff pastry and apples (of course), plus brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, margarine, and ground cinnamon. Doesn’t that just sound like the perfect combination? Sweet, spice, and everything nice! The instructions are as simple as mixing together the filling, rolling out the puff pastry, and then placing that filling on the pastry dough.
Roll it up, cut your pinwheels, and then bake them for about 15 minutes. Then I added a decadent caramel icing on top but this is totally optional. I’m just a sucker for caramel apple anything! I found that these apple pinwheels were just the right amount of sweet (but not too sweet) and the puff pastry is wonderfully flaky and light after it’s been baked. Ready to give them a go?
- Puff pastry
- Light or dark brown sugar
- Chopped pecans
- Ground cinnamon
- Granny Smith apples
Helpful Kitchen Tools
How to Make Caramel Apple Pinwheels
Combine your brown sugar and flour in a mixing bowl.
The recipe called for “brown sugar” so that leaves it up to you whether you use light or dark.
Course y’all know I’m gonna use dark so it will be all the richer in flavor.
Once you have that stirred up, add in your ground cinnamon.
Then cut in your margarine like so.
It’ll look like this when you’re done.
Peel and chop your apples and add them in along with your chopped pecans.
It’ll look like this.
If you don’t get out an apple bit to sample I just might disown ya!
Unfold your puff pastry sheet onto a floured surface.
I always use a piece of waxed paper as my floured surface because I can just fold it up and toss it for quick cleanup.
Roll out your pastry sheet to approximately 15×10 inches.
I added in the “approximately” part because I’m too lazy to get a ruler here and don’t think you should have to, either.
This is good enough. Puff pastry likes us and doesn’t want us to get into any trouble on its account.
The recipe said to brush water onto your pastry sheet.
But if you just wet your clean hand and give it a good rub down that works too.
Time to combine the filling and puff pastry!
Pile all of that yummy filling on top of the puff pastry sheet
But don’t go all the way to the edges so we can use that to seal it closed.
Roll it up like a cinnamon roll.
Now, this is where I thought I’d have trouble. I figured all of those diced apples would poke a hole in this for sure but I was amazed at how sturdy this was! I had imagined it to be something like crescent roll dough (the kind you use in a can) but this is a lot sturdier than that.
Who knew puff pastry would be such a workhorse?
Here it is all rolled up!
The original recipe said to cut it into 12 pieces. But since we weren’t too particular about the measuring thing I figured I’d eyeball this too.
I cut my roll about every inch.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
I lined mine with aluminum foil because I thought that once all of those pinwheels started baking the brown sugar would melt and ooze and it would make a huge mess. I was wrong again.
The brown sugar and flour created the perfect ratio and as they cooked, nothing oozed and there was no sticky mess at all. Honestly, these little suckers are wonders from start to finish.
Place them all on the prepared cookie sheet about two inches apart.
Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Remove the apple pinwheels to a wire rack to cool.
Even as soon as they came out of the oven they were pretty sturdy and easy to move. I had thought they would fall apart but again, puff pastry proved me wrong.
Add the caramel icing
Now the original recipe said to sprinkle confectioner’s sugar over the tops once they are done.
But I had just bought some caramels so I had an idea!
I unwrapped about one caramel for each pinwheel and melted them in the microwave.
To do this I heated them for thirty seconds at a time and stirred them until they were melted completely.
Then I drizzled them over the pinwheels with a spoon…
And I heard my pinwheels sigh in contentment as I did so.
This was just what they wanted.
I served these little beauties with coffee and we enjoyed them immensely.
They were delicious, impressive, unique, and half the work of homemade muffins.
Puff pastry leftovers do get soggy. So I recommend storing leftover pinwheels in an airtight container in the fridge for only a day or two. Reheat them either in the oven or air fryer to get crispy once more. Just beware of the caramel icing, as it might get a little melty!
- Puff pastry is purchased frozen. Take out one sheet and set it on the counter at room temperature to thaw for 40 minutes before starting this. I put the other sheet in a zipper bag and stuck it back in my freezer for my next puff pastry play date.
- Here are some recipe variations:
- The original recipe uses Granny Smith apples, but any kind of crisp apples will do.
- Switch the pecans for chopped walnuts.
- Switch the ground cinnamon for apple pie spice.
- Swap the brown sugar for sugar.
- Swap the caramel for vanilla glaze or cream cheese icing, or just add a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of toffee bits.
Do you freeze pinwheels before or after cooking?
You can freeze pinwheels either before or after cooking. I recommend double-wrapping them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. They’ll last in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight or at room temperature before either baking as directed or reheating in the oven or air fryer.
How do you keep pinwheels from getting soggy?
Leftover pinwheels and puff pastry naturally get soggy after a while. So you want to eat them quickly!
How many days ahead can you make pinwheels?
You can make the pinwheels up until baking them and store the unbaked rolls in an airtight container in the fridge up to 24 hours ahead of time. I would recommend adding a drop of lemon juice to the filling though to help prevent the apples from browning.
How do you serve apple pinwheels?
These apple pinwheels are a delicious treat to enjoy with tea or coffee. But they also taste great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert.
Check out these other caramel apple treats:
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 packed cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups peeled and diced apples
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 12 unwrapped caramels
- Place the puff pastry sheet on a platter and allow it to sit at room temperature for 40 minutes before beginning.1 sheet puff pastry
- In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in margarine. Peel and dice apples. Add chopped apples and pecans to the dry ingredients.1 packed cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 cups peeled and diced apples, 1 cup chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- On a floured surface, unfold the pastry sheet. Roll out until it is approximately 15x10. Brush water over the top of the pastry sheet.1 sheet puff pastry
- Place the filling mixture into the center of the pastry sheet and spread it until it is an inch from the sides. Roll it up jelly-roll style.
- Cut it into one-inch slices. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the cut slices on it about two inches apart.
- Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remove them from the baking sheet and allow them to cool on wire racks.
- Melt the caramels in the microwave. Drizzle the melted caramel over each pinwheel. Enjoy and impress!12 unwrapped caramels
I’ve enjoyed bringing you my very first experience with puff pastry in this post, sponsored by Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.
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