I've always found recipes to be quite stingy with fillings and toppings too. They never seem to provide enough. I wish I had noted this last year (maybe I did; I forgot to review) but I will definitely be doubling the filling portion of this recipe next time I bake them. They still turned out nice but I am greedy for that cinnamon-pecan-brown sugar filling!
Get started early with these (or the night before) because the dough has to go in the fridge (or freezer) a few times.
The dough for Cinnamon Swirls is sticky, so be sure you have your plastic wrap ready on the countertop. Go ahead and shape it into a rectangle, since that's the ultimate shape you're going for when you roll the dough. First, it needs to go in the fridge for at least an hour.
When you bring it out, place it on a floured piece of parchment or plastic wrap, so it can be transferred to a baking tray and returned to the fridge to firm up again. After you get both rectangles in the fridge, you can concentrate on the filling.
Not only do I prefer pecans to walnuts (in baked goods), I decided to toast them too. I toast them first, then chop them. I make the filling in a large liquid measuring cup, so I can divide it equally between the two rectangles. The filling is spread onto each chilled rectangle, then rolled from the long side, to create a spiral. I found it infinitely easier to use plastic wrap than parchment paper (which Martha advises); it made rolling the dough a snap.
I always keep paper towel tubes on hand with my cookie supplies. I cut a slit lengthwise, then place the cookie dough log inside and stash in the fridge or freezer. The tube helps the roll hold its shape (so you don't wind up with one flat side). You must work quickly, though, slicing the cookies into 1/4-inch-thick coins, and returning the logs to the fridge whenever you aren't slicing. I also store sliced cookies that have been trayed in the refrigerator as they're queuing to go into the oven.
Cinnamon Swirls are definitely worth a try though! They're so great because you can make the dough (and filling) ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze until you have a bit of time to bake. They are delicate, fragrant and delicious every time. I love the chewiness the filling provides between each tender cookie swirl.