Pinwheel cookies are such a colorful and tasty treat, no wonder they are loved by all. So who cares if they’re somewhat old fashioned? We can always call them “vintage cookies” and get away with it!
As I prefer them very crispy, I prepare the dough without any baking powder. For the same reason, I prefer not to cream the butter and sugar first, and knead the dough by hand, so the sugar crystals do not break too much and keep the cookies even crispier. However, if you feel that very crispy cookies are not for you, you can always cream the butter and sugar first and add ¾ tsp baking powder to the dough, along with the flour.
Another great thing about these cookies is that the dough freezes beautifully, and the cookies can be baked from frozen. As the baking time is very short, if you have a log in the freezer, you can bake them in no time. Freezing the logs is also a great way to control the consumed portions, as these cookies are very tasty, and tend to disappear quickly, no matter how many you make…
If you don’t want to create the pinwheel pattern, you can just roll the dough into logs and bake each flavor separately, or use only one flavor if you like one better. Another easy option is to just mix the two types of dough together, to create a “marble” effect, or create any other pattern to your liking.
So, with this many options, there’s no reason not to prepare these cookies as soon as possible. After all, they include only six ingredients that are available in any kitchen.
Makes: about 80 cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 12 minutes (from chilled), 14 minutes (from frozen)
7 oz (200 grams) butter, soft
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 XL egg
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs dark cocoa powder
1. Place all the ingredients, except the cocoa powder, in a large bowl. Mix and knead, and form a ball of dough.
2. Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into two parts, one slightly bigger than the other.
3. Place the smaller portion back in the bowl and add the cocoa powder. Knead well to incorporate the cocoa powder.
4. Cut both types of dough into two equal parts.
5. Dust a working space with flour and roll one vanilla dough portion into a rectangle, about 7” (18cm) X 12” (30cm). Roll the cocoa dough into a rectangle about 6.5” (16cm) X 11” (28cm).
6. Place the cocoa dough sheet on the vanilla dough sheet, and roll them, from the longer side, into one log. Gently, squeeze and pull the log between your palms, to tighten and lengthen it to about 15.5” (40cm) long. Cut in half and place on a tray lined with wax paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
7. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
8. Preheat the oven to 360F (180c). Line a cookie pan with baking paper.
9. Slice one log (preferably with a plastic bench scraper) into 1/3” (3/4cm) slices. You should get about 18-20 slices, discarding the end cuts.
10. Place on the cookie pan and bake for about 12 minutes. The cookies may seem pale on top, so it’s best to lift one gently with a spatula and check the bottom for doneness.
11. Let cool completely on a rack. The cookies will harden as they cool. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
Repeat with the rest of the logs, or freeze them for later use.
To freeze and bake from frozen: wrap each log with wax paper and place in a freezer bag. Try to get rid of as much air as possible. Keep in the freezer until ready to bake, and up to one month. When ready, preheat the oven as above, and place the frozen log on a cutting board. Slice carefully (this time with a sharp, heavy knife) and bake from frozen, for about 14-16 minutes. Again, check for doneness by lifting a cookie with a spatula. Chill on a rack as above.