For many years, Christmas Day was spent at my aunt and uncle’s house, replete with turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, and loads of Christmas goodies. (For the record, there were other foods served, but I tend to remember the important ones.) Many of the cookies and confections were also served in my own house, with the exception of one cookie: the pinwheel.
I’m not sure if it’s because pinwheels only came at Christmas, or if it’s because I only had them at my aunt’s, but they’ve long been a favorite of mine. I’ve tried different recipes, finally coming up with a version I liked one year, only to find it disappointing upon making it again. So when I got Martha Stewart’s holiday cookie magazine and saw a recipe for pinwheels, I suspected I wouldn’t be able to resist.
I was right.
I only made half a batch, because I wasn’t sure if I would be happy with the results, and we really don’t need a ton more cookies. And well, because I have trouble controlling myself around these! The fewer there are, the fewer I can “sample” before packing them up for our Christmas gathering.
It must be said: this is my new recipe for pinwheels. I will happily make them in the future, because I was quite happy with the outcome. Like always, either the chocolate or vanilla dough is a bit of a pain. In the past, I had issues with the chocolate dough being stiff; this time, the vanilla dough was a bit more temperamental. But you know what? Even if it breaks while transferring it to the other layer, it patches up extremely well and seamlessly – no one will ever know you had issues.
adapted from Martha Stewart
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fine baking sugar
1 extra large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1 egg white
Beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about four minutes. Add egg and salt, beat until thoroughly combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and milk, beat to combine. On low speed, add flour a little at a time, mixing to thoroughly combine.
Divide the dough in half. Add cocoa powder to one half, mix well to combine.
Wrap each portion separately in plastic wrap. As you wrap the dough, spread it into a rectangular shape. Refrigerate for 1 hour (up to 1 day).
On floured parchment, roll each piece of dough to roughly the same size. Spread egg white over the top of your bottom layer and place the other layer on top (wrapping it around a rolling pin helps aid the transfer). Trim so the sides are even and brush this layer with egg white. Using the parchment to aid you, roll the dough up on the short side. Gently press the edges to seal.
Roll the log in parchment and twist the ends closed. To help keep the log round, place it inside a cardboard paper towel tube that has been sliced lengthwise. Refrigerate 1 1/2 hours (up to 1 day).
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from fridge and rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Tie 12 inches of dental floss around the log to mark off 1/4 inch of dough. Pull the floss in opposite directions to slice through the dough; repeat with remaining dough. Place spirals on baking sheets and bake 6 minutes. Turn pan and bake another 6 minutes, until the cookies are firm.