Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies
Chocolate pinwheel cookies are as soft and delicious as they are fun to make. Stand out in a boring sea of chocolate chip cookies with these stunning beauties!
My absolute most favorite cookies ever are my grandmother’s pinwheel cookies. They are the perfect combination of delicious, fun to make, and unique enough to stand out in a sea of chocolate chip cookies recipes.
And for me, they are full of wonderful nostalgic, childhood memories.
I grew up in central Pennsylvania, while my grandparents lived in north Jersey. With the several hour car ride, “going to Grandma’s house” was always an adventure.
We didn’t have the luxury of just meeting up for dinner during the week, like my husband’s experience with his local grandmother. Rather, our visits were limited to weeks in the summer and long weekends during the school year.
One thing was always consistent about these visits. We would park in the driveway, walk through the cellar (to this day, the musty basement smell immediately brings be back to my grandparents’ grey painted basement with the pool table), ascend the curving staircase, and emerge into their black-and-white kitchen with the strawberry border, where my grandmother would be standing with a tray of cookies. Every time.
Sometimes, the cookies would be thin, crispy shortbreads – a recipe I sadly did not inherit. But most of the time, it was a tray of these chocolate pinwheel cookies. Pinwheel cookies: the official cookie of my childhood.
How to Make Pinwheel Cookies
I think the process of rolling up the pinwheel cookies can be a little intimidating for some people. Fret not: it’s easy! And here’s some step-by-step photo instructions, because a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
- Roll out the chocolate and vanilla dough separately, into a rectangular-ish shape roughly the same size. Stack the dough on top of each other (it does not matter which flavor is on top).
- Use a knife to cut the dough into a rectangle, roughly 6 inches by 7 inches.
- Lift the long edge of the dough up from the counter using a bench scraper or spatula.
- Start to roll the dough away from you, carefully rolling both sides of the dough.
- Roll the whole way and press the edge down to seal.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator.
See? Easy peasy. After a little time in the refrigerator to firm up, transfer the logs to the freezer. You can keep them in the freezer for months (perfect for make ahead cookies!) or wait just a few hours until the logs are frozen.
You don’t have to do this freezer step, but the cookies will cut into much nice, rounder shapes if frozen solid first. Slicing from refrigeration flattens the cookies from a circle into an oval shape.
A little soft in the middle. A little crispy along the edges. Chocolate and vanilla, rolled into one. Pretty to look at, delicious to eat. A lifetime of memories rolled up into perfect pinwheel cookies.
Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies
Chocolate pinwheel cookies are as soft and delicious as they are fun to make.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in sugar and beat an additional 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half. Form half of the dough into a 4 by 4-inch square, wrap in plastic wrap, and set aside. Return the other half of the dough to the mixing bowl. Using a double boiler or a microwave on low power, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Form the chocolate dough into a 4 by 4-inch square, wrap in plastic wrap, and place both chocolate and vanilla doughs into the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days).
- Cut each dough into four even strips. Roll out one strip of vanilla dough between two sheets of parchment paper, into a roughly 6-by-7 inch rectangle. Repeat with a strip of the chocolate dough. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper from each dough and flip the vanilla dough over onto the chocolate dough. Trim excess dough into a rectangle and run a rolling pin lightly over the dough to ensure they stick together. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper, then roll the dough into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining strips of dough to form 4 logs.
- Refrigerate logs for 1 hour, then remove from refrigerator and roll each log on the counter several times to prevent the bottom from flattening. Transfer to the freezer for 2 hours, or up to 3 months. Keep dough frozen until ready to slice and bake.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and place 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until vanilla dough is slightly golden, 9 to 11 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
A Bunsen Burner Bakery family recipe.