Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011: Pinwheel Cookies

My track record with cookie-making started and stopped, at least for a time, a few holiday seasons ago. The epic fail? A melted cookie cake that was originally meant to be a dozen chewy chocolate chip cookies. One of my friends tried to analyze where I’d gone wrong; the butter wasn’t room temperature and I didn’t refrigerate the dough. Cookie-making was a little intimidating, so I looked for a recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011 that would take me out of my cookie comfort zone a little — Pinwheel Cookies.

The ingredient list for Wilton’s Pinwheel Cookies wasn’t long, and the approximate five-dozen cookie yield was perfect, but the preparation was tricky. There were a few steps that I accidentally skipped, like mixing the chocolate into the vanilla dough before the first refrigeration and rolling the cookie dough logs in sugar before the second refrigeration, but the cookies were tasty despite these little misses.

A few big tips that I learned along the way are cut the sticks of butter into little squares and set them in a bowl. The butter squares will reach room temperature faster than large sticks of butter, and the squares will also give any mixer an easier time when combining with the sugar until light and fluffy. I also didn’t have the recommended unsweetened chocolate on-hand to be melted and cooled, but I did have Hershey’s Cocoa Natural Unsweetened powder. The instructions on the Hershey’s canister worked like a charm; I beat six tablespoons of cocoa together with two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a separate bowl until smooth. Then, I mixed the chocolate into the half of vanilla dough I wanted to turn into chocolaty goodness! Tempering chocolate is a delicate process in itself that I’ve done before over a pot of hot water with a metal bowl, so I was thankful the cocoa powder substitution simplified the recipe a bit.

My final big tip? Lots of non-stick spray! Any difference, like extra flour, would be trapped between the vanilla and chocolate layer of these pinwheel cookies, so I didn’t want to use flour to prevent the dough for sticking everywhere. I had dough sticking to my parchment paper, rolling pin — it was a mess! But one quick Google Search later, I sprayed everything evenly with Pam Canola Oil Spray and was able to roll out my dough in peace.

There were a few extra tools I also used for this cookie escapade; tape, a protractor, and a permanent marker. I used the protractor and marker to put little tick marks on the underside of my parchment paper to indicate how large an area I needed cover with dough. Then, I covered my biggest kitchen counter in the parchment paper and taped all the ends down. Non-stick spray-and-parchment-paper Slip ‘N Slide avoided!

Adam and my first cookie-swapping pal both loved these pinwheel cookies, so I’ll definitely make more for the holiday season. The finished cookies look pretty striking with their light and dark swirls, and the colored sugar combinations are endless. My novice’s cookie confidence is higher than ever! I definitely recommend this pinwheel cookie recipe to anyone who doesn’t mind taking breaks while dough refrigerates, and someone who loves covering their baked goodies colorful sugar. If inspiration has hit, sign up for next year’s Great Food Blogger Cook Swap!

Update 12/15/2011: Visit The Little Kitchen to see a list of recipes with photos used for this year’s cookie swap!

*The Pinwheel Cookies recipe I used was adapted from Wilton’s Pinwheel Cookies. Visit their site for the original recipe and more information.

15 Comment

  1. These cookies were delicious! I can’t wait to bake a batch at home!
    Coleen recently posted: Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Gingerbread BiscottiMy Profile

    1. Thank you! I’m so bad at following recipes to the letter because I get carried way with the yummy smells and ingredients. Rolling the cookie dough logs in colorful sugar was the most fun. Before I knew it, wa-POW! Red, green, and yellow sugar everywhere. Best wishes on your cookie adventures happy holidays! 😀

  2. Oh so fun! Love seeing the recipe and the photos of cookie making process 🙂

    The cookies were delicious and I will also have to make a batch at home… the husband somehow ate most of the cookies you sent! I want/need some more! 🙂
    Melissa | Dash of East recently posted: Chai Shortbread | The Great Food Blogger Cookie SwapMy Profile

    1. LOL I’m glad you both liked the pinwheel cookies! The vanilla-chocolate cookie dough logs look like they don’t make that many cookies, but once all the pinwheels are sliced out, you’ll have cookies for days. 😀
      Marilyn recently posted: Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011: Pinwheel CookiesMy Profile

  3. These pinwheel cookies are gorgeous! I did the swap too, and even though I’m not really into making cookies (besides the super classic chocolate chip cookie), I really loved mailing cookies and receiving them!
    kyleen recently posted: Black Sesame Shortbread CookiesMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! This was my first crack and shipping cookies. Both the cookie-making and cookie-wrapping were a blast.

      I still haven’t mastered classic chocolate chip cookies. I can try again a little more carefully to avoid an accidental cookie cake, and throw in some infused butter for kicks!

      Do you have a few chocolate chip cookie tips for newbies? 🙂
      Marilyn recently posted: Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011: Pinwheel CookiesMy Profile

  4. These look lovely, and I adore the accents in sugar on the sides! Whatever your issues have been w/ cookie baking, you’ve more than overcome them! :o))
    Sofie Dittmann/The German Foodie recently posted: Pane Siciliano (Sicilian Bread)My Profile

    1. Thank you! This recipe put me on the straight and narrow in terms of following directions. I tend to throw in a little extra this or another pinch of that and forget things may fall or turn gooey! LOL

  5. Your cookies look so good!! So glad you joined in! I love the new look of your site!
    JulieD recently posted: The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Recipe Roundup Part 2My Profile

    1. Thank you, Julie! I learned so much and had fun making these pinwheels. Thanks to you and Love & Olive Oil for this awesome online event. All the participating food bloggers out there are talented cookie people, for sure. 😀

  6. Gorgeous pinwheels cookies. Very festive!

    1. Thank you very much, Nisrine! Sticky dough is still a thing I have yet to master, but I’m glad the pinwheels turned out so well. I’m definitely going to use more colored sugar in all my baking — easy way to make things more festive. Although, my next baking learning experience will be royal icing. I have a feeling that colored sugar will go well with some royal icing too. 😀

  7. Yumminess!
    Ashley K. Edwards recently posted: Season’s 52 Park Avenue 5.2kMy Profile

  8. These cookies are so perfect – look simply gorgeous 🙂
    I bet tasted even better!!! You have a great blog!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: 3 Layer Brownie Cheesecake
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted: My Latest 3-Layer DistractionMy Profile

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