Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

There are many sugar cookie recipes out there, all of which claim to be the very BEST. Well, I guess one would have to taste ALL of them in order to come to that conclusion, so I'll just say these cookies are pretty darn good! Fair enough?  I was browsing on FB and saw a video of how to make pinwheel cookies. I figured, ok, that looks festive, let's give it a go! The thing is, you can really use any rolled sugar cookie dough, so I set out to find the right one for me. I decided I wanted one with almond extract in it (because that's a classic flavor when it comes to sugar cookies), and I found this one on a blog called The Slow Roasted Italian. They seemed very classic and homey and basic, so I went with it! They tasted exactly the way I hoped they would! Soft and chewy with rich vanilla and almond flavor, and they're pretty enough to jazz up any tray of cookies. They do take a little extra time, but you can do them a step at a time so it's really not that bad. When I made them, I mixed up the dough one day, rolled them into logs the next morning, and then sliced and baked them the following night. See? Easy! You can even roll the entire log of dough in colorful sprinkles or red or green sugar to add an extra little pop of color around the edges of your cookies. Also they don't spread out to much so you can literally bake an entire batch in one go. Definitely place a tray of these little gems in the center of your dessert table, and you'll surely get lots of OOs and AAHHs!

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
red and green food coloring

 In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar, on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond.  Beat until combined. Add the salt and 3 cups of flour; beat until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is sticky (meaning when you touch it and pull your fingers away the dough sticks to you), add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it comes together.
  Separate prepared dough into 2 halves. Add 1/2 of your cookie dough to a stand mixer and add red or green food coloring until your mixture reaches your desired color. You can also knead food coloring into dough until completely combined if you do not have a stand mixer. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

   Place red cookie dough on parchment paper. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Set aside. Place plain cookie dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Stack cookie dough sheets on top of each other with the parchment on the outside. Remove the top parchment and roll over the dough gently with a rolling pin (to help the 2 doughs become one). Beginning on one of the long sides, roll the cookie dough into a log (removing the remaining paper as you go). If dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then try again. Once dough is formed into a log, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Slice cookies and place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 9-11 minutes or until the cookies feel set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

It's your choice whether to make white cookies with a colored swirl, or colored cookies with a white swirl. Before you roll up the log, your dominant color should be on the bottom, and your swirl color should be on top. Savvy?
If you're not a fan of almond extract, use any kind of flavoring you like! I've used orange extract and also rum extract, you could use lemon extract, or just use twice as much vanilla. It will all work!
Be sure to give it time to chill in between steps. It makes it MUCH easier to slice when the log is completely chilled and firm. Also be sure to keep the log as round as possible, otherwise your pinwheel design will have flat edges.

No comments: