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Sep 23, 2008 07:16 AM

ISO Recipe for Pinwheel Cookies

My grandmother used to make delicious chocolate and vanilla pinwheel cookies. They were crunchy yet the dough was tender and somewhat cakey without being soft. They weren't sandy like sables and I believe the tender texture came from adding milk to the dough. Even though I've tried several recipes for pinwheels, I've never been able to make ones like hers. If anyone has a pinwheel recipe they'd be willing to share, I'd appreciate it. I know we're not allowed to publish copyrighted recipes on CH but if you tell me the source, I can find it online or at my local library.

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  1. Like these?

    The recipe is from Carole Walters' Great Cookies.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chocolatechipkt

      I tried Carole Walters' recipe but the cookies weren't as tender as what I had in mind. I'm going to take a look for the new Cook's Illustrated. Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful posts. The search continues . . .

    2. I never made them, and then lost the recipe, but on her original TV series, Martha Stewart did pinwheel cookies - if memory serves, coconut was involved. Perhaps you can find the recipe on her website.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I looked on Martha's website and didn't find a recipe for pinwheel cookies but I did find one for checkerboard cookies, which is the same dough shaped differently. Three reviews for those cookies were all negative, saying the dough was very dry and hard to handle. The cookies I'm trying to re-create are strictly vanilla and chocolate, no fruits, nuts or spices. I've tried Nick Malgieri's recipe, which is delicious but not quite the right texture, and I have tried Carole Walters' as well. I looked at her recipe again last night and liked the combination of chocolate and cocoa powder, though I seem to recall that the dough was a bit crispy and not as tender as I was hoping for. One way or the other, I'll be making pinwheels this weekend and will report on the results.

        1. re: greygarious

          Now I'm wondering if they might have been in the Everyday Food magazine. These were actually shaped like a pinwheel toy - dough cut in square, then corners slit, and end folded to center. That's what came to mind when I read "pinwheel". See the Martha link in my post below for the rugulach pinwheels. Where that has cream cheese in the dough, it should be nice and tender.

        2. Pinwheel cookies
          1/2 cup butter (original used margerine)
          3/4 C light brown sugar
          1 egg
          1/2 tsp vallina
          1 3/4 C ap flour sifted
          1/8 tsp salt
          1/4 cup finely chopped pecans *
          1 1/2 c glace red cherries (or green) * finely chopped
          Beat butter and brown sugar in a small bowl unitl fluffy; beat in egg, and vanilla. Mix in combined flour and salt,mix in pecans.
          Roll dough on floured surface into a rectangle 12x9 inches, spread chopped glace cherries over dough and roll up tightly, beginning with the long side. To store dough wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for 2 months. To bake thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator.
          Cut the dough into 1/2 inch slices and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Store cookies in zipper top storage bags at room temp for up to two weeks or freeze for up to two months.

          makes 3 doz
          * substitutions as desired.
          Recipe given to me from Gramma Gramma

          1. Just remembered this more recent one from Martha Stewart's show:


            These contained cream cheese, so were very tender. The filled dough was rolled up like a jelly-roll, then cut a quarter inch thick, and tossed in cinnamon sugar before baking. This gave them a crispy, glistening exterior and they looked irresistible.

            1. I think what you are talking about is what is known as a "Refrigerator Cookie."

              They are made from a stiff dough that must be chilled in the refrigerator until firm, and are then sliced.

              This recipe is one I adapted from the McCall's Cookie Collection book published in 1974. It's an oldie but goodie. You make a basic batch of Vanilla Icebox Cookies, add chocolate to half the dough, roll up jelly roll style, chill, slice and bake. You can tint the vanilla dough or add mint flavoring to it if desired. But I never usually do.

              Black And White Pinwheel Cookies

              2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
              1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
              1/2 teaspoon salt
              2/3 cup butter, softened
              1 cup white sugar
              1 egg
              1 teaspoon vanilla

              For chocolate dough:
              2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted


              1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
              2. In large bowl or mixer, beat butter until light and gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape bowl, add egg and vanilla; continue beating until light and fluffy.
              3. At low speed beat in half the flour mixture. Mix the rest of the flour in by hand to form a stiff dough.
              4. Divide dough evenly into two bowls.
              5. Add melted chocolate to one bowl, mixing well. Leave other as is.
              6. Take each dough from bowl, pat together and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate one hour.
              7. Roll out the chocolate and white sections separately, each between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll into rectangles with 1/4 inch thickness.
              8. Remove wax paper and place chocolate dough onto white dough. Gently press layers together and roll up in jelly roll fashion.
              9. Shape into uniform roll, and wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm - several hours or overnight.
              10. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
              11. With sharp knife, slice chilled dough into 1/8 inch thick slices. Place slices two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
              12. Remove to wire rack and cool. Yield 3-4 dozen cookies.