Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel Cookies
Courtesy of: Our Italian Kitchen

2 cups flour, plus possibly a few more tbsp
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (cut in chunks)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp of food coloring of your choice
1/2 tsp of any desired extra extracts, optional
1 1/2 cup holiday sprinkles

I started by cutting each stick of butter in half, and then in half again... then into small cubes. I placed the butter in a small bowl and put it back in the refrigerator until I was ready to use it. In a stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars with paddle on medium until well blended. Add butter in, 2-4 cubes at a time, and continue mixing. Add in vanilla extract. At this point, your dough will form a ball on your paddle.

Remove all your dough and divide into two equal parts. Return one portion back in to the mixer and add the food coloring and any extra extracts. I used Wilton gel food coloring in leaf green and red and vanilla extract for my batches. You could add mint flavoring in with the red or green coloring. You could do these for other holidays as well with yellow coloring and lemon flavoring, orange coloring and orange flavoring - the possibilities are endless. Also, if you are using liquid food coloring, you will need to add a few tbsp of flour to keep the dough from becoming too wet. Mix until the color is spread out evenly.

I put the balls of dough back in the refrigerator before rolling out the dough. I wanted it to firm up slightly before the next step. Roll out each portions of your dough, between two sheets a wax paper until is reaches about 11 x 9 inches and is 1/4 inch thick. Slide both unto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

When firm, remove the top sheets of wax paper from both. Then flip the colored dough onto the vanilla uncolored dough so they are stacked atop each other and even. You can use a slight brushing of water between the layers to help seal the dough together. Press the edges lightly with your fingertips to seal them together. Using a small pairing knife, trim the edges of the dough to make straight, even lines.

Be sure your dough is still cold, but flexible. Once it's ready, begin rolling the long side of dough into a swirl, jelly-roll style. Don't get nervous if the outer layer of uncolored dough tears a bit. It's no problem, just pinch and pat those tears back together, and just keep rolling. I wrapped the dough in wax paper and placed the dough back in the refrigerator overnight to firm up completely before cutting. Having the dough cold, helps with keeping the pinwheels in shape.

You can also wrap the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. You will need to allow the dough to defrost in the refrigerator for a day or so before continuing on with the next few steps for baking.

Pour your sprinkles onto a cookie sheet. Now gently lift your dough log onto the sprinkles and roll away. Cover the log completely with your sprinkles.

Slice your dough into 1/4-1/8 inch slices and bake on parchment lined baking sheets. Allow for plenty of room in between the cookies - as they spread a bit. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes until edges are slightly golden. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them to a cookie rack to finish cooling. We ended up doing 4 batches of these - 1/2 red and 1/2 green... and alternated which colors were on the outside - I LOVE how they turned out! Enjoy your whimsical Christmas cookies!

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