Question: What’s green and red and white and Christmasy all over?
Answer: Festive shortbread pinwheels.
I am joining up with some friends to share our favorite Christmas cookies over the next few weeks. However, since I am a bit of a humbug, I think it’s too early to say the word “Christmas.” So I am calling it the:
As a kid, it wasn’t Christmas until Momma made a couple batches of shortbread pinwheels. Buttery, crisp and perfectly sweet, they never lasted long. I think the whimsical swirl is such a fun design that even though I adore Momma’s original red pinwheels, I occasionally like to mix things up with some chocolate pinwheels or mint pinwheels.
Looking for a hit cookie to take to your next cookie exchange? Whip up some shortbread pinwheels–be they almond or peppermint–and watch them fly off the platter!
To start, beat 2 sticks of room-temperature butter until light and fluffy.
Next, add one cup of powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.
Once the sugar is well incorporated, add:
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1-1/2 teaspoons almond OR peppermint extract
Beat until smooth.
Sift in the following:
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Beat on low until well combined.
Divide dough evenly in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and place in fridge.
To the second half add 4-5 drops of red or green food coloring and beat until very well combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
How to form pinwheels
I’m not gonna lie. There is a level of finesse involved with forming pinwheels. But the fun, whimsical final result is well worth your efforts!
- Unwrap one of the halves of chilled dough and place on a lightly floured sheet of wax or parchment paper.
- Roll dough into an 8×8, 1/4-ich thick square.
- On a separate sheet of lightly floured parchment paper, repeat with the second half of dough.
- Carefully flip one square of dough over directly on top of the other half of dough.
- Roll the top of the dough “stack” with the rolling pin to press the two layers together.
- Lightly press along the edges of the dough stack to seal.
- Starting from the bottom of the square, begin to tightly and evenly roll the dough like a cigar.
- For a tighter and more even roll, use the parchment as a guide by pulling it up and back as you roll.
- Press out any air bubbles as you go.
- After a few turns, check to make sure your dough log is an even cylinder. (If your log is fat in the middle and tapered on the sides, unroll and do over until even.)
- Once the dough is all rolled up, roll the log back and forth to seal and smooth the edges.
- Chill the log in the freezer for 10 minutes before slicing. (Roll log every few slices to maintain its round shape.)
Place cookies on a parchment-lined sheet. Bake cookies in a preheated 375-degree oven for 12 minutes or until firm on top.
Cook’s Note: DO NOT OVERBAKE or the color will brown. Also, DO NOT UNDERBAKE or the cookies will not develop their tender-but-crisp texture.
I still eat these cookies the way I did as a kid: in a circle.
Have a wonderful weekend full of good smells from the oven!
Here are some other great recipes to try out!
from Red Cottage Chronicles
from Simply Domestic
from A Bright and Beautiful Life
from Create & Babble
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4-5 drops red or green food coloring
- Beat butter until light and fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and beat until well incorporated. Beat in egg and extracts until fluffy.
- Sift flour, salt and baking soda together and stir into butter mixture. Beat until well incorporated.
- Divide dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Add food coloring to the other half and mix until coloring is completely incorporated. Wrap colored dough and chill both halves for 30 minutes.
- Roll one of the halves of dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment or wax paper into an 8×8-inch, 1/4-inch thick square. Repeat with the other half of dough on a separate sheet of paper.
- Flip one dough square over and place directly on top of the other dough square. Lightly roll along the top of the stacked dough to seal the layers together.
- Starting at one end, begin tightly rolling dough into an evenly-cylindrical log, making sure the log is free of bubbles along the way. Once the dough is all rolled up, roll the log back and forth a few times to seal the edges.
- Wrap log in plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Using a sharp knife, slice into 1/4″ slices and bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until tops of cookies are firm. Do not over or underbake.
- Cool completely before storing.