Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Look in almost any cookie book, and you’ll find a recipe for chocolate pinwheels. Until today, I’d never made them, but I’ve decided that I need to work my way through some classic recipes and see how they turn out. These smelled absolutely delicious while they baked and I’m pleased to say that they turned out very well.

The recipe below is very slightly adapted from one I found through Taste of Home, in their delightful book Cookies, Cakes, & Pies. I cut the original recipe, which yields six dozen cookies, in half for a smaller batch, and also added a bit of water to the recipe to help the dough come together.


  • 1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder


In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well to combine, then add vanilla and beat well.

Gradually add flour mixture, beating well to combine; dough will be slightly crumbly. Add water and continue beating until dough becomes smooth and easy to handle.

Divide dough into two portions; beat cocoa powder into one half and leave the other half plain.

Roll out each portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper, making rectangles that are roughly 10 inches by 12 inches. If you have trouble getting your dough into a rectangle, simply fold the edges of the dough in to create the shape, then roll it out to smooth it.

Place each sheet of dough on a cookie sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Place chocolate dough on your counter top and remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Remove waxed paper from plain dough and place it on top of the chocolate dough. Sprinkle very lightly with flour, then roll just a few times to help press the two dough sheets together.

Tightly roll up the dough on the long side, using the bottom sheet of waxed paper to help if necessary; this can help you move the dough without having it crack as you roll it.

Wrap dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with foil.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place about 2 inches part on the baking sheets. If the ends of your dough aren’t perfect spirals and have gaps between the layers (you’ll know what I mean when you see it), simply press those slices together to make a marbled log of dough, then slice that as well.

Bake for 10 minutes, until tops are set. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes 30.


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