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Pinwheels are another old family recipe passed down from my mom’s mom, Granny.  These are most peculiar cookies because they’re not very sweet.  In fact, everyone that has married into the family over the years, didn’t liked pinwheels at first.  But somehow, amazingly, they all come to love them.  I can’t even tell you exactly what it is that’s so great about these cookies.  It could be a combination of my love of not-so-sweet things, the fact that they’re so steeped in family tradition, and that I have been eating them my whole life.  At any rate, they’re very good, and I thought they deserved a post on my blog!

First, the dough.  The sugar, softened butter, vanilla and egg are creamed together, and then the flour, baking powder and salt are added.  That’s it.  Then the dough is divided in half, and the melted chocolate square is mixed into the half left in the mixing bowl.  Voila…you have vanilla and chocolate dough!

Each dough is rolled out separately into large circles – they do not have to be perfect.  But make sure to use flour when rolling out the dough, or you will be in a very sticky situation, literally.

Then comes the tricky part…flipping the chocolate dough on top of the vanilla.  I always find it kind of hard to properly match up the two, but just do the best you can.  After all, the parts that don’t match up can be cut off and eaten!  Next, is rolling it into a log.  Make sure the vanilla is on the outside.  (One time, I accidentally had the chocolate on the outside and my family thought they looked hilarious.  They gave me such a hard time.  This might not be such a big deal to most, but when you’ve been eating Pinwheels this way for years, in some cases decades, God forbid the chocolate be on the outside!)

Cut the log in half or in thirds and wrap each piece in waxpaper or parchment paper.  Put in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before slicing and baking – this is so they are easier to slice.  Once they’re chilled, slice about 1/4 of an inch thick (they don’t spread out much at all) and put on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes.

Pinwheel Cookies

Makes about two dozen


  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, preferably cage free
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt, preferably kosher or sea salt
  • 1 -1 oz. square Baker’s chocolate


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla together.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix together until just combined.
  • Melt chocolate square in microwave or double boiler.  Take out half the dough and set aside.  Pour melted chocolate into the bowl with half the dough and mix together.
  • Roll out vanilla dough on floured waxpaper, parchment paper or countertop into a large circle approximately an eighth of an inch thick.  Separately roll out chocolate dough to same size and thickness.  Carefully flip chocolate dough on top of vanilla dough (this is so the vanilla ends up on the outside.)
  • Roll into a log with your hands.  Cut the logs in half or in thirds and roll each piece in waxpaper.  Put in freezer for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  • Slice each cookie about 1/4 inch thick and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 325 for about 8 minutes.