It’s Christmas cookie time! I love making cookies at any time, but at Christmas, baking is elevated to a holiday event in our home! Christmas music is blasting and the house is filled with the scent of sweet confection! This season I made quite a few different cookies, but today I will start with the Holiday Pinwheels.
These recipes all come from the Food Network Magazine Holiday Cookie Cookbook. Because you separate and color the dough, there were a few steps involved, but I thought the end-result was well worth it. These basically are a very buttery sugar cookie with a holiday flair.
Start by whisking flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl as you would for any sugar cookie. Beat the softened butter (1 1/2 sticks!) until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and beat until well combined. Reduce the mixer speed and add in the flour mixture.
Here comes the fun part! Divide the dough in thirds. Return one piece to the bowl and add red food coloring and mix until you have the right shade of red. In a separate bowl, add the green food coloring to the next piece of dough and mix in the same way. Leave the last third of dough uncolored. Tightly form a 4 inch square of dough for each color and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm; at least an hour.
Remove from the fridge and roll each piece of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to about a 9 x 11 inch rectangle. The size does not have to be exact, but remember you will have 3 layers of dough before you start the pinwheel roll up, so each layer must be quite thin.
It took me rolling one piece of dough, which was sliding all over the place to realize that by placing the parchment on a dishtowel, it held the dough in place, making the rolling much easier.
Much easier to roll on a dishtowel!
Once the 3 pieces of dough are rolled, refrigerate once again for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment from each piece of dough. Flip the plain dough on top of the red dough; discard the parchment. Flip the green dough on top of the plain dough; discard the parchment.
Dough on the left is stacked and ready to roll. Dough on the right is already rolled up.
Now you have the dough stacked. Cut the stack in half crosswise. Starting from the long side (like you would a jelly roll), tightly roll up each half into a log, using the remaining parchment to help you. Transfer the 2 logs to a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate a third time for at least an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get ready to trim the logs. Cut off the rough ends, but don’t throw them out. They won’t be perfect pinwheels, but still delicious! Slice the logs into 1/4 inch rounds and arrange on prepared pans. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake 12-15 minutes until the cookies are just firm. Let cool on the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to completely cool. Buttery deliciousness and very pretty to look at!
What else have I been baking?
These Key Lime Crackle Cookies are so different. You don’t expect a lime flavor at Christmas, but they were very good and had the consistency of a fine Italian cookie. I think they’d be excellent at Easter with a Key Lime Sorbet or Sherbet.
The peppermint in these Peppermint Macaroons gave them a Christmassy edge! Dipped in White Chocolate before adding the peppermint candy is also a nice touch.
Brownie Gold Bars are very showy. The brownie mixture is so rich, it almost has the consistency of fudge. I have never worked with gold leaf before. Because it is so dry in Southern AZ, it was not easy. Each time I would open the golf leaf packet, the gold would start to curl and float into the air, break apart and become very difficult to place on the brownie. Still worth the effort! I think I will get better at using gold leaf.
These Chocolate Mint Cookies use Andes Candies in the batter and White Chocolate for the drizzle.
And finally, Ginger People are a must at Christmas. This year I made a whole family–Mom, Dad, a little toddler, and baby.
My Canasta friends all got a little taste!
Christmas is still a week away so more baking is possible.
I hope you are enjoying the festive season as much as we are,
and having loads of fun cooking up a storm!
Buttery, delicious and very Christmassy! The hint of peppermint adds a nice holiday touch to these special sugar cookies.
- 2 cups Flour, more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter, (12 Tbsp.), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup Granulated white sugar
- 1 lge. Egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. Pure Peppermint extract
- 1/4 tsp. Red Food coloring, or right number of drops to get perfect Christmas red
- 1/4 tsp Green Food coloring; same as above
- Coarse sugar for decorating.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a separate large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture, then increase the speed to medium high and beat until well combined.
Divide the dough into thirds. Return 1 piece to the bowl; beat in the red food coloring with the mixer until fully combined. Beat the green food coloring into another piece of dough in a separate bowl. Leave the last piece of dough plain. Place each piece of dough on a separate sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a 4 inch square. Wrap and refrigerate until firm; at least one hour.
After the dough has firmed up, lightly flour 1 piece of dough; roll out between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate the dough rectangles until firm; about 30 minutes.
Carefully remove and discard the top piece of parchment from each piece of dough. Flip the plain dough on top of the red dough; discard the parchment. Flip the green dough on top of the plain dough; discard the parchment. Cut the stack in half crosswise. Starting from the long side, tightly roll up each half into a log, using the remaining parchment to help you. Transfer the 2 logs to a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate again until firm; at least an hour.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Trim the ends of each log. Slice the logs into 1/4 inch thick rounds and arrange on the prepared pans. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. If the dough is too soft to slice, return to the fridge for another 15 to 30 minutes.
Bake, switching pans half way through, until the cookies are just firm; 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pans to a rack and let cool 10 minutes, then remove the cookies to the racks to cool completely.