Cinnamon Pinwheels
Cinnamon Pinwheels

Back with more on the cookie front here--told you I'd got some doozies coming your way! These are simply magnificent-- buttery, chewy, full of caramelized brown sugar/cinnamon goodness and then there's that gorgeous spiral eye-appeal as well. Perfect for holiday cookie platters! Everybody loves 'em! Now before you go getting into full blown panic mode, I am here to tell you that these are actually easy--that even if you've never made a rolled cookie before, you are going to be able to do it. I promise! Just follow the step by step instructions below (I've even included pictures) and you too will be on your way to spiral cookie happiness!!

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First off, you make a simple butter/sugar/flour cookie dough and roll the whole thing out into a large rectangle.

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Next you spread it with the buttery, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon filling.

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Now comes the fun! Starting with the end that's closest to you, you tightly roll the dough into a fat log, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour--this leaves you time to nap, pay the bills, catch up on emails, twirl about your kitchen like a spiral-y cookie....

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All that's left to do is slice and bake.

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Truly, it's that simple!

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And not only do these taste amazing--sort of melt in your mouth but crunchy/chewy at the same time, the baking of them makes your house smell amazing too!! Wish we could do a scratch and sniff here!

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Ok, now that you see how truly easy these are to make, no more being a fraidy-cat. Treat yourself and your loved ones to at least one batch during this holiday season--no reason to get unraveled (ok, I'll stop now, just make the cookies--I mean look at these, how could you not be super popular showing up with a plateful just about anywhere!!)

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Cinnamon Pinwheels

Makes about 4 dozen cookies
You will need a rolling pin for these.
Prep Time:  25 minutes, plus 1 hour freezing time; Bake Time:  12-14 minutes


For the dough

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Filling

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (pokably soft so it spreads easily)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

The Recipe

1.  For the dough:  Place the sifted confectioners' sugar, butter, salt and baking powder in the large bowl of an electric mixer and mix together on low speed. Slowly increase to medium until the butter begins to look creamy and stick to the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the egg and beat in well. Add the flour on low speed, and then slowly increase the speed to medium so that a soft dough forms. Do not wash the bowl or beaters.

2.  Lightly flour a board or counter and turn the dough out onto it. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it into a circle. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13 x 14-inch rectangle with a long side facing you--along the way you may need to flour the rolling pin and underneath the dough a bit more if dough is sticking.

3.  To make the cinnamon filling:  Place all of the ingredients in the bowl you just used for the dough and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture out on top of the rolled out dough and spread it out all over the dough using an offset spatula or your fingers to get a thin even layer. Starting from the bottom edge, tightly roll up the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap well and freeze for 1 hour (alternatively you can make this up to 2 months ahead and keep the wrapped dough in a ziploc bag after it has completed the original one hour of freezing).

4.  Preheat oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap  and carefully slice 1/4-inch thick cookies from the log, slicing straight down and not sawing back or forth. Place the cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on the sheets and bake one sheet at a time, for about 12-14 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown. Let cool on the sheets on baking racks for about 5 minutes and then transfer to the racks to finish cooling completely. 


Note:  Recipe adapted from Marbled, Swirled and Layered by Irvin Lin. I left out the 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg from the filling. Also, there's a glaze that accompanies the cookies but I think it makes them too sweet and truly prefer them without. If you want though all you do is mix together 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon buttermilk or whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2-3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and brush the glaze on the cooled cookies with a pastry brush.


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