It’s nearing the time for Christmas cookie swaps. A rarity in New Zealand, these such swaps are common here in Canada. Although it’s a fantastic way to fill the Christmas tins in the lead up to holiday entertaining, cookies in our house have a tendency to go missing very quickly.
In order to actually have cookies for when guests pop by, I’ve found a trick – make up the dough and do all the fun, finnicky work of rolling and shaping, then store it in the freezer and slice and bake as needed.
I don’t know what the history is behind pinwheel cookies but they seem to appear at every Christmas cookie swap and in every Christmas cookie magazine on sale now. Sometimes filled with a date and pecan filling, I decided to stick with two doughs, simple chocolate and lemon, based on these chequerboard biscuits I made a few Christmas’ back (these ones are much more straightforward).
Lemon & Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies
Dough recipe by Martha Stewart
1 cup (230g) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups plain flour
3 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 large egg
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, scraping down sides of bowl. Remove half of the dough and set aside; mix cocoa into remaining dough. Gently roll each dough into a square, approximately 8 x 8 inches and half a cm thick. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush over the lemon square. Place the rolled out chocolate square on top and gently press down. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove the doughs from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured bench or baking paper, carefully begin rolling up the two doughs together to form a cylinder. This part can be tricky. If the dough is too stiff and begins to crack when rolled, let sit at room temperature to soften a little. Use the plastic wrap to guide the doughs into a cylinder. Roll the cylinder back and forth a little to press into shape.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator to firm. When ready to bake, remove the plastic and slice the dough into coins. Arrange on baking tray, 2 cm apart and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until starting to colour on the bottom.
Note: The rolled up dough can easily be frozen until needed, at which point slices can be baked as required, resulting in warm, fresh cookies available on a whim.