The First Day of Christmas: Pinwheel Cookies


Sometimes I want an award for simply making it through a trip to the mall during the holidays. First places goes to Heather, for smiling politely at the customer that cut her off in the checkout line at Gap. Meritorious achievement for giving money to the Salvation Army bell ringer on her way into the mall. Team player award for helping an older lady with her bags up the steps.

This holiday season, I’ve decided to take on a baking challenge. Over the course of December, I will be featuring 12 holiday desserts on my blog. My inspiration was the Twelve Days of Christmas (only minus the partridge, turtle doves, and swans). If all goes well, come December 25th I will have shared 12 different tasty treats with you in the hopes that they will inspire your holiday baking.

Day 1: Christmas Pinwheel Cookies


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop red food coloring, or as needed
1 drop green food coloring, or as needed

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Beat the butter with the brown and white sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until evenly blended. Gather the dough into a ball, and divide into two equal parts. Place one half in a second bowl. Add red food coloring to the dough in one bowl, and green food coloring to the dough in the other bowl. Use a fork or wooden spoon to blend the food coloring into the dough until evenly blended. Add additional drops of food coloring to make the desired shade.

Roll out the red dough to 1/4 thickness. Roll out the green dough to 1/4 inch thickness, and place on top of the red dough. Beginning on one edge, roll the doughs to make a log so the two colors spiral inside each other. Wrap the log in waxed paper, then in a cotton towel, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Unwrap the dough log, and place on a clean, lightly floured surface. Slice the log into rounds 1/8 inch thick, and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until set, 5 to 6 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent edges from browning. Remove from oven, and cool on racks.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
To get bright vibrant colors for your cookies, try using gel food coloring. Unlike water-based food coloring that you typically find in supermarkets, gel food coloring has a much more intense color. You don’t need to use nearly as much coloring, sometimes only a few drops, to get the same color effect (or better).



13 thoughts on “The First Day of Christmas: Pinwheel Cookies

  1. Oh my. Do they look delicious! I’ve heard you mention gel coloring before and have never used it. I love the bright color you got and using just a little additive makes me happy. You make me want to dig into my holiday cookbooks to find some of my favorites to bake……Might these 12 choices you have for us this Christmas be just the beginning of other years of 12 holiday offerings from you in December? I CAN HARDLY WAIT.


    • This could definitely become a Christmas tradition! Holiday baking is so much fun, especially when you have the time to enjoy the process and take your time. You may have to think of a favorite recipe that we could make together next weekend perhaps?!


      • Thank you! But I really know embarrassingly little about photography… my number one tip is take a million photos and then narrow it down and pick out only the best few (so now you have a little more insight to some of my posts with nice photos! : )

        The other main things I’ve learned to do are to use the macro setting for close-ups, to use non-glare/non-clear-glass dishes as much as possible (and shallower dishes that don’t cast shadows across themselves if the light source is low & off to the side), and to use (indirect) natural light as much as possible.

        Not so long after I first started my blog, I submitted a bunch of photos to tastespotting (and they all got rejected of course because my photos were pretty bad in retrospect), but now that I guess some of them have potential, I’m still too lazy to sit around formatting each of the best ones into a square shape, then submitting them one by one with links and explanations… I have so little time as it is; I’d rather spend time coming up with a new blog post instead. (I think I’m still burnt out on creating tastespotting submissions even from over a year ago!) Good luck with your mission, though! I’m sure you can do it! :)


      • Oh, that’s actually really great advice about using the non-glare plates for photos. I’ve been frustrated with the shine a few of my plates. I always try to block the light in just the right place while trying to shoot the photo with my other hand and then everything gets a little ridiculous! I do need to start taking a bunch of photos and sort through them to find my favorites. I’m pretty sure that watching me taking photos of my food would be a comical experience for a bystander ;-)

        I feel like it will be a learning curve with the whole process. I’m by no means a photography expert! You make a good point though; it is a pretty exhausting process making all those submissions to Taste Spotting. It’s almost better to channel time into the most important thing- the content of our blogs!


  2. Pingback: Happy One Year Anniversary! | Sweet Precision

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