Well, here it is, the last in my trilogy of Thanksgiving recipes. Sorry I didn’t offer anything more traditional or substantive, but I have never actually cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal myself. This afternoon, Ben and I will pile ourselves into the car with my stacks of desserts and breads and go to my parents’ house, where my father will have prepared a vast smorgasbord of food. My contributions are the mere icing on the cake, as it were. And so, you get cakes and breads.
The idea for these cookies came when I was browsing Christmas cookie recipes on Pinterest. I came across a recipe for Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies. They look absolutely gorgeous, and I’m sure they taste great too. And slice and bake cookies are AWESOME. I know there’s something very traditional and Christmas-y about spending an entire day rolling, cutting, chilling, rolling, and baking sugar cookies, and then spending an entire evening frosting them. But slice and bake cookies are really fast, and with the pinwheel design, really pretty too!
I started with Martha Stewart’s Basic Sugar Cookie recipe, and sort of winged it from there. Enjoy!
Thanksgiving Pinwheel Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling
- Yellow and orange food color
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in egg next. Mix in vanilla. Switch mixer to low speed and mix in flour until just combined.
Divide dough into 2 even balls (a food scale would be handy here if you are a perfectionist). Add yellow food color to one ball and orange to the other, and knead until the colors are even.
Divide the orange dough ball into 2 even halves (again, a food scale can help with precision). Divide the yellow ball the same way.
Shape each of the 4 portions of dough into rough rectangles, and then roll them out on a floured surface one at a time. Try to keep them all uniform in size and shape. The resulting rectangles should be about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide, and the dough should be about 1/8 inch thick.
Using an offset spatula or other tool (pizza paddle?), gently lift one orange dough rectangle and lay it on top of a yellow dough rectangle. Do the same for the other two rectangles of dough. I did one with orange on top and one with yellow on top for variety.
Gently roll each dough sandwich to unify the layers. Try to keep the edges as straight and uniform as possible.
Once you have finished rolling and shaping, starting at the long edge, roll each rectangle into a log. Make sure you crimp the first edge tightly so you don’t have holes in the middles of your cookies! Gently roll each log a bit to make them nice and round (they should be a bit less than 2″ in diameter), then roll up in parchment and wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days (which means these are great when you know you’re going to have a marathon few days of cooking! Make the dough ahead and bake later!). A great tip to keep them nice and round is to put them in paper towel tubes!
When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350*. Unwrap your dough logs and, using a sharp knife, trim off the ends so you have nice, straight sides, and then continue slicing cookies off in 1/4 inch thicknesses. I ended up with 52 cookies!
Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
I would like to apologize profusely for not taking process pictures on these, but I have been CRANKING out baked goods like it’s my job, and I simply didn’t have the time or the energy. However, if you’re at all confused about the layering and rolling process, simply Google “pinwheel cookies” for extra help and photos.
OK, I’m off to pack for my long Thanksgiving weekend in Vermont! Happy Thanksgiving!