Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies
Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies make an eye-catching and festive display to any Christmas table. A simple sugar cookie recipe is the base for these fun cookies. I got some clear bags and red ribbon to give these cookies out as early Christmas gifts to friends this past week.
Sometimes sugar cookies can be a bit bland, so I added some almond extract to make the flavour more interesting. The almond extract is subtle however, and doesn’t overpower the cookies. Fear not, if you don’t like almond flavors! It simply boosts the sugar cookies flavour, and will have you reaching for a second one. And if you really don’t want to use almond extract, just add another teaspoon of vanilla.
The dough itself is incredibly easy to make. It consists of butter (real butter only!), sugar, eggs, vanilla & almond extracts, salt and flour. I do recommend making the cookies over 2 days, as they need to be chilled twice before baking. First, you will make the dough and split it in half. Then you will take one half and colour it red. After that, you will roll each piece of dough out onto parchment paper, and then carefully stack one on top of the other.
Then the fun part: rolling the dough into a log. Once you have your log, you will place it in the refrigerator to chill for an hour. After it’s been chilled, you roll it in the sprinkles and return it to the refrigerator to chill another 3 hours or overnight. This is when I like to leave it overnight and bake the cookies the next day. The dough is very easy to slice, providing you use a sharp knife. Use one sweeping motion, as opposed to a sawing motion.
Christmas Pinwheel Sugar Cookies
Yield: Approximately 32 cookies
Recipe adapted from: The Slow-Roasted Italian
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 226 g), room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 - 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Red food colouring (gel is best and recommended)
Christmas nonpareil sprinkles (the little balls)
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extract and mix well. Add the salt.
Add 3 cups of flour and beat well, until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too sticky (meaning when you touch it and pull your fingers away the dough sticks to you), add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide the dough into two halves. Place one half into mixing bowl and add red food colouring until the desired colour is reached (see note).
Place both dough halves onto 2 sheets of parchment paper. Cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper (this prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling pin). Roll the dough out into a rectangle, until it is 1/4 in thick. Remove top parchment paper and carefully stack the doughs on top of each other, with the parchment paper on the outside.
Gently roll over the two doughs to help them become one. Beginning on the long end closest to you, roll the dough into a log. If the dough is too soft to roll, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes and try again.
Once the dough is formed into a log, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Pour sprinkles into a cookie sheet with sides and roll dough until its evenly covered with sprinkles. Rewrap the log and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Using a sharp knife, slice the cookies and place on the baking tray, 1 inch apart. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes (depending on size). Mine were smaller and were done in 8 minutes.
Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes: 1. Use the red food colouring sparingly, add only 1 or 2 drops at a time. If you use too much the dough will taste bitter. 2. Make sure to chill the log for an hour before rolling in sprinkles as it will be too soft and will stretch. 3. Store cookies in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. 4. Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 3 months.