Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel cookies have been around forever. These swirly, whirly, multi-colored beauties have a mesmerizing look, and buttery taste and make a great addition to any holiday cookie plate. Pinwheel cookies are classified as a type of icebox cookie, a category of cookies I’ve long been a fan of due to their ease and simplicity.

pinwheel cookies

Named for the predecessor of the refrigerator, ice box cookies, took off with the rising popularity of the refrigerator as a common household appliance. What they offered was a typically dense dough designed to be chilled and sliced right before baking. Through the process, icebox cookies maintained their elegant shape, saving anyone who was making them time and effort. The design of the icebox cookie also reduced waste, as no scraps needed to be re-rolled and cut again.

pinwheel cookies

Although invented earlier, the pinwheel cookie was everywhere by the 1930s and can be found in numerous cookbooks from that time. The most common pinwheel variation is a chocolate-vanilla one, consisting of a simple sugar cookie dough mixed with some cocoa. After rolling each piece of dough flat, the two pieces get stacked on top of one another, and then tightly rolled to create that signature swirl.

Food historians argue that the graphic design of the pinwheel was also representative of the bold, stylized lines of Art Deco, the 1930s style that took over everything from architecture to clothing.

pinwheel cookies

Sky’s the limit when it comes to color variations of these beloved pinwheel cookies. These Christmas-themed ones are bright and cheery and a playful nod to the fun, festive holiday spirit that the holiday season encompasses.

pinwheel cookies

That said, hues of pink and red can easily be used for Valentine’s Day, green and white, for St. Patrick’s Day, white and orange for Halloween, or the traditional chocolate variation for Thanksgiving all making a tasty and memorable cookie that requires very little effort from the baker.

pinwheel cookies

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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