Inspirations for cookie recipes come from all kinds of places. The other night while watching a movie, there was a windmill in the background which took my mind to this week's cookies. I have not done a pinwheel-style cookie for a long time. My favorite filling is cinnamon sugar, but what about the cookie? Wanting something different, I decided to add orange to the cookie batter, and the taste floors me. The orange gave the cookie dough a sweet smell and taste.
Most people that I have heard from find the hardest part of this cookie is getting the dough to roll nicely into a log. So I found this YouTube video on one way to roll a pinwheel cookie. This video shows using parchment paper as a way to create the pinwheel cookie log. I found the pastry mat just as flexible. I did not try on a hard surface, so I am unsure if this is more difficult or not. If you are unsure, use either parchment paper or a pastry mat. Either of these two methods will give you the lift to start the roll.
There are many variations of pinwheel cookies that often include dates and nuts, but I opted for just cinnamon and sugar. The orange brings a touch of freshness that I was not expecting but gives the cookie a complimentary taste to the cinnamon.
Cinnamon Orange Pinwheel Cookies
- 1 cup Butter unsalted 2 sticks room temperature
- 4 oz Cream Cheese room temperature
- 1 ½ cup Sugar white 297 g
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
- 3 cups All purpose flour 360 g
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 ¼ tsp Baking powder
- 1 TBSP Orange juice fresh
- 1 TBSP Orange zest
- 3 TBSP Butter unsalted melted
- 1 ½ TBSP Ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup Sugar white
- ¼ cup Light brown sugar
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2-4 TBSP Milk I used 2%
- 1 TBSP Butter unsalted melted
- Weigh or measure the sugar and set aside. Weight or measure in another bowl the flour, salt, baking powder, and run a whisk through to blend. Zest and juice one orange into separate containers and set these aside also.
- In a stand or hand-held mixer cream the butter and cream cheese till thoroughly mixed about 3 minutes. Then add the sugar and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes. You want it light and fluffy looking. Add one egg at a time, mixing the first thoroughly before adding the second egg. Next, add the vanilla bean paste, orange zest, orange juice, and mix for about a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn your mixer to low. Slowly add the flour mixture till incorporated.
- On a solid surface or pastry-mat sprinkle some flour then dump the cookie dough onto the surface. Divide the cookie dough in half and flatten out the half into a flat square. Flattening into a square will make it easier to roll it out after it is refrigerated. Wrap both halves in separate plastic wrap. I put them on a sheet pan and put them into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
FILLING AND PUTTING THE PINWHEEL TOGETHER
- In a small bowl, add the white and light brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter and stir till incorporated and set aside. On a pastry mat or a hard surface flour the surface. Take one of the logs out of the refrigerator and unwrap the plastic wrap. Start pressing down on the square shape dough and flour the top, I flip it over just to make sure it is not sticking to the mat. Take your rolling pin and start rolling out your dough till you get a rectangle shape. My rectangle shape was about 10 X 13 inches. I tried to get about ⅛ to ⅜ inch thick so when you roll the dough you will get a nice pinwheel design. If your cinnamon sugar has hardened a little just microwave it for 10 to 15 seconds this will make it easier to spread onto the dough. Take half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture and spread it out with your hands. Leave some space around the edges. If you have issues with the edges sealing you can use egg whites if water does not work.
- To roll the dough starting at the long edge of your rectangle and roll tightly and evenly. After I finish rolling the dough into a log, I pat the ends just to square off the sides and then wrap with plastic wrap. I saw a neat trick where you split a paper towel roll in half and use the half to cradle the log. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350°, and line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside. Take one log roll out of the refrigerator and slice about ½ thick discs and add 12 to a pan. Give the cookie discs a good 2 inches apart; they do spread a little—Bake for 8-11 minutes. You want them a light golden brown on the bottom. After removing them from the oven, let them sit for a minute before moving gently to a cooling rack.
- In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, melted butter, 2 TBSP of milk and stir. If the icing is too thick, add one more TBSP of milk at a time, till you get the right consistency. You want it thin enough to put some on a spoon and go back and forth across the top of each cookie.