These wee delights were a new addition to my Christmas cookie baking extravaganza. Although they are a little bit more involved than simple drop cookies, they were well worth it.
When I initially made the dough, I used the cliché, liquid, food colouring to tint half of the dough red. Fail. Despite multiple warnings that it would inevitably turn out pink, irregardless of how much colouring I added, I didn’t listen. I naively fooled myself into believing that the gel-advocates were merely pretentiously looking down upon us Club House vial supporters with self-importance. In hindsight, I think that this self-deception was an emotional defense mechanism to avoid having to make the trek across town during the holiday madness, in a seemingly vain attempt to find the commonplace-colouring’s gel counterpart. When the naysayers’ forewarnings rang true, and I ended up with a pale-pink dough, my OCD-like tendencies kicked in and I swiftly tossed the dough (that was better suited for a 5 year old girl’s princess birthday party than a Christmas dessert) into the trash. I then scoured the city for the gel and remade the red half of the dough. Unnecessary? Mayybe. But the point is, the gel works significantly better than the liquid, and it can be found at Ares Kitchen Supply store in Pointe Claire.
I guess that we all just learned something about me: I have issues.
…but, I also have some beautiful red and white pinwheel cookies of which I can boast.
Try ’em, they’re delish.
Adapted from The Pastry Affair
Yield: 24 cookie sandwiches (48 individual cookies)
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Approximately 1 tsp red gel food coloring (you could use liquid food colouring, but the dough will always end up pink – lovely for Valentine’s Day!)
Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Combine and add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the mixture. Stir until well combined but don’t over mix.
Remove 1/2 of the dough and add red food coloring to the remaining dough, beating until well mixed. Wrap each dough separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour to an hour to firm up the dough.
On a surface that you have dusted well with powdered sugar (why use flour when you can add deliciousness with icing sugar??), roll out one color of dough to 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Roll out the second color of dough to 1/4-inch thick rectangle of the same size on a lightly floured surface. Place the second rectangle on top of the first and trim the edges until even. Using the mat or wax paper, roll the dough into a log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour to firm up. After an hour in the fridge, place the dough into the freezer (minimum 2 hours, or up until the point that you decide to bake them!) to ensure that it is firm enough to slice – you want to make sure that it will hold its shape and that the two colours remain distinct from each other once cut.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to ensure that you can easily remove your (somewhat delicate) cookies.
Remove cookie log from freezer, unwrap it, and place on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Cut cookies to 1/8-inch thick and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes; do not allow the edges to brown. Cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
8 tablespoon butter, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (uhh, yum.)
2 tablespoons milk or cream
Pinch of salt (this brings out the other flavours – but just a pinch!)
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and continue beating on low until combined (slowly at first, so that the powdered sugar does not all go flying!…and it will, if you’re not careful). Mix in peppermint extract, milk, and salt. If frosting is too thick, add an additional teaspoon or two of milk to smooth it out. If frosting is too thin, add additional cup of powdered sugar until desired texture is reached.
Using a pastry bag (or, if you’re like me, and you haven’t yet splurged on a pastry bag kit, use a heavy-duty ziploc bag with the corner cut off), pipe peppermint buttercream onto the bottom of a pinwheel cookie and sandwich with another cookie (I used a star tip inserted into the ziploc to give the buttercream a bit of extra SHAZAM). Repeat this using all pinwheel cookies. Let buttercream dry before storing cookies in an airtight container.
I was worried that the icing would ooze out of the cookies if I wasn’t careful, but this was absolutely not the case, don’t fret! It holds its shape.
These are soft, full of minty deliciousness, and good for Christmas, for Valentine’s Day and for every day in between.