Let's Bake

Pinwheel Cookies

Yield Makes 16-18 cookies 1x
Prep: 120 minutesCook: 14 minutesTotal: 2 hours 14 minutes

Beautiful Pinwheel Cookies made from scratch.


  • 170 grams (3/4 cup or 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, roughly chopped
  • 200 grams (1 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Vanilla cookie dough

  • 175 grams (1 and 1/4 cups) plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate cookie dough

  • 140 grams (1 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoons full fat or whole milk


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat using an electric mixer on low speed for 1-2 minutes. It’ll take a few minutes for your butter to soften, but eventually it’ll come together.
  2. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat just until your butter and sugar is combined and smooth. There shouldn’t be any lumps of butter.
  3. Add egg. Mix briefly on low speed until everything is combined. It may look at little curdled – that’s ok.
  4. Take your butter mixture and split it into two even portions. Use a baking scale to do this (recommended) or eyeball it if you don’t have a scale.
  5. Vanilla cookie dough
    Place one half of the butter mixture back into your mixing bowl. Add the flour, baking powder and salt needed for the vanilla cookie dough.
  6. Mix on low speed until ingredients start to combine, and then turn mixer up to medium speed until a soft, but thick cookie dough forms. It may seem dry and crumbly at first, but just keep mixing and it’ll slowly come together. Set aside. 
  7. Chocolate cookie dough
    Add remaining butter mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt needed for the chocolate cookie dough, and 1 teaspoon milk.
  8. Mix on low speed until a soft, but thick cookie dough forms. It may seem dry and crumbly at first, but just keep mixing and it’ll slowly come together. If it’s too dry, add an extra teaspoon of milk.
  9. Rolling the dough
    Shape the vanilla cookie dough into a square disc using your hands. Place a large piece of baking or parchment paper on your bench. Place the cookie dough on top. Then, place another piece of baking or parchment paper on top of the cookie dough.
  10. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a rectangle shape until it’s 1/8 inch thick. It should be roughly 9 by 13 inches. It’s ok if it’s a bit misshapen at this stage. 
  11. Repeat steps 9-10 for the chocolate cookie dough. 
  12. Peel away the top pieces of baking paper. Gently lift and place the chocolate cookie dough on top of the vanilla cookie dough. Place a piece of baking or parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to roll the two doughs together. Just a few good rolls will do it.
  13. Use a small knife to trim the edges so you have a rectangular shape, approximately 9 by 13 inches. Then, gently but tightly, roll up the cookie dough from the long side to the long side. 
  14. Wrap cookie dough log in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to chill.
  15. Bake cookies
    Preheat the oven to 170 C (340 F) standard / 150 C (300 F) fan-forced. Line two large baking trays or cookie sheets with baking paper or parchment paper.
  16. Use a sharp knife to cut cookies into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place cookie dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving room for cookies to spread out. 
  17. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies just slightly start to colour on the edges. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Cold butter: Using cold butter allows us to cut down on the chill time. Once the dough has been made, it should be ready to roll out. However, if you prefer to start with softened or room temperature butter, you can! You may just need to chill the dough for 15-30 minutes before rolling if it’s too sticky to work with.

Vanilla bean paste: I love to use vanilla bean paste in these cookies as it has a nice, strong vanilla flavour – and I love those speckles of vanilla bean. However, vanilla extract will work fine as well.

Cocoa powder: I recommend using 100% natural cocoa powder.

Cookie size: You can slice these cookies as thin or thick as you like. If you would like a thin and crispy cookie, slice the cookie dough into 1/8 inch thick pieces and bake cookies for 8 minutes. You can also increase the baking time if you prefer a crunchy or crispier cookie. 

Make-ahead instructions:

Fridge: Wrap the cookie dough log in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. It will need to chill for 1 hour and then it’ll be ready to slice and bake when you need it. Store the cookie dough in the fridge for up to five days.

Freezer: Alternatively, you can freeze your cookie dough. Freeze the entire log or if you plan on only baking a few cookies at a time, slice into half or thirds.

You’ll need to thaw the cookie dough slightly before slicing and baking. I recommend leaving it at room temperature for 15-30 minutes depending on your climate. Once it is soft enough to slice with a knife you are good to go. Don’t leave your cookie dough out at room temperature for too long or the cookies will spread when baked.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 cookie Calories: 184 Sugar: 11.1 g Sodium: 70.8 mg Fat: 8.3 g Carbohydrates: 25.7 g Protein: 2.5 g Cholesterol: 30.7 mg
Nutrition information is a guide only.
Author: Jessica HolmesCategory: CookiesCuisine: American
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