Vanilla Chai Pinwheel Cookies

Photography, Recipe Development, and Food Styling by Becky Sue Wilberding

In this well-spiced cookie recipe by Becky Sue Wilberding, the blogger behind Baking The Goods, vanilla and chai-spiced doughs are swirled together in a hypnotizing spiral of simple sweetness and aromatic spice. Sparkling sugar edges add some extra crunch and beautiful texture. Find more spiced cookies in our Holiday Cookies 2018 special issue!

Vanilla Chai Pinwheel Cookies
 
Makes 40
Ingredients
  • 2¾ cups (344 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon (1.5 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ cup (115 grams) pecan halves
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
  • ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams), divided
  • 2½ teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla extract, divided
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sparkling or turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1¼ cups (156 grams) flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder, ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt, allspice, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Arrange pecans on a baking sheet, and toast until they start to deepen in color, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to the work bowl of a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons flour mixture, and pulse until pecans are finely ground. (The flour will absorb the oils from the nuts and will prevent a nut butter from forming in the food processor.) Add pecan mixture to remaining flour mixture, whisking to combine.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat ½ cup (113 grams) butter and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar and remaining ½ cup (113 grams) butter at medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1 egg (50 grams) and remaining 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) vanilla, beating until combined.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, remaining ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder, and remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until combined. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Let doughs stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, roll vanilla cookie dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle, ⅛ inch thick. Transfer dough on parchment to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat procedure with chai cookie dough.
  8. Transfer vanilla cookie dough on parchment to a flat surface. Carefully invert chai cookie dough on top of vanilla cookie dough. Between sheets of parchment, gently roll over doughs a few times to press together. Peel away top sheet of parchment.
  9. Starting at one long side, roll dough into a log, using bottom sheet of parchment to help lift and roll. (If dough cracks, stop rolling, and let stand for a few minutes until pliable.) Be sure to roll doughs together as tight as possible to avoid gaps. Tightly wrap in parchment paper, twisting ends to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or freeze until ready to use.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 egg (50 grams). Brush log with egg wash, and sprinkle with sparkling or turbinado sugar. Roll back and forth a few times so sugar sticks to log. Using a sharp knife, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
  12. Bake in upper and middle racks of oven until edges are just beginning to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool completely on pans. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Notes
Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Use 1 to 2 paper towel rolls sliced lengthwise to keep the dough log from flattening on one side.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. The first instruction says to preheat the oven, but you won’t need the oven for at least 3 hours. That instruction is repeated in Step 10. There is also a typo in Step 5. I think it should be 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.

    • Hey Lin,

      The first oven temperature is for toasting your pecans. You are right about the second addition of vanilla–we meant for it to read 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. We have fixed this. Thank you for pointing it out!

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