Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies
Pinwheel cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday cookie tin! I flavored these with warm flavors of pistachio and almond. They are colorful, festive, and so pretty! Pinwheel cookies are made by rolling 2 doughs together, slicing, then baking. Slice-and-bake cookies are so convenient to have on hand and can be frozen for months.
PISTACHIO PINWHEEL COOKIES OVERVIEW
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: The Creaming Method for Cookies
Why Pinwheel Cookies are perfect for your holiday cookie tin
- A pinwheel cookie dough log can be chilled in the refrigerator or freezer for days or even months! This makes them so convenient to prep in advance and bake off right before assembling your cookie tins.
- These pistachio pinwheels will brighten up your cookie tin with their festive green color!
- Pistachio flavors are classic for the holidays but aren’t completely overdone which makes these a unique cookie to include in your holiday box.
Orange Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies: add 1 tablespoon orange zest to the almond dough.
Christmas Pinwheel Cookies: add 2-3 drops of red food coloring to the almond dough. Combine until the dough is bright red. Add more coloring if desired. Roll the dough log in colorful holiday sprinkles.
Halloween Pinwheel Cookies: add 2-3 drops of purple food coloring to the almond dough. Combine until the dough is bright purple. Add more coloring if desired. Roll the dough log in purple sanding sugar.
HOW TO MAKE PISTACHIO PINWHEEL COOKIES
STEP 1: MAKE THE ALMOND COOKIE DOUGH
Make the almond dough by creaming together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the sugar is incorporated.
Add the egg yolks and almond extract to the mixing bowl. Fully mix together until combined. Add the all-purpose flour and salt and mix just until the dough comes together into a ball. At this point, you don’t want to over-mix it since you will mix it further in later steps.
Divide the dough by removing about 1/3 of the dough, put in another bowl, and set aside. This will become the pistachio dough. To the mixing bowl with the remaining 2/3 of the dough, mix in the almond flour. This is now the almond dough.
Place the almond dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to pat it down into a rectangular shape. Place another piece of parchment paper over the top. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 x 8 inch (30 x 20 cm) rectangle. Adjust the edges of the rectangle by removing the top layer of parchment paper and use a bench knife or spatula to push the edges to make a right angle on all corners.
Move the dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you make the pistachio dough.
STEP 2: MAKE THE PISTACHIO COOKIE DOUGH
Add the ground pistachio flour to the mixing bowl with the remaining dough. Add a few drops of green food coloring and mix the dough. Mix until all the pistachio flour is incorporated. Add in more green coloring if desired. I went for a bright green color since it will darken a bit after baking. Set the dough aside.
STEP 3: ASSEMBLE THE PINWHEELS
Remove the almond dough from the refrigerator and remove the top layer of parchment paper. Spoon the pistachio dough over the top and spread it out using a spatula into an even layer. Leave about a 1/2 inch border on both of the long sides.
Starting at the long side and with the help of the parchment paper, roll the dough into a tight log. As you roll, use a bench knife to scrape any pieces of dough that stick to the parchment paper and press it back onto the log. Wrap the log in the parchment paper and refrigerator for at least 1 hour until very firm.
STEP 4: PREPARE THE ROLLING MIXTURE
Prepare the rolling mixture by chopping the pistachios using a chef knife or food processor. The pistachio pieces shouldn’t be too large or they will fall off the cookie but they should be larger than ground flour. Combine the chopped pistachios with granulated sugar.
Pour the mixture onto a baking pan with sides like a cookie sheet or casserole dish.
STEP 5: SLICE AND BAKE
Remove the dough log from the refrigerator and remove the parchment paper. Roll the dough log over the rolling mixture pressing down firmly so it sticks. Keep rolling until it’s fully coated all over. At this time, remove the flat side of the round log that was caused by it sitting in the refrigerator. Use your hand to push the flat edge in and round it off.
After the dough is fully covered in the mixture, set it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or bench knife (my preference) slice the log into 32 equal pieces. Divide the cookies between 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake 1 sheet at a time until the chopped pistachios are lightly golden brown. The almond dough will also turn a bit golden but not too much. You want it to remain light in color. Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
How do you keep slice-and-bake cookies round?
After you chill the dough log, there will be a flat spot on one side from sitting on the refrigerator shelf. To remove, you can simply use your hands to push in the flat edges to round it off. You can also roll the log like a rolling pin with your hands on the counter until you get a round shape.
When slicing the dough, make sure the dough is very cold. If it’s gotten too warm, place it back in the refrigerator until very firm before slicing.
Are icebox cookies the same as slice-and-bake cookies?
Yes! Icebox cookies (also known as slice-and-bake cookies or refrigerator cookies) are rolled into a log and refrigerated overnight. They can also be frozen for even longer. They are sliced and then baked whenever you want freshly baked cookies.
Prep & Storage for Pistachio Pinwheel Cookies
Slice-and-bake cookies are the perfect cookie dough to prep in advance! The cookie dough log keeps well in your refrigerator or freezer.
How to store in the refrigerator or freezer: After rolling the dough into a log, wrap it in either parchment paper or plastic wrap then place the log in a large zipper bag. Refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days before baking or freeze for up to 2 months.
How to bake from frozen: Remove the frozen log from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator, slice, and then bake. The cookies can be baked while still chilled from the refrigerator.
How to store baked cookies: Baked cookies will remain fresh at room temperature or stored in an airtight container or zipper bag for up to 5 days.
Baked cookies can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Use parchment or wax paper in between layers of cookies so that they do not stick together.
For the dough
- 85 grams (⅔ cup) raw unsalted pistachios, shelled*
- 170 grams (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 105 grams (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons) powdered sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 150 grams (1 ⅓ cups) finely ground almond flour
- a few drops green food coloring
- 60 grams (½ cup) raw unsalted pistachios, shelled*
- 50 grams (¼ cup) granulated sugar
- In a food processor, pulse the pistachios for the dough (85 grams/ ⅔ cup) until they're finely ground but stop before they form a paste. Set aside.
Make the Almond Dough
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, combine room temperature butter (170 grams/ ¾ cup) and powdered sugar (105 grams/ ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons). Start off on low until the sugar is incorporated and then beat on high for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl periodically.
- Add egg yolks (2 large) and almond extract (½ teaspoon) into the mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add all-purpose flour (120 grams/ 1 cup) and salt (½ teaspoon) into the mixing bowl and stir just until combined. Once it turns into a dough ball stop mixing. Do not over-mix.
- Transfer ⅓ of the dough (this will be about 135 grams) to a medium bowl and set aside.
- To the mixing bowl with the remaining ⅔ of dough add almond flour (150 grams/ 1 ⅓ cups). Mix until it's fully combined.
- Pour the almond dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Pat it down with your hands into a rough rectangle shape. Place another piece of parchment paper over the top. Roll the dough between the sheets of parchment paper until it's about ¼ inch (0.63 cm) thick. The rectangle should be about 12 x 8 inches (30 x 20 cm). Use a bench knife or spatula to nudge the edges of the dough to straighten.
- Slide the parchment paper of dough onto a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator until firm about 10-15 minutes.
Make the Pistachio Dough
- Add the finely ground pistachios to the remaining dough. Mix together using a rubber spatula until completely combined. Add a few drops of green food coloring and thoroughly mix together. I added 2-3 drops to my dough. Set aside at room temperature.
- Remove the almond dough from the refrigerator and remove the top layer of parchment paper. Drop tablespoon-sized drops of pistachio dough on top of the almond dough. Using an offset spatula spread the pistachio layer evenly across the rectangle leaving a ½ inch (1.27 cm) border on both long sides.
- Starting at one of the longer sides and with the help of the parchment paper, roll the dough into a tight log. As you roll, use a bench knife to scrape any pieces of dough that stick to the parchment paper. Wrap the log in the parchment paper and refrigerator for at least 1 hour until very firm.
Slice and Bake
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Prepare the rolling mixture: Place the pistachios (60 grams/ ½ cup) in a food processor and chop until coarsely ground. They should be small crumbs but not as thin as finely ground flour. Mix the chopped pistachios with the granulated sugar (50 grams/ ¼ cup).
- Pour the pistachio/sugar mixture on a cutting board, another baking sheet, or silicone mat. Remove the log from the refrigerator and remove the parchment paper. Roll the log across the mixture pressing down very firmly so that the mixture adheres. Repeat until the log is fully coated. Take this time to remove the flat side of the log by pushing in the edges to round it off.
- Using a sharp knife or bench knife (my preference) slice the very edge of both sides of the log so that the edges are straight. Cut the log in half, then cut each half into quarters. Then cut each quarter in half and then half again. This will make 32 cookies.
- Place the rounds onto the baking sheets, 16 per sheet. The cookies will not spread very much. Bake one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes. Chill the 2nd baking sheet in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- Let cool completely.
*Do not use pre-roasted pistachios because they will turn the pistachio dough more of a brown color instead of green.