Cookie of the Day: Chocolate-Orange Pinwheels and Checkerboards

Cookie of the Day, Holidays

Despite their whimsical names, these are not children’s toys — though they are child’s play to make! These slice-and-bake cookies use two differently colored — and flavored — doughs to form a pinwheel or a checkerboard design.

 

Chocolate-Orange Pinwheels and Checkerboards

 

Cookie of the Day

Leading up to Christmas, we’ll be featuring one standout cookie recipe every day. Let the holiday cookie exchanges begin!

1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 oz. (30 g.) semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

1 large egg, separated

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. grated orange zest

2 tsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder

 

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler placed over (not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Remove from over the water and set aside to cool slightly.

 

By hand: In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and the dough is smooth.

 

By mixer: In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat on low speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated and the dough is smooth.

 

Divide the dough in half. Put one-half of the dough in a separate bowl and stir in the orange zest. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder to the dough remaining in the large bowl and mix on low speed or with a wooden spoon until blended completely into the dough. Gather up each portion of dough, form each into a 5-inch (13-cm.) square, and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

 

To make pinwheels: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. One at a time, place each dough portion between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out into a rectangle 10 by 5 inches (25 by 13 cm.) and about 1/8 inch (3 mm.) thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper from each rectangle. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg white until foamy. Brush it lightly over the top surface of the chocolate dough. Using the waxed paper, flip the chocolate dough onto the orange dough and press the doughs together. Peel off and discard the top piece of waxed paper. Trim the dough edges evenly. Roll up the 2 layers of dough into a tight log, removing the remaining piece of waxed paper as you roll. Gently press the seam along the length of the roll to seal it. Trim the ends evenly. The roll should be about 9 inches (23 cm.) long. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

 

To make checkerboards: Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut each piece of dough into 6 strips. One at a time, roll each strip between your palms into a rope 7 1/2 inches (19 cm.) long, flouring your hands lightly, if necessary. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg white until foamy. On a work surface, lay 3 ropes parallel to one another, alternating the colors — chocolate, orange, chocolate — and press the ropes together. Brush the egg white lightly on the top. Place a second set of 3 ropes of alternating colors — orange, chocolate, orange — on top of the first set of 3, press them together, and brush with egg white. Press the layers gently to seal them together. Repeat until you have a stack of 4 rows, always alternating the colors so that a checkerboard pattern is visible when the stack is viewed from the end. Do not brush the top row with egg white. Trim the ends evenly. The 4-sided strip will be about 7 inches (18 cm.) long. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the pinwheel or checkerboard log on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm.) thick. Place them 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart on the prepared baking sheets.

 

Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the edges just begin to turn lightly golden, 8-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes about 30 cookies.

 

Variations

 

Chocolate-Raspberry: Omit the orange zest from the light-colored dough. Add 5 teaspoons raspberry puree and 2 additional tablespoons flour to the light-colored dough.

 

Chocolate-Coffee: Omit the orange zest from the light-colored dough. Add 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder to 1 teaspoon hot water and stir to dissolve. Add to the light-colored dough.

 

Chocolate-Vanilla: Omit the orange zest from the light-colored dough. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the light-colored dough.

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