Classic chocolate pinwheel cookies are a fun & pretty treat

Brown sugar pinwheel cookies with cocoa recipe from 1999

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Pinwheel cookies — also known as swirl cookies or spiral cookies — are made by layering two different colored doughs together and then rolling them into a log shape. When the dough is sliced, the layers of dough create a swirl or pinwheel pattern that is both visually striking and fun to make.

Chocolate pinwheel cookies are similar in concept to marbled or layered cakes and breads, which have been popular for centuries. It is possible that the pinwheel cookie originated as a way to create a similar marbled effect in a smaller, individual-sized dessert.

Making chocolate pinwheel cookies can be a fun and creative activity, especially for little ones. To make pinwheel cookies, you will need to make two different colored doughs, such as chocolate and vanilla — like this recipe for classic chocolate pinwheel cookies — or red and green for Christmas pinwheel cookies.

Once you’ve prepared the different colors of dough, they are rolled out into thin sheets and placed one on top of the other. They’re then carefully rolled up into a log shape and chilled until firm. Once chilled, the log of dough is sliced into thin rounds, revealing the pinwheel pattern within. The cookies can then be baked according to the recipe instructions.

Pinwheel cookies are a unique and pretty dessert that are sure to impress and delight anyone who tries them. Plus they’re a fun and creative way to add a bit of whimsy and color to any dessert tray.

Pinwheel cookies are tasty & fun to make

By Winnifred Jardine – Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah) December 7, 1956

Chocolate pinwheel cookies — with cocoa and vanilla layers — are some of the most intriguing of sweets to children. And adults are partial to them, too, we’ve found.

They’re made from a very simple cookie recipe — made of only the most basic ingredients. Then the dough is divided in half and one-half is mixed with chocolate. The doughs are chilled, then rolled out into rectangles on waxed paper.

This is where a bit of practice comes in. To make the rectangles quite symmetrical, we trim off the ragged edges and use the scraps to fill in corners. Perhaps you’ll work out your own method.

When both rectangles are made — chocolate and vanilla — they’re put together and then you roll up the two rectangles.

After the roll is made, press it with your hands to be sure the two kinds of dough are solid together all the way through, leaving no air holes.

Dough for chocolate pinwheel cookies
Photo by Blinztree/Deposit Photos

Now once more it’s chilled, and then the slicing begins. And what fun! For there you have perfect pinwheels, chocolate and vanilla, intriguing, delightful, and not rich nor too sweet.

We heartily recommend them — you may get so intrigued with them you’ll never get on to making any other kind. (Incidentally, we usually double the recipe when we make them.)

Chocolate pinwheel cookie recipe with brown sugar & vanilla

Swirls of cocoa punctuate the brown sugar and vanilla flavor of these pinwheel cookies.

Brown sugar pinwheel cookies with cocoa
Photo by natkin_zu/Deposit Photos
The inspiration: Domino’s brown sugar chocolate pinwheel cookies (1999)

Alicia Cedar dares to be different. Drinks milk without checking the expiration date. Encourages her kids to take chances. Never takes chances when it comes to her brown sugar Pinwheels.

Baking is no time to live on the edge. That’s why Alicia only trusts Domino light brown sugar. With its natural delicate cane molasses flavor, it’s the #1 cane sugar in America.

Brown sugar pinwheel cookie recipe (1994)

Brown sugar pinwheel cookies with cocoa recipe from 1999

Chocolate pinwheel cookies with brown sugar and vanilla

Yield: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

This retro recipe is based on one published by Domino Sugar in the late 1990s.


  • 1 cup firmly packed Domino light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened


  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F).
  2. Grease cookie sheets.
  3. Beat brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla; beat until creamy.
  5. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture.
  6. Divide dough in half.
  7. Add cocoa to one-half of the dough until fully incorporated.
  8. Chill both cocoa and plain vanilla dough for at least 2 hours.
  9. Roll chilled dough separately on floured waxed paper into 2 rectangles, about 1/4-inch thick.
  10. Top one with the other; press together with a rolling pin.
  11. Roll up lengthwise, jelly roll fashion.
  12. Trim edges; wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  13. When firm, cut the roll into 1/4-inch slices and place on prepared cookie sheets.
  14. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
  15. Cool completely before serving.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 71Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Click Americana offers approximate nutrition information as a general reference only, and we make no warranties regarding its accuracy. Please make any necessary calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, and consult with a qualified healthcare professional if you have dietary concerns.

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03/13/2024 02:20 am GMT

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