India celebrates completing 74 years of Independence and its 75th Independence Day in a few days. These Tricoloured Pinwheel Cookies reflecting the colours of the Indian flag are my contribution to marking this day on the blog.
These are difficult times and celebrations aren’t going to be quite the way they’ve been in previous years. Yet this is all the more reason to mark this day. We have a long way to go as a country, in many ways, with seventy five years behind us. There is no doubt we could have done so much but one cannot lose sight of the fact that India has its own peculiar challenges. All said, we should lose sight of what we do have and be thankful for it.
Pinwheel cookies are probably American in origin and very popular as Christmas cookies. They are pretty versatile and can be made with different coloured dough, or with or without fillings.
They look very pretty and seem rather difficult to make. In truth, they’re really easy and fun to make. Mix the dough together, divide into two or three, and colour the portions. Then roll each portion out, stack on top of another, roll up into a log. Then slice and bake. There is bit of refrigeration involved I between to make handling the dough easier, and this takes a little time.
The refrigeration of the dough makes these what are known as Ice Box Cookies. On the flip side, this also means you can make the dough on one day and bake on another, if you choose to do so. You can also freeze the sliced dough and bake a few cookies at a time. This means you can have freshly baked cookies whenever you want.
My Tricoloured Pinwheel Cookies are also egg free. Just do the following and your cookies will turn out perfect. This dough is a little soft and tacky when first mixed together. Dust the dough and your palms with a little flour to shape it into a ball. It will become easier to work with. The chilling will also help.
Use gel food colouring for best results. Add a little bit more colour than you want as the colour will be lighter after baking. Use parchment or waxed paper to roll each colour of dough out. Be light handed while rolling it out. Use the parchment to help transfer and stack the coloured on top of another. Make sure all three layers are the same thickness and size. This will ensure perfectly shaped pinwheel cookies.
It is important to make sure the dough log is really cold . So chill it for 4 to 5 hours at least. Overnight is great. Cut the slices about 1/4—inch thick. Refrigerate the sliced cookies and put them into the oven straight from the fridge. This will ensure the cookies don’t spread out in the oven. Watch them after 10 minutes. They’re ready when the edges are just beginning to turn brown. The top and side should not brown at all. These are crisp cookies.
You can use other colours if you want to bake them for other occasions. My other Indian Independence Day celebratory offerings Include this Tirange Chawal/ Rice, Cookie Bars and Tricoloured Flag Cookies.
Tricoloured Pinwheel Cookies
- 100 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Orange gel food coloring
- Green gel food coloring
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, with a hand held electric mixer, till light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and milk.
- In another bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this in two portions and mix till just combined. The dough should be a bit soft but not sticky. If not so, add a little flour to get this consistency. Do not add too much flour.
- Separate the dough into 3 equal sized pieces. Leave one portion uncoloured. Add orange food colouring to the second portion and green food colouring to the third portion of dough. Knead well till the dough is evenly coloured.
- Press each portion in a small rectangle and wrap separately in cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. This will make the dough easier to roll out.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap. Use two layers of waxed paper to roll the dough easily. Place the green coloured dough between the two sheets of waxed paper and roll out into a rectangle that’s about 1/8-inch thick. Keep aside.
- Similarly roll out the plain dough and the orange dough to roughly the same sized rectangle as the green one. Carefully place the white rectangle on the green one, and the orange one on this so the orange one is on the top.
- Trim the edges to make a neat rectangle. You can used the trimmed dough to roll into a couple of marbled cookies. Starting with the shorted end of the three layered rectangle, roll up as tightly as possible jelly roll style, into a log.
- Wrap in waxed paper or cling film and refrigerate the rolled dough overnight or for at least 4 to 5 hours. If you have the space, try storing the dough log upright to prevent it from flattening on the base when stored flat.
- When you're ready to bake take the dough log out and slice into 1/4 –inch thick pieces. Place on parchment lined or very lightly greased cookie sheets. Refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes. This prevents the cookies from spreading and thinning out on baking. If you plan to freeze the dough. This would be the point to do so.
- Bake the cookies at 180C (350F) for about 12 minutes. They should just start browning at the edges but still be pale on top. Let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes on the sheets, then cool completely on a rack. Store them in an airtight container.