Turning out a new fave cookie

Occasionally (well, perhaps more often than occasionally), I become mesmerized by little cooking videos on the Internet. You know the ones, where an overhead camera view captures the step-by-step process (often sped up to keep the video short) that makes whatever is being made look like a snap. Maybe sometimes it is, but everything just appears too neat (plus chilling, cooking, baking and prep stuff is sometimes edited out), meaning it seems a far cry from what the overhead action would look like under my hand. Ha.

However, some videos have just looked too good to resist. Even — possibly — easy enough, too, to be an alluring proposition. Such was the case for the Slice-and-Bake Jammy Pinwheel Cookies video and recipe posted this past month by Bon Appetit magazine .

Around the first of November, the cookie onslaught begins (about like the pumpkin spice assault that launches in early September). If you are at all plugged in to the barrage of recipes for cookies during holiday time, it can be a little overwhelming. You want to make nearly everything, but simply cannot. I try to be selective, picking out a few here or there that I’d like to try, along with staying true to my old standby favorites. December usually yields a maximum of six different kinds of cookies coming from my oven.

One thing I noticed straightaway in the pinwheel recipe is that these cookies were stirred up in ONE BOWL. And with no mixer — all mixed by hand! I’m loving recipes these days that do that. Getting away from the motor-and-beaters method and getting back to how our kitchen predecessors did it — with their arms and spoons. This yummy dough stirs up quick and easy with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, salt and flour. Its elements resemble shortbread dough with added flavor. It was soft and delicate to roll out in a rectangle that required a little chilling before the next step.

I’m drawn to foods with jam in them, be they cookies (see blog of 12/15), cakes, scones or sandwiches. This cookie called for raspberry jam to be spread in a thin layer over the chilled dough rectangle. I had a full jar of strawberry and went with that.

The rolling of the cookie log was tricky, in that initially, it cracked a little. The recipe advised (rightly), letting the dough sit and warm just a little before proceeding, which worked, thankfully. Soon, a smooth log roll had formed.

The dough went into the freezer next, a step I love because, apparently, you could leave that roll in there for weeks until you are ready to bake — simply pull out to thaw in the fridge, then you are ready to go. I LOVE slice-and-bake cookies. The doughs are usually easy to put together, can be stored in the freezer or fridge and you only have to commit to the amount and amount of time in which you want to bake. Fresh cookies at the ready. This dough, once frozen for a bit, sliced pretty smoothly…any cracks or crumbles were easily repaired.

Baked at a low temp (325 degrees), kept these pretty cookies to a golden brown result, with no running — or burning — jam. They turned out so lovely, I wanted to stare at them, as if hypnotized by their fruity spirals.

Better than staring was eating. Uh-oh. A new favorite! The tender dough, flavored so nicely with cinnamon, the fresh strawberry accent layered within the swirls! Wow! I was going to wait to write about them, but couldn’t. If you are a cookie baker, you must try. Just roll with me on this one…

Jammy Slice-and-Bake Pinwheels
From Bon Appetit (www.bonappetit.com)
Makes about 30 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Place 1 stick of room-temperature butter in a medium bowl and work with a spatula, beating against side of bowl, until smooth and lump free. If butter is room temperature, this should happen fast. If it’s still a bit cold, work it vigorously.

Add ¼ cup sugar, ½ tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp. salt and mix with spatula until sugar is combined with butter and mixture is completely homogenous, about 2 minutes. You’re not looking for a light and fluffy texture the way you
normally would when you “cream” butter and sugar, just a smooth consistency.

Add 1 egg yolk, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 2 tsp. vanilla and mix with spatula until incorporated.

Add 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour and mix with spatula just until flour disappears and mixture comes together in a single, homogenous mass.

Lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour and place dough on top. Flour your hands and pat out dough into a rectangle that’s about ½” thick, adding more flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking.

Dust top of dough with more flour and place a sheet of parchment over. Roll out dough to an ⅛”-thick rectangle. The exact dimensions aren’t important, just make sure it’s wider than it is long and as close to a rectangle as possible (otherwise pinwheels will be a little wonky).

Remove top layer of parchment. Slide bottom parchment with dough onto a rimmed baking sheet. Chill until dough is firm, at least 20 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator and position baking sheet so 1 longer side is closest to you. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread ¼ cup preserves in a very thin layer across surface, leaving a½” border on all sides except side closest to you.

On that side, spread jam all the way to the edge.

Starting at side closest to you and using parchment to help you, roll up dough into a spiraled log. If dough cracks, stop rolling and let it sit for a few minutes until pliable. Rest log on seam and transfer baking sheet to freezer. Freeze until dough is very firm but not frozen, 10–15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with nonstick spray.

Transfer log to cutting board. Cut crosswise into ¼”-thick pinwheels, rotating log every few slices to maintain the round shape and wiping knife occasionally to remove jam. Transfer pinwheels to greased parchment-lined sheet, spacing 1″ apart.

Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and center of spiral is barely golden, 12–15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Arrange cookies on a plate and serve.

Do Ahead: Dough can be filled, rolled, and frozen 1 month ahead.
Wrap tightly in plastic. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before slicing and baking.

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