I really had a lot of fun making these chocolate and pink heart pinwheel cookies. I love hearts, so I thought I would make heart-shaped pinwheel cookies. The cookie mold I used was just improvised, so simple and easy to make. Best of all, it costs next to nothing. You already have the materials sitting in your kitchen. I must say I wasn’t sure how the technique would turn out, or if it would work at all. That’s why I ended up making 3 batches of cookie dough, each time testing a different pattern. To my surprise, all 3 patterns came out fine and all were shaped like hearts.
I always want to have a plan B and even a plan C, so I was thinking if plan A didn’t work, at least I would still have two more cookie logs with different patterns ready to go. I first made the pink and white pinwheel cookies with a spiral swirl in the center. If only I had sliced that first batch to test if the spiral swirl pattern was successful, then I probably would have stopped right there and would not have made the second batch with the pink heart in the center and more so the third batch with the chocolate heart in the center.
I guess it’s just as well that I ended up making 3 batches, because this now gives 3 different options as far as patterns to choose from. I’ve included two recipes in the recipe box below. The first recipe makes either the swirl center cookies or the pink heart center cookies. The second recipe makes chocolate center pinwheel cookies. They all bake at 325°F for 18 minutes. But before anything, you have to start with this simple and easy to make cookie mold.
The heart cookie mold is made out of two cardboard inner tubes from empty kitchen paper towel rolls. Just cut each roll lengthwise and staple one side of each roll together. Then tape over the staple wires so you have a somewhat smooth surface. That’s it. The cookie dough will be wrapped with plastic wrap so it won’t be touching the cardboard. Never mind that it looks slightly—ok, very unglam. The important thing is that it works and best of all it doesn’t cost a thing. The length of each tube is about 11” so it’s perfect for a cookie log that’s between 8”– 9” long. Now, if you’re not in the habit of using kitchen paper towels, I suppose you can also improvise using other things like the cardboard center tube of wax paper perhaps, or maybe just stapling two pieces of cardboard together will work.
Cream the butter. I already have a step-by-step tutorial on how to make pinwheel cookies in my earlier post, but I thought I would include more photos here to show the visual cues of how each stage of making the dough looks right from the beginning. This will ensure nice textured dough and prevent any dough-rolling issues later on. Before adding the sifted dry ingredients, you want to have a mixture that is smooth and fluffy.
Add sifted dry ingredients. As you add the dry ingredients, the dough will start to bind and become firm. The photos show the progression of how the cookie dough should look. The dough is ready when it leaves the sides of the bowl, or, when you take a handful of dough and roll it between both hands, it easily forms a ball. If you liked playing with play dough as a kid, the texture is very similar to that.
Divide cookie dough and tint. Divide the dough leaving a little bit more than ½ in the bowl to tint. Set aside the dough outside of the bowl, which will form the white stripe. To the dough in the bowl, add the optional cherry extract first. It is optional because the dough has already been flavored with vanilla extract. But I like to flavor the pink portion just to give some contrast; plus, I love the all-natural cherry extract I used to make this earlier cherry chocolate chip layer cake. Add just a few drops of pink food color and mix it well so the color is distributed all throughout the dough. The dough tends to turn just a tad soft and sticky after adding the cherry flavor and the food color. Turn the mixer on to medium and beat the cookie dough for a few minutes until it becomes firm again. Shape both white and pink dough into balls.
Pink Heart Pinwheel Cookies with Spiral Swirl Centers. I’ll start out with the spiral swirl pattern first because that is the easiest to make. Again, you have to choose between the spiral center or the pink heart center. But the steps here in rolling the dough will apply to all three patterns.
- Take the white dough and place it on a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten it with the palm of your hand into a disc. Place another sheet of waxed paper over the disc.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle that’s about 8” – 9” wide and 12” – 12.5” long. Tip: keep rotating the dough to keep it even when you roll it. Set aside.
- Same as step 1. Do the same for the pink dough.
- Same as step 2. Roll the pink dough into a rectangle about 8” – 9” wide. Since there will be slightly more pink dough, roll it out more, to about 14” in long.
- Lay both sheets of dough side by side and peel the top waxed paper off of both sheets of dough.
- Here’s a tip that works for me. Before flipping the white dough onto the pink dough, trim the waxed paper at the top and bottom to bring it closer to the edges of the white dough. I find I can calculate exactly where I want to place the white dough on the pink dough when I trim the edges of the wax paper.
- Hold two corners of the white dough and gently flip it onto the pink dough. Peel off the waxed paper that was holding the white sheet of dough.
- Start rolling the stacked sheets of dough very tightly. You can use the wax paper beneath the pink dough to assist with rolling. When you reach halfway, with about two more turns to go, start rolling loosely. You have to give the dough some slack so that it has some space that can be molded into a heart shape. If the dough is rolled tightly all the way to the end, then it might break once you start molding it into a heart.
- Wrap the cookie dough log tightly in plastic wrap.
- Take that ultra sophisticated cardboard cookie dough mold and place the cookie dough log right in the center. Press down gently along the stapled seam to make the indentation for the heart. Shape the narrow end of the heart with your hands.
- Take both open ends of the cardboard mold and staple them closed as tightly around the dough as possible to retain the heart shape. If you look at the open end, you should see an upside down heart. Place the molded cookie log in a freezer safe container and freeze for about 2 hours or more.
- When you’re ready to bake the cookies, whenever that may be, take the cookie dough log that is now frozen solid. Let it thaw on the counter for a while so that it’s no longer frozen solid, but is still very cold and firm, and can be easily and cleanly sliced with a sharp knife. Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Slice each cookie to just about ¼” thick. Place the cookies in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 18 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and leave the cookies on the sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Pink Heart Pinwheel Cookies with Pink Heart Centers
- To make the pink heart in the center, start out by taking a small amount of pink dough, about 1 cup, more or less, enough to make a small log about 8” long and 1” in diameter. Wrap this small log in plastic wrap. Then use the back of a knife (not the sharp edge) to make an indentation in the center to form the top of the heart. Shape the bottom of the log to form the narrow end of the heart. Freeze this pink heart log while you roll the rest of the dough. Follow steps 1 – 7 above to roll the white dough and the remaining pink dough; roll the pink dough to about 8” x 12.5” and the white dough to about 8” x 12”.
- Place the frozen pink heart log on the short edge of the stacked white and pink sheets of dough. Same principle applies here. Roll it tightly until about halfway, then roll loosely the rest of the way.
- Wrap the cookie dough log in plastic wrap. The log will be pretty thick, about 3” at its widest point.
- Place the wrapped cookie dough in the cardboard heart cookie mold. Press it down gently along the stapled seam to make the indentation for the heart, and then shape the bottom to form the narrow point of the heart. Staple the open ends of the cookie mold to retain the heart shape. Store it in a freezer safe container and freeze.
- When ready to bake, slightly thaw the frozen cookie log so it’s easy to slice with a sharp knife. Slice each cookie to just about ¼” thick.
- Place the cookies in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 18 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 325°F. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cookies remain in the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.
Pink Heart Pinwheel Cookies with Chocolate Heart Centers. The pinwheel cookies that have the chocolate heart centers are made from the second recipe that’s also included below in the recipe box. Assembly is exactly the same as the pinwheel cookies with pink heart centers. The only difference is, chocolate flavored dough is used to form the heart center.
So there it is. If you decide to take a swing at these pink heart pinwheel cookies, just approach it with a relaxed and unhurried manner, kind of like playing with play dough. The process is just as much fun as the result.
When the cookie log is already frozen, it might be best to slice and bake just a few cookies to test how the pattern and shape turned out. You don’t have to do as I did and make two more batches for a total of 3 cookie logs, without testing the first batch.
If the cookies turn out fairly pretty, and chances are they will, then you can keep the rest of the cookie log back in the freezer and bake however many cookies whenever you feel like it. If they are less than perfect, which is highly unlikely, the cookies will still be delicious no matter what.
And again, if someone unexpectedly wants to drop by in a few minutes, just bake a few cookies and you can actually say that oh, this is something I just whipped up. And you did.
These pink heart pinwheel cookies might just be a good fit for Valentine’s, come to think of it.
Each recipe will make about 30 cookies, about 3” at the widest point.
I usually store cookies in a cookie jar, but I just stacked them this time and covered them with a heavy cake dome.
- 1 cup butter (226 g)
- 1 cup sugar (210 g)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (8 g)
- 2 tablespoons milk (30 g)
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (483 g)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (16 g)
- 1 teaspoon cherry extract (4 g) (optional)
- Few drops of pink food color
- 1 cup butter (226 g)
- 1 cup sugar (210 g)
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract (16 g)
- 2 tablespoons milk (30 g)
- 3 cups flour (414 g)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (16 g)
- 6 tablespoons cocoa (46 g) mixed with 2 tablespoons melted butter (29 g) and 2 tablespoons milk (30 g)
- 2 empty rolls of kitchen paper towels
- Stapler and tape
- Cut both empty paper towel cardboard rolls down the center. Staple the edges of both cardboard rolls together. Tape over the staple wires for an even surface. The center where the rolls are stapled and joined together will form the indented center of the heart.
- Sift the flour together with the baking powder. Set aside.
- With the flat beater of a stand mixer, on medium speed, cream the butter until smooth and free of lumps. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy.
- Add egg yolks one at a time beating until blended.
- Add vanilla extract and milk. Beat until well combined.
- Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients beating well. When all has been added, slightly increase mixer speed and beat for about 2 minutes or until dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Dough is ready when you press it between your hands and it can hold its shape without being crumbly.
- Remove about slightly less than ½ of the dough from the bowl and set aside. This portion will be the white swirl in the cookies.
- To the remaining dough in the bowl, add the optional cherry extract. Beat until well blended.
- Add a few drops of pink food color and tint until desired shade is reached. Beat dough very well. Dough should leave the sides of the bowl and hold its shape when pressed between your hands without being crumbly.
- For assembly, choose between spiral swirl centers OR pink heart centers.
- Form the white dough into a ball. Place it on a sheet of waxed paper then flatten it into a round disc with the palm of your hand. Place another sheet of waxed paper on the dough, and with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangular shape measuring about 8” x 12.5”. Set aside.
- Apply the same procedure above to the pink dough. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape measuring about 8” x 14”.
- Lay both pink and white sheets of dough side by side and remove the top waxed paper from both sheets. Flip the white sheet of dough onto the pink sheet of dough. Tip: before flipping the white dough, trim the waxed paper beneath it, closer to the top and bottom edges. This will make aligning the two sheets of dough easier. Peel the waxed paper off of the white sheet of cookie dough which is now on top of the pink dough.
- Start rolling the stacked dough sheets tightly into a log. You can use the waxed paper at the bottom of the pink dough to help in rolling. Important: when you reach about halfway, roll the dough loosely to give it some slack so you can shape the log into a heart.
- Wrap the log of cookie dough in plastic wrap. Place the log in the heart mold and gently press it down along the stapled seam to make an indentation for the center of the heart. Shape the pointed end of the heart with your hands. Close both edges of the mold and staple tightly so the dough holds its shape. Freeze the cookie dough log. If freezing the dough long-term, place it in a freezer safe container.
- Take enough pink dough, about 1 cup, more or less, to form a small heart-shaped log. Form the dough first into a thin log, about 8” long and 1” in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Make a slight indentation down the center of the log with the back of a knife (not the sharp edge) to form the center of the heart. Shape the narrow pointed end of the heart. Freeze this heart-shaped log while you roll out the pink and white sheets of dough.
- Follow steps 1 to 3 above, but roll the pink dough to about 8” x 12.5” and the white dough to about 8” x 12”.
- When you have flipped the white dough over the pink dough, take the small pink heart-shaped log from the freezer which should now be frozen enough to hold its shape. Roll the heart log tightly inside stacked pink and white sheets of dough. You can use the waxed paper beneath the pink dough to help in rolling. Important: when you reach about halfway, roll the dough loosely to give it some slack so you can shape the log into a heart.
- Follow step 5 above.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons milk for a few seconds in the microwave. Add 6 tablespoons cocoa and mix well. Set aside.
- Sift the flour together with the baking powder.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.
- Add vanilla extract, then 2 tablespoons milk beating until well mixed.
- At low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Increase speed to medium and beat for 3 – 5 minutes or until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Dough is ready when you press it between your hands and it can hold its shape without being crumbly.
- Separate the dough and leave only about ¾ cup in the mixing bowl. Beat the chocolate mixture with the small amount of dough remaining in the mixing bowl. This will form the chocolate heart center. Remove the chocolate dough from the bowl and set aside. Rinse and dry the bowl well before the next step.
- Take about ½ to ¾ of the white dough and place it in the mixing bowl. Add optional cherry extract and beat until well blended. Add a few drops of pink food color and tint until desired shade is reached. Beat dough very well.
- For assembly, follow steps above for the Pink Heart Pinwheel Cookies with Pink Heart Centers. The only difference is, for step 1, use the chocolate dough to form a narrow heart-shaped center.
- Baking time and temperature apply to all pinwheel cookie patterns. Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Thaw cookie log for a few minutes, just enough to slice easily with a sharp knife. Slice to about ¼” thickness. Bake for 18 minutes. Leave cookies on pan for about 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Chocolate and Pink Heart Pinwheel Cookies