When my grandmother died, I was lucky enough to receive a few of her hand written recipe cards. Â They were divided up among the family and I got a handful that included many cookie recipes. Â Of course, there are about five different ones for sugar cookies and I still don’t think I have her exact recipe. Â I have never successfully recreated hers — which are drop sugar cookies and cakey rather than chewy. Â And even if she had written it down, it probably would have said something to the effect of “Cream some butter with sugar and eggs. Â Add a few handfuls of flour, a spoonful of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Bake in a medium hot oven for as long as it takes.” Â Exact recipes were not her thing.
While I was figuring out which Christmas cookies to bake, one recipe that caught my eye was called “Whirligig Cookies.” Â At first, I thought the name indicated that these were pantry cleaning cookies — because in my family, the corner lazy susan cabinets were always called “whirligigs.” Â And of course, that’s where all the baking supplies were usually kept in the days before giant walk in pantries. Â But who knows — they are a pinwheel/jelly roll style cookie, so maybe that’s how they got their name.
In the end, I don’t really even remember her making these, but they sounded interesting so I gave it a try. Â I substituted sunflower seed butter for peanut butter (b/c of our peanut allergies), white whole wheat flour for the all purpose, and cut the sugar in half. Â You could obviously use regular peanut butter and regular flour if you like — and feel free to up the sugar to 1 cup of each brown and white sugars. Â It’s Christmas time baby.
Whole Grain Whirligig Cookies
Makes about three dozen large cookies
1 cup of butter, softened (two sticks)
1/2 cup sugar (can use up to one cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar (can use up to one cup)
1 cup of sunflower seed butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. Â In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, and sunflower seed butter together with an electric mixer for about two minutes until light and fluffy. Â Add eggs, one at at time, and beat until incorporated.
2. Â In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. Â In about 2-3 additions, add flour mixture to butter mixture — mixing only until just incorporated. Â Finish mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon. Put finished cookie dough in the fridge for a few minutes.
4. Meanwhile, over low heat or in a double boiler, melt chocolate. Â Let cool slightly.
5. Â Remove dough from fridge and place on a large sheet of parchment paper. Â Using either a rolling pin (it helped to oil my rolling pin a bit) or just patting it with your hands, flatten into a 12×14 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Â This is cookie dough, so be a little gentle with it because it is very tender.
6. Â Pour most of melted chocolate on top of dough rectangle and spread evenly over entire surface. Â Use more if needed (it will depend on the size of your final rectangle).
7. Â Using the parchment paper to help, carefully roll up the dough rectangle jelly roll style in order to make one large “log.” Â (Warning: Â this will be messy and chocolate will probably ooze out. Â Just be gentle while you are rolling it up and attempt to wrap it with the seam side down.) Â Wrap parchment around it and place in fridge for 45 minutes to an hour, until dough and chocolate have hardened.
8. Â Preheat oven to 375 F. Â Remove dough from fridge and, using a very sharp knife, cut into 1/3 inch slices (or as thick as you want them). Â Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the slices on it cut side up. Â Bake for 12-13 minutes until just barely golden. Â Do not overbake or they will dry out.
(Alternatively, you can cut your large rectangle of dough into two skinny rectangles if you want smaller cookies. Â As is, these cookies turn out rather large (about 3 inches across).