Entertain The Kids This Holiday With Peppermint Pinwheels
Looking for a pretty baking project for your older kids? Look no further than these swirled peppermint slice-n-bakes. Packed full of minty flavor, these buttery cookies simply melt in your mouth. But let's be honest: In this bake, it's all about the looks. Using a jellyroll technique to press two colors of peppermint dough together results in a stunning swirled design. The sharp peppermint flavor, combined with the pretty red swirl, make these cookies reminiscent of nostalgic Christmas butter mints.
Mixing the dough for these cookies is quite straightforward; it's the layering and rolling that can get tricky. Since the rolling takes a little coordination, we recommend baking these Peppermint Pinwheels with your tweens or teens. For the young ones, you can always opt for something cute and sweet, like our Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Reindeer Pops.
Get the Recipe: Peppermint Pinwheels
Step 1: Make The Dough
Since these cookies start with a fairly standard sugar cookie dough, your teens should be able to make the dough on their own. Stick around in the kitchen to guide them through the process, but it's great to encourage independence at this stage. Once the dough is ready to be split into two parts, it's time for you to jump in to help.
Divide the dough into 2 equally-sized portions. If you own a food scale, go ahead and weigh out your dough to ensure that each half is equal in weight. Adjust each half's size as needed, and set one half aside (this part will remain white).
You'll want to show your kids how to knead the food coloring into the remaining half of cookie dough—almost like you're kneading bread. Working with food coloring can make quite a mess, so designate a clear work station for this step. We recommend wearing disposable gloves and setting out a cutting board to knead on (to ensure that you don't stain your countertops). Once you get this started, the kids can take it from here—knead until the color is even and well-incorporated into the dough. Shape each dough half into a disk and wrap separately; allow them to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before proceeding.
Step 2: Construct The Swirl
Unlike the swirl in a cake roulade, which is composed of a layer of cake and a layer of frosting, both of the layers in this cookie log are made from the same cookie dough (just in different colors). This actually makes the cookie log easier to roll up, as you don't have to worry about filling leaking out the sides.
To begin, you'll divide each dough half into 2 equal portions (this recipe makes 2 cookie logs), then your kids can roll the dough out into an 8-inch square. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it's important that the white and red dough are equal in size.
Stack the two squares of dough on top of each other, removing the wax paper from the upper layer. Now your kids can roll it up jelly roll-style. It's key to peel the wax paper from the red dough as you roll, or else you'll end up with paper irretrievably sandwiched in your cookie log.
Don't worry: The hard part is over. From here, you can just slice and bake. Feel free to save the second cookie log for a rainy day.