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Really Easy Pinwheel Cookies

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Really Easy Pinwheel Cookies is a quick 2-ingredient version of the original pinwheel cookies. Pastry dough with chocolate filling instead of dough.

White Plate of pinwheel cookies

Really Easy Pinwheel Cookies are great anytime. Just pull up a chair with your favorite hot drink or milk and enjoy!

It is believed that the original pinwheel cookie came out sometime in the 1930s, during the depression. They were one type of cookie called “ice box cookies”, which were cookies that required chilling.

An ice box was a non-electric type of refrigerator. In fact, my grandmother always called her electric refrigerator an ice box.

Regular pinwheel cookies use sugar dough, half of which is mixed with cocoa. The plain dough is rolled out into a rectangle and then the dough with cocoa is place on top of it. Then, they are rolled out into a log, sliced and baked.

Really Easy Pinwheel Cookies is a quick and simple substitute recipe to make anytime!

Just use a good sweet pie dough, roll out, cover with a good chocolate spread, roll, slice, and bake! That’s all there is to it!

Want to make it dairy free? Just use sweet dairy free pie dough!!

If I can bake, anyone can

I am the type who hates paying more for something than I feel it’s worth and and loathe paying a lot for something I can bake at home.

So, paying a lot of money for a cake similar to one I can bake on my own just doesn’t work for me.

My problem was that I couldn’t really make a layer cake. I could make one in a 9″ x 13″ pan, but not one that could be used for a birthday or celebration.

For years, I tried, failed, and gave up. Then again, tried, failed and gave up.

It normally wasn’t the taste that was the problem, it was other things such as density or lopsidedness.

One day, I decided that no matter what, I would learn to make a decent looking cake (I wasn’t even aiming for good-looking, just decent).

One day, my daughter Elissa came into the kitchen during one of my “I will learn to do this” phases and stopped.

“You are NOT really measuring oil in the palm of your hand!”

I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I couldn’t be bothered to stop what I was doing to get the measuring spoons and I certainly know what a tablespoon of oil should look like…

“You can’t bake the way you cook,” she informed me (I often cook by “it looks right” or “it tastes right”, not by directions – which I often find people make unnecessarily complicated).

Finally, I decided OK, I am going to follow directions. I will measure properly and that will be it. So, I did.

The cake came out tasting really good, but it was really heavy.

I complained to Elissa.

“I followed the directions and even measured and look at it!”

We decided that she would try the recipe to see what was wrong (she is great at following exact measurements and was tired of my complaining).

I read the instructions to her (off a very highly reviewed recipe) and was very gratified when it came out heavy for her too. Ha!

She insisted we go over the instructions again and she also wanted to see the original recipe. I gladly showed her.

“You doubled the recipe,” she accused me. “Why?”

“Because I wanted a higher cake.”

“That is NOT considered following directions. The recipe is for two pans and you put double in each pan, so it couldn’t rise.”

Oh. I took back my “ha” and never did that again.

After a while, I finally gave in. Now, I follow directions, measure properly, and use the proper tools.

Not surprising, everything I bake comes out as it should (of course…as long as I don’t forget to remove from the oven…!).

Baking Pantry Essentials

I never know when someone in my family is going to want a dessert at home, to bring to a friend’s house or need for an event, so I like to make sure I can bake anything with very short notice.  To that end, I keep a variety of supplies and ingredients in the house that will allow me to do just that. 

I can’t tell you how many times I was glad to have whatever I needed within reach for the last minute visitor or for when one of my kids went to a friend or had a school event without much prior notice.

I have slowly collected things over the years as I needed them (or if I found a good sale) and like to keep more than one of the smaller items, in case I don’t want to wash dishes in the middle of baking.

My basic “equipment” includes:

  • a stand mixer, which I use mostly for dough and, sometimes whipping
  • a hand mixer (for things that aren’t dough and I don’t want to mix manually)
  • a small scale
  • different sizes and shapes of baking pans, including loaf pans
  • mixing bowls (or just large bowls – I have plastic, glass, and metal)
  • cookie sheets 
  • pie dishes
  • dry measuring cups
  • liquid measuring cups
  • whisks
  • rubber spatulas (really good for when you don’t want to leave anything in the bowl)
  • rolling pins
  • a baking mat for rolling out dough
  • baking strips
  • a good supply of baking (or parchment) paper (also round for layer cakes)

I can certainly get by without a lot of the above, but it makes baking so much simpler when I just have whatever I need at my fingertips.

In addition to the equipment, there are the baking ingredients that I try to keep in the house at all times: 

  • flour
  • white granulated sugar
  • brown sugar (light/dark – I usually keep dark)
  • confectioners sugar(powdered sugar)
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • baking soda 
  • cocoa powder
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground ginger
  • ground cloves
  • baking chocolate
  • chocolate chips
  • instant dry yeast
  • vanilla and/or vanilla sugar
  • cooking oil/cooking spray
  • margarine or butter
  • eggs
  • honey
  • instant coffee
  • various extracts (real or imitation)

I also make sure that I have the following on hand to be able to make a variety of fillings, frostings, and toppings:

  • whipping cream
  • powdered pudding mix
  • powdered sugar
  • a good chocolate spread

Then, there is the following to make last-minute quick desserts:

  • packaged pie dough or ready-made pie crusts
  • puff pastry dough

Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to keep fun toppings, such as chopped walnuts, raisins, and the oh-so-important container of sprinkles.

Want another really easy cookie recipe? Try Really Easy Sugar Cookies.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Really Easy Pinwheel Cookies

White Plate of pinwheel cookies

Easy to make 2-ingredient pinwheel cookes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Approximately 1 pound of chilled ready-made pie dough, preferably sweet (* see notes)
  • quality (not thin) chocolate spread, at least 8 ounces or date spread


  1. Roll out pie crust dough (rectangle shape, approx 1/8" thick - a little more is fine) onto a mat or table where it won't stick and won't slide around either.
  2. Generously spread on chocolate or date spread to cover the entire sheet of dough.
  3. Roll dough into a log from the longest side, so the log will be longer than if you rolled the other way.
  4. Slice the width into 1/4" - 1/3" rings (thicker is fine if you like, however the thicker the rings, the thicker the cookies, and the less cookies you will have).
  5. Lay flat on a greased or lined cookie sheet, leaving around 1/2" space between each of the cookies.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the dough is no longer soft to the touch.


* There is no standard for the size of the rolled out pie dough or the amount of chocolate you might want to spread. The longer your roll, the more cookies you will have and the same for cutting the width/thickenss of the rings you cut from the log. If you prefer less, but larger cookies, roll the sheet of dough from the shorter side. This will give you more swirls and larger cookies, but less of them.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

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