Today is a day that’s definitely worthy of a special dessert – Shane is celebrating a birthday!! I wont spill the beans on his age but it doesn’t really matter because at heart he’s still a big kid. He loves to laugh and be silly, and if you peeked into his “man cave” in our basement, you’d find toys and video games galore. He’s laid back and calm, in stark contrast to my stressed Type A personality; he’s talked me off the ledge more times than I’d like to admit. It’s our ninth year (!!) celebrating his birthday together, and I hope there are many, many more ahead 🙂
A big layer cake might have been more appropriate for a birthday celebration, but with just two of us, we decided to go in a different direction. I’ve had these Nutella pinwheels bookmarked for a while, so when my friend Jeannette suggested we bake them together recently, I jumped at the chance. The pinwheel cookies are not only fun and festive, but they’re super simple to throw together. The dough can be made ahead of time too, and once you do bake the cookies they are good for about a week, so they’d be a great addition to your holiday baking plans this year. The pinwheels are buttery and crisp and pack a surprising Nutella punch, given the relatively small amount in each cookie. Shane took them to work to share today. If you have to work on your birthday, cookies definitely make things a little easier!
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella, divided
Whisk the flour and salt together in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, beating until a soft dough comes together. Turn the dough onto your work surface and shape into a square. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Working with one half of the dough at a time, unwrap and place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top and roll the dough into a rectangle measuring about 10×8-inches – the dough should be approximately 1/4-inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and use an offset spatula to spread 1/4 cup of the Nutella in a thin layer over the dough, leaving just a tiny border around the edge.
With a long side of the rectangle facing you, use the parchment paper to help you roll the dough into a tight log (my dough cracked slightly at first, but once I got it going, it was fine). Wrap the log in plastic wrap and freeze for 15-20 minutes. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unwrap the logs and slice them into 1/4-1/3-inch rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges and set in the center. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool the cookies for a few minutes before using a spatula to remove them to the rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining rounds (be sure to cool the baking sheet between batches). Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies