These gorgeous icebox pinwheel cookies look like edible Christmas ornaments and would be a perfect choice for a holiday cookie platter, or giving as gifts, if you can bear to part with them. If at all possible, use a kitchen scale to measure out perfectly equal portions of the dough before coloring them. The intensity of your red and green dough will depend on how much food coloring you use and what kind. Here, Elisabet der Nederlanden used 1/8 teaspoon green gel food coloring and 1/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring to achieve vibrant results. She also has fantastic recipes for Red Velvet Crackle Cookies and Hot Chocolate Cookies with Aleppo Pepper.

For more graphically appealing baked goods, try our Checkerboard Cookies recipe, and our Linzer Sablés recipe.

  • Yield: 45 cookies
  • Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients (9)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red and green gel food coloring
  • Red or green coarse decorating sugar, for decorating


  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then whisk in the salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and granulated sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
  2. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into three equal portions.
  3. Using your hands, shape one portion into an even 4 by 6-inch rectangle. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap.
  4. Return one of the remaining dough portions to the mixer bowl, add the red gel food coloring, and mix the dough on low speed until evenly colored. Dust the work surface with fresh flour, scrape the red dough out onto it, and then shape the dough into an even 4 by 6-inch rectangle. Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap.
  5. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and paddle, then repeat with the remaining portion of dough, adding the green gel food coloring and shaping the dough into a rectangle. Refrigerate all of the dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Spoon the coarse sugar onto a large, flat plate or baking pan, creating a thin, even layer.
  7. On a lightly floured, large work surface, roll out each dough rectangle into a rectangle about 11 by 7 inches.
  8. Starting with the white dough as the base, stack the rectangles on top of one another. Run the rolling pin over the stack a few times to make sure everything is even and to compress it a little. The stack will roll out a few inches larger. Now, using a sharp knife, trim off a very small amount on all sides to create a perfect rectangle of about 13 inches by 10 inches. Starting from a long side, roll up the stack tightly to create a log. Roll the log in the coarse sugar, coating it evenly, then wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning it a few times to prevent it from developing a flat side.
  9. Position two oven racks, evenly spaced, in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange fifteen slices on each of the prepared baking sheets, spacing them evenly (hold the remaining slices in the fridge until ready to bake).
  11. Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until a little puffed and set to the touch, switching the baking sheets between the racks halfway through the baking time. Transfer the baking sheet to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely before serving.