Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels

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Sugar cookie dough infused with chocolate and peppermint and swirled into a lovely pinwheel.

Source: Alton Brown, on the Food Network Site.

Yield: about 20 giant cookies

Perhaps the only flavor combination to come close to the amazing wonder of chocolate and peanut butter together is chocolate and peppermint.  For years I have been telling people that my favorite ice cream is peppermint… smothered in hot fudge.  (Unfortunately, good peppermint ice cream is not easy to come by.  I personally prefer the variety made at the Utah State University creamery, which is, even more unfortunately, only available seasonally.)   When I found this recipe, I was very excited to try it.  It has all my favorite things in it.

You may have noticed that my batch did not turn out exactly professional looking.  In fact, they are downright ugly.  My husband advised me to make a new batch before posting, but I disagreed.  I will, however, explain why mine turned out so weird-looking so you can avoid this mistake.

The recipe begins with sugar cookie dough.  You can use Alton’s Brown’s recipe here or you can do what I did and use my amazing Soft Sugar Cookie recipe.  Either way, you start by just making up the sugar cookie dough.  Then you split the dough in half.

To one half, add: 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp. peppermint extract, and 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy cane.

The real problem was that I didn’t have any peppermint candy.  I was pretty sure there were one or two candy canes left from Christmas, but as it turns out, a cute little blue-eyed, befreckled, 9-year-old that lives with me ate them all.  Every last one.  Fortunately, I remembered the peppermint chips I bought on a whim several months ago when I saw them on clearance at the grocery store.  They worked perfectly.

To the other half of the dough, add: 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted; and 1 tsp. vanilla.

First of all, I didn’t add the vanilla, because my cookie dough already had vanilla in it.  Second, the chocolate doesn’t mix in all that easily.  I had to get my hands dirty.  It took a few minutes, but I did finally get it all incorporated.

For my next step, I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated it for a couple hours.

This is the part where things started going awry.  Alton Brown says to chill for just a few minutes before rolling out, but I chilled it for a couple hours.  The real problem, though, was the next step.  You roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness (which is quite thick) and then layer the two doughs together.  Easier said than done.

I had a tough time layering these without watching them fall apart.  I recommend having a good amount of space to roll out, so you can do them side by side.  Once you succeed at the dough layering, start rolling the dough.  This was the next problem, for me.  Rolling this dough is kind of a two man job.  If you have a friend nearby, get some help with the rolling.  My first attempt was a disaster.

The dough tore because I had folded it in half to allow room to roll out the other dough.  I got frustrated and tore it apart.  My second effort turned out much nicer.

This was where I really messed up.  Alton Brown’s instructions say to wrap the log in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for a couple hours.  I skipped this step entirely.  (Call me lazy.  Or impatient.)  I wished I hadn’t.  If I had it to do over, I would certainly NOT skip this step.  It will make the next step easier, and give you a nicer-looking result.

The last step is to cut slices of the log, place them on the baking sheet, and bake.  I rotated the log a quarter turn after each slice, to keep the slices from getting squished-looking.  I sliced them to about 1/8″ each.  Some of them were thicker, and they had a hard time baking.  I baked them at 350 for 15 minutes, and they needed the entire 15 minutes.

I wondered when I read the recipe whether this cookie would need frosting.  I personally believe sugar cookies are made exponentially more tasty when frosted.  However, these are great without it.  Many of mine turned out rather humongous, and they are quite sweet, so you will not feel like you are losing out on any sugar when you eat them, trust me.

Be sure to store these in an airtight container within an hour or two of baking so they don’t dry out.  I think I will add these to my Christmas cookie rotation.  They are a great homage to one of my favorite flavor combinations!

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