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Cook's Corner: A playful whirl at a St. Paddy's treat

Thursday, March 13, 2003

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

St. Patrick's Day isn't all green beer and Irish whisky. If you're looking for a sweet treat suitable for children, get out the green food coloring and crack open your recipe box for your favorite cookie recipes.

Thumbprint cookies look stunning with a glob of emerald icing. Or go the easy route and purchase refrigerated sugar cookie dough and go to Dublin town with a shamrock cookie cutter and some green sugar sprinkles or icing.

We wanted to try something new this year: St. Pat's Pinwheels. A rich, buttery-tasting cookie with a bracing whiff of mint, the pinwheel cookie is a bit tricky to assemble, but the result is whimsical and eye-catching. The trick is to allow enough chilling time to get the dough to set up firm. Once the dough pinwheel is rolled and chilled, let the kids do the slicing and baking.

This cookie is a keeper and easily adaptable to other holidays. We're already planning to use red food coloring and christen it Candy Cane Pinwheels for our Christmas cookie tray.

St. Pat's Pinwheels

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 1 cup butter-flavor vegetable shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup or regular pancake syrup (we used corn syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Green food coloring

In a large bowl, beat sugar and shortening with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, syrup and vanilla; beat until well blended and fluffy.

Combine 3 cups of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add gradually to shortening mixture, beating at low speed until well blended.

Remove half of dough and shape into flattened oblong. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

To remaining dough, add extract and food coloring, a few drops at a time to achieve desired shade of green. Mix well. Shape into flattened oblong, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Chill doughs for several hours or until firm. (Ours was still fairly soft after three hours.)

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of flour on large sheet of waxed paper. Place peppermint dough on paper. Turn over to coat both sides with a little bit of flour. Cover with second sheet of waxed paper. Roll dough into a 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Set aside. Repeat with plain dough.

Remove top sheet of paper from both doughs. Invert plain dough onto peppermint dough, aligning edges carefully. (This is where it gets very tricky. Our dough was still rather soft and it fell apart. We were able to gather it up gently and reroll it and start again. We got it on the second try scrolling the plain dough in the paper, then unscrolling it on top of the peppermint rectangle.) Roll layers together gently.

Remove waxed paper from plain dough. Trim edges to form rectangle. Roll dough tightly in jellyroll fashion starting with the long side and using the bottom sheet of waxed paper as a guide, removing the paper as you roll. Wrap finished roll in waxed paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until very firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove roll from freezer and remove wrapping. Cut into 3/8-inch-thick slices and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake one pan at a time for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges turn a light brown. DO NOT OVERBAKE. They will be very soft. Cool 2 minutes on the pan, then remove to aluminum foil to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Adapted from Crisco recipe

Betsy Kline can be reached at bkline@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1408.

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