Light and fruity strawberry pinwheel cookies have the texture of a classic black and white checkerboard cookie with the Spring flavor combination of strawberry and vanilla. These cookies are easy to make and use natural strawberry powder for their color and flavor!
Strawberry Pinwheel cookies are based on the traditional schwarz weiss gebäck cookies from Germany. They are often baked in a checkerboard pattern or a pinwheel – this recipe can be changed if you want to make checkerboard cookies; however, I find the swirls to be much easier!
The vanilla icing on these is not traditional but I find it adds some welcome sweetness as these cookies are not naturally very sweet. These strawberry and vanilla cookies are perfect for having with your tea or coffee but also fun to have around as a sweet little pick me up.
Tips for making Strawberry Pinwheel Cookies
- Chilling time is important for these cookies. It allows the dough to rest and hydrate as well as helps the layers stick together.
- If you come across freeze dried strawberry powder, that will work too! I can’t find any so I use freeze dried strawberries that I then blend into a fine powder.
- Don’t be too concerned about over mixing the cookie dough – you want to make sure and mix the dough until it is smooth and no longer crumbly. This will help when it comes time to roll out the dough and roll up the cookies.
- To avoid tough, dry cookies, do not over bake these. They should still be very pale in color after being in the oven for ten minutes. The pinwheels will harden as they cool.
- If you need to leave the dough to chill in the fridge for longer than 45 minutes, simply take it out 10 minutes before you plan to roll it out to give it a chance to soften slightly.
- When rolling up the dough, be gentle and patient. It does have a tendency to crack but don’t worry, just do your best to push them back together and give the roll a few tight squeezes as you continue to roll it up.
- To slice the cookies, first mark out 1 cm ticks on the dough to indicate where to cut. This will ensure that each slice is exactly the same.
Ingredients for Strawberry & Vanilla cookies
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses powdered sugar in the dough as well as in the icing.
- Butter: The butter is the main source of fat for these cookies.
- Eggs: I use regular store bought large eggs. The dough includes one egg and then one egg white is used to bind the two layers together.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries (or Freeze Dried Strawberry Powder): This is what gives the main flavor and color to the pink portion of the dough! Make sure to look for ones without any additives.
- Vanilla Extract & Salt: Both of these items add flavor to the cookies.
- Milk: Milk helps to thicken and make the icing a bit creamier. Non dairy milk will also work here!
How to make Strawberry Pinwheel Cookies?
Make both cookie doughs
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy using the paddle attachment. This should take about 3-4 minutes on medium high speed.
- Then, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the egg. Beat again until the mixture is once again light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the flour in all at once and mix on medium low until fully incorporated and the dough is nice and smooth.
- Remove 350 grams of the cookie dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. It will be easier to roll out later if you shape it into a square or rectangle at this step.
- Using a food processor or blender, blend the freeze dried strawberries on high speed until they become a fine powder.
- Add the strawberry powder to the remaining vanilla dough that is still in the mixer. Then, add in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Mix until the dough resembles the same texture and consistency as the vanilla dough did. If it seems to dry add in another tablespoon of heavy cream. Once fully mixed, wrap the strawberry dough in plastic and shape it into a rectangle or square.
- Place both doughs in the fridge to chill and rest for 45 minutes.
Shaping the Pinwheel Cookies
- Once the 45 minutes have passed, remove both doughs from the fridge. On a floured surface, roll both doughs into rectangles that measure approximately 20 cm x 30 cm. If the dough cracks, leave it to warm up for a few minutes before continuing to roll.
- Lightly whisk the egg white with a fork until frothy. Brush the egg white over the top of the vanilla dough and then lay the strawberry dough on top. Move quickly to avoid cracking the dough but also make sure that you put the strawberry dough down straight and lined up with the vanilla. This is important because the egg white is like super glue and won’t let you re-adjust the strawberry dough once it is laid down.
- At one of the short ends, trim away 2 cm of the strawberry dough, leaving 2 cm of the vanilla dough exposed. At the other short end, trim both doughs to they are even and straight.
- Starting at the end with the staggered strawberry and vanilla dough, roll the two up into a tight log. If the dough cracks, don’t worry, just squish the cracks back together and continue rolling. While rolling it up, give the log a few squeezes to make sure that it is nice and tight and the layers are sticking together.
- Once you have fully rolled the doughs together into a tight log, wrap the log in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Slicing and Baking the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Take the roll out of the fridge and use a knife to mark out 1 cm slices. Cut the slices using a thin sharp knife.
- Place the cookie slices on unlined baking sheets about 1″ apart and bake for 10 minutes until they start to look a little dry on top. These cookies should not really change much in color.
- After the 10 minutes, remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to cooling racks.
- Allow the cookies to cool fully before icing them. If they are still warm the cookies will be too soft and will have a tendency to break apart.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. The icing should be about the consistency of maple syrup. If it’s not, add more milk to thin it out or powdered sugar to thicken it.
- Dunk each cookie halfway into the vanilla icing. Lift it out and allow the excess to drip off. If there is a lot of extra, use a dinner knife to scrape some off of the bottom and edge of the cookie.
- Once iced, place each cookie on a sheet of parchment paper or a cooling rack to allow the icing to harden.
Storing & Making ahead of time
- These cookies require chilling time but the times can be adjusted to work in your schedule! In the first chill where the doughs are separately wrapped up, you can chill the dough up to overnight. Just make sure to take the dough out about ten minutes before you roll it out to give it time to soften.
- Similarly, once the doughs have been rolled together, the log can be chilled for up to 24 hours as long as it is well wrapped.
- To store these cookies, make sure they are in an airtight container. Additionally, be sure to allow the icing to fully harden before stacking the cookies; otherwise, they will have a tendency to stick together.
In the mood for more cookies? Try these!
Strawberry Vanilla Pinwheel Cookies
- Stand Mixer
- 150 grams butter room temp
- 150 grams powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg room temp
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 300 grams ap flour
- 40 grams freeze dried strawberries
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk might need another tbsp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Creaming Wet Ingredients
- Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. About 3-4 min on medium speed.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then add in the whole egg and beat again until smooth and fluffy. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl again for everything to incorporate fully.
Adding in the Dry Ingredients
- Now add the flour to the mixing bowl and mix on medium low speed until smooth and everything is fully combined. The dough should not be crumbly anymore.
- Once fully mixed, remove 350 grams of the cookie dough, shape it into a square and wrap it in plastic wrap.
- In a food processor or a high speed blender, add in the strawberries and blend to a fine powder.
- Add the strawberry powder into the mixing bowl with the remaining dough. Then add in 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix again until smooth. If the dough seems dry, add in another tablespoon of cream.
- Once fully mixed, shape the strawberry dough into a square and wrap in plastic.
- Place both pieces of dough in the fridge to chill for 45 min.
Shaping & Baking
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if convection)
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out both pieces of dough into rectangles that are 30 cm x 20 cm.
- In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg white with a fork until it is frothy.
- Brush the frothy egg white onto the vanilla dough. Then in one smooth motion lay the strawberry dough on top of the vanilla dough.
- At one of the short ends, carefully trim away 2 cm of the strawberry dough. This will be the end that you start the roll from.
- Then trim the opposite short end of both doughs so they are even and straight.
- Roll the two layers into a spiral starting at the short end with the uneven layers. The vanilla dough will have a tendency to crack – so roll slowly and squeeze together any cracks that appear.
- Once it is fully rolled, give it a few squeezes to make sure everything is tightly stuck together.
- Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- With a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1 cm cookies. If they get a little smushed gently reshape them into a circle. Place the cookies on baking sheets leaving 1" between each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 10 min. These cookies should stay relatively pale in color.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 min, then transfer the cookies to cooling racks and allow them to cool completely.
- After the cookies have cooled fully (about 15-20 min). They are ready to be iced!
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. This icing should be in between a glaze and a thick icing – somewhere around maple syrup. If you need to thin it out, add more milk. If it needs to be thicker add more powdered sugar.
- Dunk each cookie halfway into the glaze. Scrape off any extra from the bottom and side edge and then place on a piece of parchment or a wire cooling rack to allow the icing to harden.