These cookies are just fun. Not hard to make, and kids love them. My big kid loves them, too. And the best part is you can make them in to pinwheels, or any other shapes (some mentioned below).
Makes about 6 dozen
1 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour (or sub in up to 1 c white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
3 T cocoa powder
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and beat just until combined, 30 to 45 seconds.
Stir together the flour and salt in a small bowl. Dump the flour mixture in the bowl with the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl once with a rubber spatula, until all the flour is incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
Chop the chocolate and place in a small glass bowl. Heat in the microwave oven on high power for 1 minute, stirring at intervals, until melted. Stir in cocoa powder. Set aside.
Divide the dough in half. Leave half in the bowl; set aside. Divide the other half in two. Tear off 4 sheets of parchment paper (about 15” long) and lay 2 of the sheets on the counter. On each paper, spread the vanilla dough into a rectangle (using your fingers or a rolling pin), roughly ¼ inch thick. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or freeze for 1 hour (this is easiest if you slide the parchment onto the back of a baking sheet, and move it that way). Repeat with other half of dough.
Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl with the second half of the dough. Beat with the electric mixer on medium speed to combine, 1 minute. Divide the chocolate dough in half and repeat the steps above, rolling out the chocolate dough on the parchment and chilling.
Once the dough is chilled, it is time to assemble your pinwheels. Lay one of the vanilla doughs on your counter, parchment-side down. Bring one of the chocolate doughs over and flip the parchment over, matching the doughs up as much as possible. Carefully peal the parchment off the top of the chocolate. If you have a lot of mismatched sections of dough, rip whichever is larger to match up the doughs as much as possible. Using the parchment to help with the process, roll up the doughs together to create your dough logs. Wrap the roll in the waxed paper, and place it in the freezer at least an hour. Repeat with the other vanilla and chocolate doughs.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the freezer, and slice the dough into ¼” rounds. Arrange them 1" to 2" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cookies until they are just firm and begin to brown around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and transfer the cookies immediately to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Store the cookies in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week.
Some options: If you feel like changing things up, you can roll the doughs opposite (so you have chocolate on the outside, rather than vanilla). You can cut long strips of the dough, stack them together, and then roll them to make the round logs, and then slice and bake. You can do Bull’s eyes (wrapping one color around the other). You can do checkerboards. I mean, the sky is the limit, so long as the logs are roughly the same size in diameter and then you are cutting the logs into ¼” rounds.