holiday pinwheel sugar cookies

This year I took to Pinterest to find the perfect sugar cookies recipe. Two recipes jumped out at me particularly so I decided to do both and compare. It's that time when the classic sugar cookie features prominently in holiday festivities- I'm pretty sure it's Santa's cookie of choice.

First up the recipe which required no eggs. I decided to go with a green pinwheel to differentiate between the two recipes. After making this one I made it a second time a week later and altered it, so I will include the original recipe as well as the alterations in parentheses.

Classic Sugar Cookie recipe, no eggs required:

What you'll need:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks of butter (cold and cubed)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (on my second time I upped this to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (on my second go around I dropped this to 1/4 teaspoon)
Food coloring of your choice (I did not pinwheel the cookies the second time, so therefore it didn't require food coloring)
If pinwheeling you will need an extra 2 tablespoons of flour for the colored dough. 
Decorating sugar or sprinkles. 

What you do:

For pin wheeled cookies:

In a food processor or mixer combine flour, salt, powdered sugar and granulated sugar. Add cold cubed butter a few cubes at a time until mixture is like cornmeal. Add vanilla and combine til you reach cookie dough consistency. Divide dough in half. 

Take the ball of dough that will remain white and roll it out flat between two sheets of waxed paper until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate. With remaining dough put back in mixer and add almond extract, food coloring and 2 tablespoons of flour. Once that is mixed roll it flat between two sheets of waxed paper to about 1/4 inch thick and refrigerate.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or if you're in a hurry like I was I put it in my freezer for about 10 minutes)

Once dough is chilled take wax paper off of one side of each slabs of dough and stack them. Trim edges if needed and roll the two stacked doughs into a log shape. In a shallow pan pour your decorating sugar or sprinkles and roll your dough log in it until completely covered. Cover dough on plastic wrap and refrigerate another hour (or use my freezer trick of 10-15 mins). Once chilled again slice dough log into 1/4" slices. Place slices on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees F for 15-17 mins. 

*when I altered to recipe I reduced to amount of almond extract and chose not to pinwheel or divide the dough. I did still roll it into a log and cover it with sprinkles. I reduced the baking time to 13 mins and got perfect, soft sugar cookies. This will definitely be my go-to sugar cookie recipe in the future. 

Classic Sugar Cookie Recipe 2, contains eggs:

This is a more traditional recipe and you use the more traditional method in preparing them. I liked this recipe but it requires eggs and I don't always have those on hand. 

What you'll need:

2 cups butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups of flour

What you do:

Cream butter. Add sugar, eggs, almond, and vanilla extracts. Combine. Add salt and flour.  

Follow the above directions if you'd like to pinwheel the cookies (divide dough, refrigerate, roll, etc...). I chose red food coloring for this recipe so I would be able to tell the two types apart. 

My final thoughts. The first recipe when followed in its original form tasted exactly like Danish butter cookies, after I altered it they tased like traditional sugar cookies. Both recipes are delicious, but in the end I prefer the first, they don't have eggs and require less sugar.

Now get to baking, Santa's on his way!!!

*first recipe found on
*second recipe found on


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