Serve up a sweet finale at your 4th of July feast with Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies!
There’s been a whole lot of red, white and blue happening around these parts lately. And now that the Fourth of July is just two weeks away, I’m serving up one final festive dessert to add to your patriotic party, Pinwheel Icebox Cookies.
If soft and chewy cookies set off flavor fireworks in your world, then consider your taste buds dazzled. These buttery rounds are made with basic pantry ingredients (think butter, sugar, eggs and flour).
And best of all, the dough can be prepared in advance and stashed in the fridge, so all that’s left to do is slice and bake them as your guests arrive.
This recipe fell under my “This Is An Experiment But Please Let It Work” category, so I was holding my breath as I made the first slice into the cookie dough log. But the second that perfect pinwheel emerged, I did a little dance. (See: Tip #5 in 10 Things I Learned About Writing a Book.) And by “little dance,” I mean I shook and I shuffled and I popped and I Dougie’d and I did whatever else the kids do these days.
Long story short: Pinwheel icebox cookie success is something to celebrate. So crank up that music, preheat your oven, and slice and bake your way to the ultimate Independence Day dessert.
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Find more patriotic inspiration for your festive feast with additional red, white and blue dessert recipes.
American Flag Cookie Cake: Get the Recipe
Easy July 4th Ice Cream Cake: Get the Recipe
Red, White and Blue No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits: Get the Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Red food coloring
- Blue food coloring
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla.
- Turn the mixer off. Add the flour and then beat just until combined. Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)
- Return one of the remaining pieces of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the red food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the red dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the red portion of the cookies). Clean out the bowl to remove any red food coloring residue.
- Add the final piece of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the blue food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the blue dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the blue portion of the cookies.)
- Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half to form two rectangles. Wrap half of each color of dough in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge. Place the red dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the white dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll out the blue dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.
- Peel the top layer of wax paper off of the red dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the white dough and use the other side to transfer the white dough on top of the red dough. Peel off the wax paper from one side of the blue dough and use the other side to transfer it atop the white dough. Very lightly roll the three layers together.
- Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a log. Repeat the rolling and stacking process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap the logs in wax paper and then plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 1 hour.
- Remove the dough logs and roll them on the counter several times so they don't develop a flat side. Alternately, stand the rolls up in glasses in the fridge. Refrigerate the dough for 4 more hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each log into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as the cookies will expand when baked.
- Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a wrack to cool completely.
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Cookie dough recipe adapted from Gale Gand.
I made these for the holiday and they turned out great!
Yay! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Eliza!
Made these for this last 4th of July – a fun and easy festive treat!
I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Natalie!
I love these cookies! They are so festive and I love switching up the colors to match other holidays, too.
I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Pat!
My mom used to make these when I was a kid. She would then frost the edges and roll them in clear sugar crystals for sparkle.
HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU ROLL OUT EACH COLOR DOUGH TO 4″ X 4″ & GET 48 COOKIES OUT OF THIS DOUGH?
Hi Kathe – The 4- by 4-inch squares are just for the initial chill time. Then each square of dough is cut in half and rolled into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick, stacked with the other colors, then formed into a log (you’ll end up with two logs of cookie dough). :)
Do i have to leave it in the fridge for 4 hours? that seems like a long time.
Hi Angelica – The dough must chill for a significant amount of time or it’s too soft to roll.
I’m making the dough now. The red and blue did come out dark like yours in the picture. I added a lot of each color and it came out a dark pink and same for blue. How do you achieve a true red and navy blue?
Hi Jill! I used gel-based food coloring for the red and regular food coloring for the blue.
Hi, I want to halve this recipe, to make just 24 cookies, and I also want to bring it somewhere on an 8 hour trip in a car. Would the halving work and how should I go about it when I’m rolling out pieces? Also, how would you recommend storing the cookies to bring them on my trip?
Hi there! Yes, you can just halve the entire recipe and all measurements, but I’m not entirely certain you’ll have identical results. The cookies will definitely last on a road trip and can be stored in an airtight container.
Hi! I want to make these about a week in advance and then slice them the day before/of. After I roll the dough up, can I put I in the freezer?
Hi Mimi – I’ve never tried freezing this dough before so I can’t say with certainty if that would work. You could prep the dough (until right before the slice step) 48 hours in advance, seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Hello! I was wondering. English is my second language and I find the instructions hard to follow. Can I just put the balls of dough in the freezer covered with plastic film and then roll them out on the counter using the parchment paper? Thanks!
Hi Marcela – Yes! But I recommend rolling out the dough between two separate pieces of wax paper and using parchment paper to line your baking sheets when ready to bake. I hope that helps!
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