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Classic Gluten Free Pinwheel Cookies – with Video!

Classic Gluten Free Pinwheel Cookies – with Video!

These classic gluten free pinwheel cookies have a place on every holiday cookie plate. If you’ve wanted to give them a try but had trouble imagining how, now is the time!

These classic gluten free pinwheel cookies have a place on every holiday cookie plate. If you've wanted to give them a try but had trouble imagining how, this quick how-to video is just the thing!

It’s surprisingly easy to make a fancy-looking cookie like these gluten free pinwheel cookies. The basic cookie dough base is made much like any other cookie dough.

Then, divide the dough into two portions — one a bit larger than the other. To the smaller one, add some melted chocolate and cream, and two more tablespoons of flour.

These classic gluten free pinwheel cookies have a place on every holiday cookie plate. If you've wanted to give them a try but had trouble imagining how, this quick how-to video is just the thing!

Next, roll out each portion of dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, and roughly the same size as one another. Chill them both in the freezer for a few minutes or until firm but not rock solid.

Place the layers of chilled dough, one squarely one top of the other. Since the dough is chilled, it’s not hard to turn one over onto the other.

These classic gluten free pinwheel cookies have a place on every holiday cookie plate. If you've wanted to give them a try but had trouble imagining how, this quick how-to video is just the thing!

Using the remaining, bottom layer of parchment paper to roll the dough together as tightly as you can. The dough may crack a bit as you roll it. Just patch it together as you go. You won’t see any cracks in the cookies at all.

Slice the cylinder of dough into about 20 pieces, each about 1/4-inch thick. I have used a chef’s knife, metal bench scraper and even a simple steak knife. They all work just fine. Place the slices on a baking sheet, and bake away.

There’s something super satisfying about making such a classic holiday cookie at home. For gluten-eaters, they can pop into a bakery and buy a pinwheel cookie, along with maybe some rainbow cookies.

But when you’re gluten free, or someone you love is, it’s not that simple any more. The corner bakery most likely doesn’t have gluten free rainbow cookies (my favorite!) or gluten free pinwheel cookies.

If you’d given up on the idea of having bakery-style cookies for the holidays, take heart. We can make them ourselves! And they’re easier than you probably thought. Let me show you the way. 💕🎄

These classic gluten free pinwheel cookies have a place on every holiday cookie plate. If you've wanted to give them a try but had trouble imagining how, this quick how-to video is just the thing!

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: About 20 cookies


2 ounces (56 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 ounce (1/8 cup) cream

2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour, plus 2 tablespoons (18 g) more (I like Better Batter here)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

11 tablespoons (154 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • In a small microwave safe bowl, place the chopped chocolate and cream. Microwave the mixture on high for 30 seconds. Stir. If the chocolate isn’t all melted, microwave for another 15 seconds and stir again. Repeat in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool slightly.

  • In a large bowl, place 2 cups (280 g) of the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, egg and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. Knead the dough until it comes together, then divide it into two portions, one a couple ounces (about the size of a small egg) less than the other. Set aside the larger portion of dough. Return the smaller portion of cookie dough to the mixing bowl, and add the melted chocolate mixture. Mix to combine. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, and knead it in until it has been absorbed by the dough.

  • Place the chocolate dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper on a flat surface, and roll into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat the same procedure, separately, with the vanilla cookie dough. Place both pieces of rolled out dough on a large baking sheet, still on the parchment paper. Place both pieces of dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until firm (but not rock solid, or it will begin to crack).

  • Once the dough has chilled, place one piece of chilled dough, parchment side-down, on a flat surface. Place the other piece of dough squarely on top of the first, parchment side-up. Remove the top sheet of parchment. Starting at a short end of the rectangle and using the bottom sheet of parchment paper to handle the dough, roll the dough away from you and into a cylinder that is as tight as you can manage. Remove the parchment paper, and wrap the roll tightly in plastic wrap or parchment.

  • Chill the roll of dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until firm. Remove from the freezer, and slice into 1/4-inch pieces, by cross-section. Place less than 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the cookies are just set in the center. They will not have browned visibly. Allow to cool until firm on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2011 (!). Recipe unchanged, photos, text and video all new.


Comments are closed.

  • Monika Kelly
    January 15, 2017 at 1:05 AM

    The best way to cut the cookies so they don’t get distorted is to cut them with dental floss. Just slide the floss under the roll where you want to cut, wrap the floss around the dough, cross the ends of the floss and pull the opposite way. I use the same method for cinnamon rolls and they never get out of shape.

  • Heather G
    December 14, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    Oh, wait…that was 5 years ago. Going to find the recipe. Duh…guess I was “spinning” from the pinwheel recipe. ;-)

  • Heather G
    December 14, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    Wow! Nicole, you have brought back my best childhood memories of baking pinwheel cookies with my mom. I’m SO glad to find a GF recipe for these. Will be making them tomorrow. Mom used to put just a tad of peppermint or chocolate extract in the chocolate dough and the vanilla in the “white” dough. And I can’t believe that I read below that the Spritz recipe is coming tomorrow. You are my Christmas cookie hero.
    BTW, my husband is eating all the things I’ve made using your recipes, even though he doesn’t have to. He says it’s just as good…or better…than the “regular” food.

  • Kali Rae Perrone
    December 14, 2016 at 6:51 PM

    Do these ship in the mail decently? I’m always afraid of mailing crumbs with a new recipe :)

  • […] Christmas baking I love it. This is a recipe I modified from the Gluten Free on a Shoestring website (afterall, chocolate is not my friend). They were extremely […]

  • December 8, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    There is no such thing as too many cookies ;) :) These look yummy. Have a great day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  • Marian
    December 7, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Omg. My mom assigned me to make non-GF pinwheels and I HATE making them because I didn’t have a good GF recipe and then my 4-year old is left out of everything as usual (sob). I’m so thankful for you!

    • Marian
      December 7, 2011 at 7:58 PM

      Ok so I have already made these and I have a question. The dough without the chocolate was downright crumbly. So it didn’t roll well and fell apart for the rolling and then slicing. What did I do wrong? The chocolate part was fine. I re-read the recipe to make sure I didn’t miss-measure or skip an ingredient, and I think I got it right…help!

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 8:19 PM

      Hi, Marian,
      I’m honestly not sure! I just double-checked the ingredients, & they’re all there. The only thing I can think of that might have thrown things off is the flour blend you used. Other than that, I honestly don’t know!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Marian S.
      December 7, 2011 at 8:40 PM

      I used Better Batter. I will try them again! They turned out great, albeit not very pretty like yours. Thanks!

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 8:54 PM

      Hi, Marian,
      Since you used Better Batter, if you didn’t make any substitutions (like margarine for butter or anything), I don’t get it! I won’t hurt, really, if you add some cream to the plain dough to help it hold together. But I’ve made these many times, and my plain dough is never, ever crumbly. So confusing…
      Don’t give up, though! I don’t want your son to be left out. My heart can’t take it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Karin K Morin on Facebook
    December 7, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Great, thanks so much!

  • Peggy
    December 7, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Oh WOW! I used to make pinwheels…I added a mixture of dates & crushed walnuts in between the layers before I rolled it! Now I can make them again, thanks to my very bestest friend!!! Do you think we can go through the next 2 1/2 weeks with NO sleep! Otherwise, I won’t have enough time to do everything I want to do! Off this afternoon to spend time with my granddaughter. We are riding the Polar Express!

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      Oh, how fun, Peggy – the Polar Express! She’s such a lucky girl, your granddaughter.
      2 1/2 weeks with no sleep is totally doable. You might look terrible at the end, but you’ll eat well.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Linda Stoddard
    December 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    The pinwheels are adorable—the spritz cookies caught my eye. I hope your plan is to tease us with that perfect little picture of them, then spring the recipe on us for Christmas! Pleaseohpleaseohplease…I’ve googled and researched and really haven’t found a suitable sub for these–my favorite Christmas cookie back in the day before celiac. I’ll wash your windows! Babysit for free….anything! ;-) xoLinda

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      Oh, Linda, don’t tease me with babysitting. It’s just … cruel. ;)
      Yup. The spritz butter cookies recipe will be up tomorrow. Easy peasy, too.
      xoxo Nicole

    • Linda Stoddard
      December 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      OK, then you’re in my will. For spritz butter cookies? Anything, Nicole! Thanks for the very bottom of my heart. Owe you! xoxLinda

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      Nah. You don’t owe me anything, Linda. Just keep coming back to hang out with me, and we’re even. :)
      xoxo NIcole

  • Kat
    December 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    -Yay I’m doing cartwheels for your pinwheels! …whoa now I’m dizzy


    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      Definitely leave the spinning to the cookies, Kat. We don’t want you gettin’ hurt or anything. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sue Powell on Facebook
    December 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    all looking good, how about something without chocolate?

  • Amanda DeLara on Facebook
    December 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM


  • Tracy M
    December 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Love to try these! The only thing I would need to sub is the cream. I’m thinking Coconut Milk would work? Thank you for sharing.

    • Nicole
      December 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Hi, Tracy,
      Nearly any sort of milk, provided it has some fat, would work. The more fat, the richer the ganache will be. Go for it!
      xoxo Nicole

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