Baked Sunday Mornings: Peanut Butter Chocolate Whirligigs

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Whirligig, a peanut butter cookie rolled up pinwheel-style with a layer of dark chocolate. To be honest, I was not very impressed by the photo in the cookbook. You can tell that the cookies in the photo didn't roll up smoothly; instead of a neat spiral, the interior layers have odd angles. Because of this, I assumed that the dough would be difficult to handle.

These cookies don't require a lot of a active time, but they need a lot of chilling time, so it's easiest if you make the recipe a two- (or three-) day project. On day one, you make the peanut butter cookie dough. It's pretty straightforward: beat butter, sugar, dark brown sugar, oil, and peanut butter until light and fluffy; add an egg, an egg yolk, and vanilla; and incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). You divide the dough into two parts, form them into disks, wrap them in plastic, and chill them for at least three hours and up to 24.

When the dough is chilled, you roll each portion into a small rectangle and brush on dark chocolate that has been melted with a little bit of corn syrup. The amount of chocolate seemed excessive, because you use 12 ounces of chocolate to cover two small slabs of dough (the recipe says each rectangle should be about 9-1/2 inches by 7-1/2 inches, but I ended up with 9-inch squares of dough).

Rolling up the dough around the chocolate was a messy process, because there was so much chocolate that it ended up spilling out from the sides and end of the roll. The dough was actually quite pliable and I didn't have any problems with the dough cracking or breaking. But after I got chocolate everywhere rolling up the first slab of dough, I was parsimonious with the chocolate for the remaining cookies (I made two batches of cookies, so I had four rolls of dough total). I wrapped the rolls in parchment and stuck them in the fridge for 24 hours.

On day two, the rolls of dough were very firm and ready to cut. I had slid small metal cake rings around the logs of dough before putting them in the refrigerator, so they retained a nice round shape (instead of flattening out on the bottom, which tends to happen with slice and bake cookies). The chocolate spiral inside the cookie dough was hard, like a chocolate chip. But I got out my sharpest knife (a Global chef's knife) and I was able to get clean slices without a problem.

I cut the slices quite thick, and I was surprised how much the cookies spread in the oven. But the end product was a nice, flat, round cookie with a beautiful chocolate "C" in the middle. The cookies from the subsequent logs of cookies -- where I had skimped on the chocolate to keep things tidy -- had a rather anemic pencil-thin line of chocolate, instead of the calligraphy "C" I got with the chocolate overload. In the future, I'm sticking with the chocolate overload, because the result is so much prettier. 

This is a outstanding cookie. It was soft and moist, with a wonderful, clean peanut butter flavor. I made one batch with Skippy dark chocolate peanut spread -- I happened to have a jar on hand -- just to see what would happen. Those cookies weren't bad, but they were not peanut butter-y enough, and the ones made with plain peanut butter were definitely better.

At first I was thinking that the chocolate swirl was more trouble than it was worth, because it would have been a lot easier to just make a peanut butter drop cookie with chocolate chips in the batter. But the chocolate swirl is a really unique and delicious feature, and I can definitely see myself making these cookies again. After all, there is a certain aspect of convenience to a slice and bake cookie, since you can make the dough ahead of time. And my tasters loved the cookies, even the ones without much chocolate. 

"C" is for cookie, and that's good enough for me!

Recipe: "Peanut Butter and Chocolate Whirligigs" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Unknown said…
I love your idea of using the cake rings to ensure the cookies stayed round! Mine had a flat side that I tried to re-shape after slicing. I also found the different consistencies (soft cookie dough, hard chocolate) made them a bit difficult to slice. But they were still soooo good!
"C" is for cute!! Very cute cookies. They were very messy to make with that chocolate. I didn't even use all the chocolate, as I thought it was too much. But they were tasty, so the mess was forgiven. :)
Unknown said…
Lovely!! Your cookies turn out perfect!!!
They were delicious, but the recipe quite messy!!! I think the next time I will try with another filling, more spreadable, as a jelly....
Anonymous said…
I was pleasantly surprised by these as well! I'm not a huge chocolate/PB fan, but I LOVED these, and everyone who tasted them was wild about them. I used less chocolate because of the potential mess, but my swirl was on the thin side, so I see the benefit of using the full amount, and next time I will deal with the mess in order to have that thick chocolate spiral in the middle! I agree that the photo in the book was not appealing, and I'm so glad that for most of us, they turned out much prettier. :)