Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

Roughly 95% of the time I make cookies, I go for chocolate chip. They’re sure to please, I pretty much have the recipe memorized and I just drop scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet before—ta-da!—gooey chocolatey deliciousness. But for a Christmas cookie exchange party, I wanted to up my cookie game a bit. So I got all inspired and created these tasty, festive and pretty Christmas cookies: chocolate candy cane pinwheels!

Chocolate candy cane pinwheels are PRETTY Christmas cookies—and so festive! Ten Thousand Hour MamaVersion 2These chocolate candy cane pinwheels are festive, pretty Christmas cookies—perfect for a cookie exchange party! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough and candy cane chunks come together in something that tastes just right at the holidays. 

Upping my cookie game

To make these chocolate candy cane pinwheels, I had to plan ahead—not my strongest suit as a busy, overextended work at home mom. But, shockingly (Christmas miracle!!!), I succeeded in making the sugar cookie dough the night before so it had time to chill.

When I brought the pinwheels to the Christmas cookie exchange party, for once my contribution made me feel proud.

I like to bake, cook and craft, but since having kids, I rarely find the time to put in the extra effort to make something outside my usual. So it felt good to bake something special—and these chocolate candy cane pinwheels are definitely special.

Enlisting the help of a little elf

Peeper was excited to help me make some pretty Christmas cookies. She took her job of rolling out the dough very seriously.

Rolling out Christmas cookie dough is serious work! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Baking pretty Christmas cookies with kids is a family tradition. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

(Peeper is pretty skilled and knows her shapes, but I got the majority of this rectangle of dough started before she took over.)

If you’re looking for a recipe for pretty Christmas cookies, look no farther than these chocolate candy cane pinwheels. Each roll makes 25-30 cookies, so you can freeze one for the next party you go to. See, that’s how we busy moms roll during the holidays: Sometimes you gotta conjure time (and pretty cookies!) out of thin air.

Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels


  • Sugar cookie dough **(You can use your favorite recipe or even—gasp!—buy pre-made dough from the store. I def won’t judge. I used the dough from this pinwheel recipe.)**
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (I used 3/4 bag of chocolate chips)
  • 6 candy canes


  1. Make your sugar cookie dough, halve it, shape it into two squares, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 30-60 minutes. You can also leave it in the fridge overnight as long as you take it out 45 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.
  2. Meanwhile, unwrap the candy canes. Seal them inside a plastic bag. Put the bag between two layers of a tea towel or rag and smash the candy canes into tiny pieces.
  3. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Place the chocolate in a small glass bowl and put the bowl on top of the pot, or use a double boiler. Stirring regularly, slowly melt the chocolate. Once chocolate is melted, set aside.
  4. Cover your counter with parchment paper. Place one square of dough in the middle of the parchment paper. Working from the center out, and rotating the parchment paper as needed, roll the dough into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. *Don’t sweat the exact size of the rectangle or worry if the edges are wonky.
  5. Let the chocolate cool slightly but do not let it harden. Pour half the chocolate onto your rectangle of dough. Using the flat part of a spoon, smooth the chocolate into an even layer, leaving a 1/2 inch chocolate-less strip on the far long edge of the rectangle.
  6. Sprinkle half the candy cane crumbs evenly across the chocolate.
  7. Starting with the long edge of the rectangle closest to you (the one with the chocolate to the edge), roll the rectangle into a log.
  8. Transfer the cookie dough log onto an unheated baking sheet by lifting the parchment paper. *If you try to lift the cookie dough log with your hands, it will tear.
  9. Refrigerate the cookie dough log.
  10. Repeat steps 4-9 with the second square of dough.
  11. While the cookie dough logs chill, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut the cookie dough logs crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Place the discs on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until the white part of the dough is golden, about 9-12 minutes.
  13. Cool and devour!

Have you used candy canes in your holiday baking? What’s your favorite pretty Christmas cookie?

13 thoughts on “Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

  • December 14, 2016 at 6:43 am

    I just made these too! The recipe called for mint flavoring but I smashed a candy cane instead and it worked like magic. Baking soothes the soul these days – today I’m going for lemon ginger cookies.

  • December 14, 2016 at 9:57 am

    So festive and looks like you had a good helper. Plus don’t you always need something to do with those “extra” candy canes?

  • December 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

    These are adorable!! I always go for chocolate chip on a regular basis too — can’t beat that classic 🙂 For the holidays we like to make peppermint oreo truffles with crushed candy canes and holiday bark with candy canes. My kids’ favorite part is always smashing candy canes to bits!

    • December 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Yes! That part is so fun. I got a hilarious slow-mo video of Peeper smashing them with a hammer.

    • December 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Yes! I don’t usually make that combo, so it was a refreshing taste for the holiday.

  • December 14, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Great job! I love the combo of chocolate and candy canes. These look delish. My go to holiday cookies are usually sugar cookies in shapes and then decorated with royal icing. I also make holiday candy each year. My oldest helped me create truffles this year and it might have been one of my favorite parenting moments yet.

    • December 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      SO SWEET! I bet he’ll remember that special time with you forever.

  • December 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve never used candy canes in my holiday baking, but I love the idea. Your cookies are so fun and festive, and your little elf is adorable. What a fun project for the two of you!

    • December 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      I haven’t used them much either. I was very happy with the result: the candy cane pieces stayed a little crunchy but also melted a tiny bit. Perfection. 🙂

  • December 15, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I’ve never even imagined the concept of a candycane cookie. . . let alone a candycane PINWHEEL cookie.

    Excellent recipe idea.

    • December 16, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks Geoff!


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