A few years ago I discovered, in the dark recesses of my parents’ kitchen cabinets, a cookie press, circa 1963, that my mom had ordered by sending in proofs-of-purchase from U & I Sugar. This recipe was inspired by one I came across in the recipe book that came with the cookie press. Since I never had much luck with the press, though, I adapted the recipe so I could make it with a pastry bag and a star tip. I gave the fruits of my labor, these Cream Cheese Pinwheels, to all my friends one Christmas, and they have been at the top of the most requested cookie list ever since.
Game plan: You will need a 12- to 18-inch pastry bag fitted with a star tip in order to pipe the pinwheels. The size of the cookies will vary depending on the size of the tip you use. We’ve made these with a 1/2-inch-wide star tip, which formed 2-inch-wide cookies.
This recipe was featured as part of our Holiday Cookies photo gallery.
- 1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Combine butter, sugar, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl sides and bottom. Add egg yolk, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour and mix on low until the dough comes together.
- 2Place dough in a piping bag fitted with a star tip, squeezing the dough toward the tip of the bag to eliminate air pockets. Twist the bag down tightly on the cookie dough and hold the bag at the point where you started the twist—this will be your squeezing hand. Use your other hand to guide the tip.
- 3Hold the bag perpendicular to a baking sheet, aiming the tip where you want the center of the cookie to be. Squeezing firmly on the bag’s end, pipe the cookies by guiding the bag in a counterclockwise spiral out from the cookie’s center. Make only one full rotation, and try to keep the spiral as tight as possible.
- 4With the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation about 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep in the center of each spiral; dip the spoon handle in flour if it sticks to the cookie dough.
- 5Place the jam in a resealable plastic bag and squeeze it into one corner. Cut a 1/4-inch piece off the corner. Pipe enough jam into each cookie indentation to fully fill; don’t overfill or the jam will run out onto the cookie.
- 6Bake cookies until the edges are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.