Chocolate Pinwheels

Yield: 2 - 3 dozen
This recipe comes from the Nitty Gritty publisher's Cookies cookbook written by Lou Seibert Pappas. It was one I always liked making as a kid because it looks so impressive. Even though it looks fancy, it's really an easy cookie to make and is simply delicious. Since the dough can be frozen, you can also whip up these impressive looking cookies with little notice.

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1. Chop the chocolate and then carefully melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave by heating it for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is melted. Set it aside to cool.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and egg.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt with a whisk to combine and sift. Once combined, add this to the creamed mixture and beat well.
4. Divide the dough equally between two bowls. Add the melted chocolate and coffee powder to one bowl. To the other bowl add the almond extract. If your dough seems really sticky at this point, refrigerate it for an hour before continuing.
5. Tear off 4 pieces of wax paper, each about 17 inches long. Place one ball of dough between two sheets of the wax paper. Roll the dough into a 9 x 12 inch rectangle. Repeat this with the second ball of dough and the other two sheets of wax paper.
6. Remove the top sheet of wax paper from each rectangle of dough. Invert the chocolate dough over the white dough, carefully aligning them. They will stick together immediately so do this carefully and get someone to help if you if you can.
7. Remove the top sheet of wax paper. Using the bottom sheet to help you and pulling it away as you wrap, gently roll the dough up from the long side until you have a roll of dough. This will create the pinwheel effect.
8. Wrap the roll in wax paper and refrigerate until very firm, about 2 hours or overnight. *
9. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
10. Unwrap the dough and slice the roll into 1/4 inch rounds. Place the rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
11. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes.

* Tip: Dough rolls tend to flatten on one side when they rest in the refrigerator. To prevent this, save a paper towel tube and slit it lengthwise. After rolling the dough and wrapping it in wax paper, place the roll inside the paper tube. This will keep the bottom side of the dough rounded as it chills.

Notes: This dough freezes very well, which means that you can keep it on hand and make fancy-looking cookies pretty quickly at any time. After the dough has firmed up in the refrigerator, wrap it well in plastic wrap or foil and place it in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, let the dough soften in the refrigerator until it is soft enough to slice.