Monday, December 8, 2008

12 days of Cookies: Cartwheels

In hopes of being better prepared for Christmas this year, I have decided to start my holiday baking.  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite cookies/treats that I like to make for the holidays.  My hope is to share a new cookie or treat everyday for the next 12 days, which will take us pretty close to Christmas and should hopefully complete my holiday baking.

For my first day I thought I would share my Nana's Cartwheels.  She came up with these little gems to use up the extra pie dough from all of those extra holiday pies.  Now as a family we make extra pie dough in order to make these.  They are flaky, slightly chewy and covered in cinnamon and sugar.  The aroma when they bake is heavenly, and really, where where can you go wrong with pie dough, butter, cinnamon and sugar.


Pie dough:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 heaping cup of shortening
cold water

1. Make the pie dough: Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Using two butter knives, cut in the shortening until it is the size of small peas. Move most of the mixture to one side. Sprinkle a Tablespoon or two of water over the small section of dough and mix with a fork to combine. Don’t over mix though. Pull a little more of the flour mixture over to the side; add another Tablespoon or so of water and mix. The dough should just come together but not be too wet or too dry. Continue this until all of the dough has been mixed with water. The amount of water will vary each time that you make it so don’t rely on any specific measure. I usually start out with a cup of cold water and don’t use all of it.
Shape the dough into 2 discs and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

pie dough
About 2 1/2 Tbs. of softened butter per disc of dough
about 1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll the pie dough out into a thin rectangle. Spread lightly with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and rub it all over the surface of the dough lightly covering the whole surface. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon. Roll up like a jelly roll pinching the ends. Place seam side down onto a lightly greased cookie sheet curving the dough into a semi-circle. Make thin slices in the dough making sure not to cut all the way through the dough.  Sprinkle to top with a little white sugar if desired.

2. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the filling is beginning to bubble out the sides.  Be careful not to overcook as they will firm up more when they cool. Let cool and slice into pieces using the slits in the dough as a guide.

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