Sweet Things, Munchies
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Cocoa Rosemary Hazelnut Icebox Pinwheels


Settling myself on the grass, I began laying out my picnic. A man, at least in his fifties, caught my attention. In the process of limbering up for what I assumed would be yoga or tai chi, he commenced undressing, stripping down to tight boxer briefs. This being Paris, I wasn’t too taken aback, and I turned my attention to my food. This was not to be, however, because the man’s stretching was exaggerated to the point of absurdity, and I could not help but think that this was part of some elaborate ruse. I began stealing glances around me to see if anyone else was noticing these surreal happenings. Mesmerized by how even a Frenchman could act like he was completely alone in a public park (and even then, I surmise most people don’t act that ludicrous even when they are alone), I had no idea that it would get oh-so-much better. I was beyond surprised when he began rolling head over heels down the hill, somersault after somersault. Reaching the bottom, he bounced up, ran a knee-lifting run back up the hill, and rolled back down again.


The pinwheel version of traditional icebox cookies provides a touch of whimsy to an otherwise respectable cookie. Though a picnic in Paris is idyllic, that day wouldn’t have been the same without that scantily-clad Frenchman pinwheeling down the hill! It’s always useful to have something in the freezer to pop in the oven for unexpected guests, and if they’re pinwheels, so much the better.

As I was planning this recipe, I went to a trusted source, which I find myself returning to time and again while contemplating flavors. The Flavor Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit, is a treasure trove of interesting pairings, both traditional and unexpected. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes experimenting in the kitchen! For this cookie, I wanted to try something with rosemary, but wasn’t sure if cocoa was the way to go for the contrasting dough. However, The Flavor Thesaurus confirmed my suspicion that it would be good: “A backdrop of dark chocolate shows off rosemary’s cool, evergreen flavours” (pg. 317).


This recipe yields about two dozen cookies.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking (pg. 776).


For Chocolate Dough:
30g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
25g (1/4 cup) hazelnut meal
30g (1/4 cup) cocoa
3.75 ml (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
75.5g (1/3 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
70g (1/3 cup) white sugar
1 egg
For Rosemary Dough:
80g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
25g (1/4 cup) hazelnut meal
3.75 ml (3/4 teaspoon) baking powder
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) minced fresh rosemary
75.5g (1/3 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
70g (1/3 cup) white sugar
1 egg


Make the chocolate dough by first sifting together the four dry ingredients and setting aside. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. The dough will be soft, so place it in the refrigerator (or better yet, the freezer) to chill until firm.

Make the rosemary dough in the same manner, and place in the refrigerator (or freezer) as well.

When the dough is firm (40 minutes in the freezer should do), roll out separately into .3cm (1/8in) thick equal sized rectangles. Use a well-floured surface for the rosemary dough, and plenty of cocoa for the chocolate dough. With your fingertips, gently push the edges of the rectangles against a pastry cutter or straight-edge in order to straighten them. When both rectangles are done, put the chocolate dough on top of rosemary dough, and roll them up together. Wrap the log tightly and chill or freeze until firm (at least an hour in the freezer will suffice).


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Unwrap the dough and slice into .5cm thick (about 3/16 inch) rounds. Place about 5cm (2in) apart on a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden. After removing them from the oven, let them sit on the sheet for 2–3 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Of course, you can keep the rolled-up dough in the freezer for a few weeks, ready to slice for unexpected company. In this case, remove it from the freezer 15-20 minutes before slicing.


P.S. To see another funny character pinwheeling, check out this raccoon!

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  1. Auntie Jen says

    People do the craziest s@#* in European cities (I guess any city!), do they not?

    • Kristin says

      Thank you Thalia! That means a lot coming from someone who makes such beautiful creations!

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