It’s the day after Christmas and one would think I’d be SO over the cooking and baking thing. And I sort of am. We’re in the home stretch as far as the holiday season goes. But it ain’t over yet. I still have some more entertaining to do and I bet you do too. After all, New Years Eve is only a few short days away. And even though I find cooking and baking relaxing (yes, I’m a crazy person.), after hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas at our place this year, even a nut like me wants recipes that are short on time and ingredients but still big on flavor and style.
Enter: Puff Pastry.
If you don’t have a box of puff pastry in your freezer my friends, you are seriously missing out. If you’ve never had it before, I apologize in advance for introducing you to your new addiction. It’s a light and flaky pastry consisting of many layers of dough and fat (usually butter). It’s a delicious and extremely versatile ingredient that has saved me many times because it can be stored in your freezer, pulled out and thawed super fast and turned into the most gorgeous recipes, like this and this. The dough itself is flaky and delicious and rather neutral in favor so it’s yours to jazz up however you wish. It bakes up lightening fast and always comes out looking fancy-schmancy which is exactly what you need when you are low on energy but still want something attractive and tasty to serve to guests. I’ve used it to make a host of different meals and snacks from savory to sweet. The possibilities really are endless.
In fact, the other day, after experiencing cookie baking burn-out, I came up with yet another easy and delicious use for puff pastry— Sweet and Spicy Mexican Chocolate Pinwheels. I’ve made many different versions of puff pastry pinwheels before, from plain sugar to savory tapenade and they are always a hit, especially at cocktail parties. But I have to say, I’ve really out-done myself with these babies. No really. I think I ate 2 batches all by myself. OMG! And the best part? Minimal mess and no mixer required. That’s right! These are easy-peasy, exactly the kind of recipe we all need after the past few weeks of non-stop: Cooking. Eating. Cooking…
The combination of sweet and spicy are really what makes these special. And by special I mean, addicting!! I’m a sucker for Mexican Hot Chocolate and these cookies strike that same perfect balance of sweet and. Perfect with both cocktails and coffee. I really can’t think of a better nosh to add to your New Years Eve hors d’oeuvres table. Give ’em a try and do it FAST, before that New Year’s Resolution kicks in. And most of all, enjoy them with the company of good friends and family (and preferably with your feet up). You deserve it!
Happy New Year!
Warning: These are HIGHLY addictive, so making a double batch is definitely a good idea.
Sweet and Spicy Mexican Chocolate Pinwheels
Makes 32 pinwheels
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use a bit more if you like SUPER spicy)
flour for dusting
2 sheets store bought puffed pastry, thawed but not too warm
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, mix together sugar cinnamon, cocoa powder and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
3. Dust your countertop with a little flour and roll out both sheets of puff party side by side. Use a rolling pin to smooth out any creases in the dough, then evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture over both pieces of dough. Tightly roll up each piece of dough and slice each piece of dough into 1-inch pieces. Place the slices cut side down onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pinwheels are lightly golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for a minute before removing with a thin spatula. Allow pinwheels to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Pinwheels can be made up to 5 days in advance if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.