These beautiful and festive swirled cookies look hard to make -- but they're not! We add a dash of cocoa to half of our sugar cookie dough, creating two different flavors. Crushed peppermint candies give the finished cookies a touch of holiday cheer.
For the cookie dough: Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment or into a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture in 2 batches until just incorporated. Remove half of the dough, shape into a rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the filling: Add the cocoa powder to the remaining dough and use your hands to knead it in until completely combined. Shape the chocolate dough into a rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate with for 30 minutes.
Roll each dough piece between 2 pieces of parchment to a roughly 11-by-8-inch rectangle. Refrigerate the rolled dough for an additional 20 minutes.
Stack the vanilla dough on top of the chocolate, then peel away all of the parchment except the piece on the bottom of the chocolate dough. Use the parchment to help roll the dough into a tight spiral to form a tight log. Cover the log in plastic wrap and freeze until solid, 1 to 2 hours.
Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Cut 1/4 inch off each end of the log with a sharp knife to reveal the swirled pattern. Slice the log into 1/4-inch-thick slices, about 34 total. Divide the slices between the prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through the cooking time, until the tops of the cookies are no longer tacky, about 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the add-ins: Once the cookies are cooled, microwave the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 15 seconds, until completely melted. Dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate, then sprinkle or dip in the crushed peppermint candies. Allow the chocolate to set before serving.
When measuring flour, we spoon into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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