Chocolate Nutella Pinwheel Cookies for Santa Claus

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When it comes to setting the picture of the perfect Christmas we mostly likely have Clement Clarke Moore to thank. The professor at Columbia College (now University) penned the poem for his children in 1822. He titled it “A Visit from St. Nicolas,” which then became more commonly known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

The poem describes St. Nicholas in this way: “His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples—how merry! / His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! / His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, / And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; … He had a broad face and a little round belly / That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. / He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, / And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.”

The poem doesn’t mention leaving cookies for the guy in red, but did give him reputation for having a bit of a sweet tooth. That may also be the reason why the lore came to be that naughty kids should leave out cookies for Santa as a bribe for gifts. And the good kids—well, they left out cookies as a treat for St. Nick who had a long night of work flying around to give gifts to children around the world.

Around our house, we happen to suspect that Santa has an affinity for chocolate. Nutella, to be exact. I added in orange zest to bring out the depth of the chocolate flavor and to add a citrus zing.

Chocolate Nutella Pinwheel Cookies for Santa Claus

Recipe: Chocolate Nutella Pinwheel Cookies for Santa Claus


Prep time: 45 minutes + chill time

Cookies: 2 ½ dozen cookies



1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 egg

½ teaspoon almond extract

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon Espresso or dark cocoa powder

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

3 tbsp. Nutella

½ tsp. orange zest

2 ounces chocolate bar, chopped or shaved



Beat softened butter with sugar until smooth. Blend in baking powder and salt.

Beat in egg and almond extract. Once combined, add in flour.

Divide dough in half. In one half, add the Nutella and melted chocolate and beat until combined.

In the other half, add in the chopped chocolate and the orange zest.

Put each batch of dough into ball, coat with waxed paper, and place in the freezer until firm, about 1-2 hours.

Roll out the orange and chocolate shaved dough ball into a 9 x 6” rectangle, using as little flour as possible. Place the orange layer on parchment or waxed paper.

Repeat with the chocolate dough, rolling out to a 9 x 6” rectangle, again using as little flour as possible. Then place this layer onto parchment or waxed paper.

Carefully place the orange and chocolate shaved dough onto the chocolate layer. If you’re adventurous go ahead and flip the orange layer onto the chocolate one (this is a real kid pleaser). Or, if you want to go the safe route, place the orange layer right onto the chocolate layer and slide the waxed paper out.

Roll the dough up long way, using the waxed paper to help keep the roll tight.

Place the rolled dough into the freezer until firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough roll into disks.

Place the disks on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan 3-5 minutes before removing them.






Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering  Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and  recipes--at


Photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough