Monday, April 15, 2013

Egg-Free Sunbutter Whirligig Cookies

Whirligig. Say it with me. Whirligig. See, you're having fun already!
I can never seem to bake just a few cookies. A double batch, sure, but who halves a cookie recipe?! Not me.

Inevitably though, after an initial warm out of the oven raid, Mufasa backs way off the cookie consumption. The munchkins, while avid cookie enthusiasts, possess stomachs the size of coin purses and are typically satiated at a one cookie per day rate. That leaves me, gluttonous martyr I am, to do the dirty work. I suffer my way through 3 dozen cookies threatening staleness if I wait too long to put them in my mouth. That, friends, is the hair shirt I wear.

But, oddly, despite strict self-imposed rationing on my end, this batch of whirligigs seems to be disappearing at a steady clip. That can only mean one thing. These suckers are good!
Whirligigs are not the easiest cookies to make. Nor are they the fastest, but don't be put off by the number of steps. Yes, they take a little time and a little nurturing, but stay the course. The reward of soft, chewy, nutty without the nuts, swirly, twirly, whirly cookies is totally worth it.

Egg-Free Sunbutter Whirligig Cookies
adapted from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

For the cookie dough

2&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 ounces (1&1/2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1 cup creamy Sunbutter
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer well mixed with 3 tbsp water
2 tsp real vanilla extract
Parchment paper

For the chocolate filling

12 ounces best-quality dark chocolate
1/2 tsp light corn syrup

To make the Sunbutter dough:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter, both sugars, oil, and Sunbutter on medium speed for about 5 minutes until light. Add the prepared egg replacer and vanilla and beat again until everything is well incorporated. Don't forget to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between mixing.

Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat again until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat again. Try not to mix more than necessary at this point.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and press into a disk shape. Wrap the dough first in parchment paper, then cover the whole thing in a layer of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Now you're ready to roll!
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line a large work surface with a sheet of parchment paper. Dust the parchment paper lightly with flour. Break the dough disk in half. Use a rolling pin to roll half the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9 inches x 7 inches and 1/2-inch thick. Don't worry if it's not perfect, but don't roll the dough too thin. If your dough is very soft and pliable at this point, place the rolled out rectangle back in the fridge to firm up a bit. My dough was quite firm already so I skipped this step. Repeat the process with the remaining half of dough.
Next, make the chocolate filling. Melt the chocolate and corn syrup together in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth. Paint, pour, or spread the chocolate over the rolled out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border free of chocolate along one long edge.
Take a deep breath. Starting at the long, chocolate-covered edge, use the parchment paper to help you lift the edge and start rolling the dough into a log. You should be rolling toward the edge with a chocolate-free border. It's probably obvious, but just in case, make sure the parchment remains on the outside of the cookie dough unless you want paper in your cookies.

Take your time and try not to freak out of things don't do exactly as planned. If the dough cracks, gently press the crack back together with your fingers. If the chocolate starts oozing out the ends, great. You know you used enough chocolate. And if your dough snaps apart mid-roll like this...
pour yourself a cocktail and carry on, rolling the broken dough right into the center of the cookie roll. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Eventually, you'll end up with something along these lines.
Have I mentioned that I am not a perfectionist? These are whimsical cookies. Expect a little mess. Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate again, for at least 3 hours and up to a full day.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a couple of baking sheets with more parchment paper. Unwrap a chilled cookie log and place on a cutting surface. Using a very sharp or serrated knife dipped in hot water, slice the log into 1/2-inch thick rounds. After much trial and error, I found a small, serrated knife dipped in hot water between each and every cut worked best for me. Repeat with the second log and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 10-13 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through bake time. They're done when you see the first hint of brown start to form. Remove from oven. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

They'll keep for a few days tightly covered...if they last that long!


  1. Haha! Ok, you had me giggling out loud (to myself...since I'm the only one here aside from the cats). I think my new "man criteria" will now include "can he eat enough cookies to keep me from putting on weight if I bake too much?"

    Aside from empathizing with your hair shirt, I have been so curious about sunbutter! I need to give it a try, just to see what it is like.

    1. Smart move, sister! Find a man who can pull his weight in cookie consumption! I thought a chest freezer could save me from myself but it's useless. I still know they're in there.