When I made these cookies for my family, there were “Mmmm’s…” all around the table. Delicate citrus flavoring is just right for warmer months, and these light, yet indulgent cookies are the perfect addition to your next spring get-together, be it a party, picnic, or a ladies only luncheon & tea. They are relatively easy to make, and very customizable! Change the wing colors as you (or your little ones) choose, and decorate with a variety of sprinkles or sugars. You could also make a few into dragonflies by simply flattening the rolls for the wings into an oblong shape. However you make them, keep in mind that these cookies do come out rather large, so you could break a couple in half to share… or not!

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Butterfly Pinwheel Cookies Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • Few drops of orange extract or oil
  • Few drops of orange food coloring (or yellow + red)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 egg white
  • Colored sugar for decorating (optional)

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a mixer, cream butter; add sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time; add vanilla. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds. Wrap 1/3 of dough in plastic wrap. Return 1/3 of the dough to the mixer and add orange extract and coloring. Wrap in plastic wrap. Return last 1/3 of dough to the mixer and add cocoa. Wrap in plastic wrap.

Place the 3 different dough’s in refrigerator for about 20 minutes. On a baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet, roll and/or pat the orange dough into a 6 x 10” rectangle, about 1/4” thick. (Sprinkle with a little flour as necessary if dough is too sticky.) Roll and/or pat the white dough into a 5 x 10” rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Leave dough on baking mat or parchment paper and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour.


In the meantime, roll and/or pat chocolate dough into a 4 x 8” rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Refrigerate for one hour.

Brush egg white on orange dough. Layer white dough on top of orange dough and press lightly. Roll up along long side. Pinch seam together. Wrap in plastic wrap. Roll the log as if you were rolling a rolling pin to help seal the layers together. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove log from refrigerator. Cut into 1/4” slices. Remove chocolate dough from refrigerator. Cut into 1/2 x 4” slices (you will probably have a little chocolate dough leftover).

Place chocolate logs on baking sheet and arrange 4 pinwheels on each as wings. Gently press edges together. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Bake 13-15 minutes until cookies are set but not browned. Allow to cool on baking sheet 5-10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Makes 8 very large cookies.


Click here for a printable PDF of this recipe.

Delicious Day Tea Cup Art- Jacquelynne Steves