We’ve all been there. A neighbor, a friend, an acquaintance from school or work presents you with a gift you weren’t expecting. And now you’re scrambling to reciprocate. You could frantically dash out the door and comb the store looking for something clever and heartfelt…something that you hoped looked like a planned gift all along. Or you can sweetly accept that unexpected gift and know you’ve got the answer to this dilemma at your fingertips.

Chocolate Coconut Pinwheels are the perfect homemade gift because not only are they tasty, they look pretty (love that swirl!) AND the dough can be made ahead and frozen. It’s a great recipe to prep now, pop in the freezer and pull out in a few weeks. All you need to do is slice and bake, and you have fresh, homemade cookies to give as last-minute gifts.  

Quick tip: the coconut you use in this recipe is not the sweetened, bagged variety you find in the baking aisle at the grocery store. Head on over to the bulk foods section and look for the bin that says unsweetened, desiccated coconut. This is a finer, drier version of what you find in the bags. This is not a super sweet cookie, which is another reason I think it’s a great gift for a variety of tastebuds. The condensed milk gives the cookies just enough sweetness to offset the bittersweet chocolate. And who can resist the combination of coconut and chocolate?

It’s often said the best gifts come from the heart. I agree, but I think you could argue that some spectacular gifts also come from the oven. What’s your favorite homemade gift to give during the holidays? 

Yield: 36 cookies

Chocolate Coconut Pinwheels

Chocolate Coconut Pinwheels

These delicious, make-ahead Chocolate Coconut Pinwheels are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.

Prep Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 9 hours 40 minutes


  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened desiccated shredded coconut
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk


  1. Use a mixer on medium speed to beat together 8 tablespoons butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and beat on low until combined. Add coconut and beat until combined.
  3. Dump dough onto a 12 x 17 inch piece of parchment paper and add another 12 x 17 piece on top. Roll out the dough into a rectangle between the two pieces of parchment. You want to end up with a piece of dough about 10 x 15 inches in size (trim if necessary) and about 1/4 inch thick. Place dough (still between parchment) on baking sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. Place the chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir together until melted and remove from heat. Stir in the condensed milk and let stand until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Once dough is chilled, remove from refrigerator and take off the top piece of parchment. Spread the melted chocolate over the dough. Roll the dough into a log, peeling away the bottom parchment as you roll. If the dough sticks to the parchment, gently scrape it away from the paper using a dough scraper or dull knife. Wrap dough log in parchment and refrigerate overnight or freeze until you want to bake the cookies.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your cookie pans with parchment or use silpat liners. Take the parchment off the dough log and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place cookie dough rounds on the cookie sheets and bake until light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Rotate your pans halfway through baking if you have more than one in your oven at the same time. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool.


recipe from Martha Stewart