Pie Crust Pinwheels


When I was a kid, I had a friend named Jennifer who lived down the street from me. Jen lived with her Grandma Ruth. I used to love spending the afternoon at Jen’s house, because Ruth was always baking something yummy. I really looked forward to the days when she made pie. Her favorite flavor was lemon chiffon. They had a lemon tree out back, and Jen and I would help pick the ripe lemons for her pies. Sometimes we’d make sugary sweet lemonade with the extras. We added so much sugar that it was thick like syrup by the time we were done.

The best part about those lazy pie afternoons was that Ruth would save the trimmings from the crust for us so we could make pinwheel cookies. We would spread the dough with butter, cinnamon and sugar, then roll and cut the cookies into little pinwheels. When we were done, Ruth baked them till they turned flaky and crisp. The smell as they baked was like heaven! Nothing better. To be honest, I looked forward to the pinwheel cookies more than the pie itself!

I thought these Pie Crust Pinwheels would be a fun way to “wrap up” my series on pie crust. These little cookies are a great way to use up those leftover trimmings from the crust-making process. It’s so easy that a kid can do it… in fact, it’s a great way to get kids involved in the pie making process. If your kids are young, you should do the cutting– the rest is really simple. I haven’t given amounts here, since the amount of dough you’re working with will vary based on the trimmings you have. Use lots of sugar. It’s the best part. :)

I made these last week, and the smell of them baking brought back all those memories of Grandma Ruth and Jen and lemon trees. It was a simpler time. A happier time. During difficult weeks, when the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, I close my eyes and remember those moments… and I breathe. It helps.

To learn about the History of Pie in America, click here.

To learn how to make an Old Fashioned All-Butter Pie Crust, click here.

What do you do with your leftover pie trimmings?

Pie Crust Pinwheels


  • Leftover pie crust trimmings
  • Melted unsalted butter
  • Granulated white sugar
  • Cinnamon
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Varies based on how many dough trimmings you have
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Gather your pie trimmings into a ball. Lightly flour your rolling surface and the top of the dough ball.
  • Roll the dough out into the rough shape of a long thin rectangle.
  • Cut the two short, rounded sides to form a straight edge on either end of the rectangle.
  • Dust the flour off the top of the dough, then spread it evenly with melted butter to coat the entire surface.
  • Sprinkle it with sugar.
  • Then, sprinkle it with cinnamon.
  • Roll the rectangle up horizontally into a long, thin tube. This will make several small pinwheels cookies. Alternatively, you could roll it vertically to make larger cookies; you will end up with fewer cookies this way.
  • Slice the tube into cookies.
  • Place cookies swirl-side up onto an ungreased baking sheet. Spread the top of each cookie with a little more melted butter.
  • Sprinkle them with a little extra sugar for good measure.
  • Bake the cookies for 30-45 minutes till the edges are golden brown and the cookies are crisp. Baking time will vary based on how big the cookies were cut.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve. They go great with an ice cold glass of milk.

About Tori Avey

Tori Avey acts as editor and curator of The History Kitchen, where she shares her own food history writing and seeks out creative contributors from throughout the culinary world. Tori also writes an award-winning kosher food blog, The Shiksa in the Kitchen. She explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...
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Category: Baked Goods, Desserts, Kosher - Dairy, Recipes, Vegetarian, Vintage Recipes

Comments (39)Post a Comment

  1. Ann says:

    I remember those! My father used to make pies every once in a while and he took the pie crust scraps, spread peanut butter on them and baked!

    It’s funny…he’s elderly and every time I make a pie he tells me what to do with the pie crust scraps – as if it was the first time….

    ….Thank you for such a lovely food memory!

  2. Ursula Higgs says:

    This reminds me off my childhood with my grandmother when she made pies. She is 90 and can no longer bake anymore. But she made this exact recipe with her leftover pie trimmings. A classic that I love. Maybe I need to go make a pie and some cookies. :)

  3. Veronica J. Fortune says:

    This brought back memories! Cooking with my mom from the time I was 9 years old in NY, she made “bowties” with the leftover pie crust dough. Same thing, with the cinnamon, sugar and butter. Funny, in doing research on my mom’s maiden name, it came up everywhere as being Ashkenazi. Meanwhile, I used to say to her so often, “Mom, you’re like a typical Jewish mother, only we aren’t Jewish!” She was such a, what I called, ‘Sarah Heartburn’. I’d even put my arm over my forehead, and say, “Mom, you forgot to do THIS!” Also, her fave candy was Joyva Halva. So,,,,,perhaps will never know. She passed away in 1996. She made me crazy, but I miss her! She and my grandmother, Sophia, were phenomenal cooks. I owe all my expertise, and cooking awards, to them! I’m presently writing a cookbook myself, and as I’m an artist (hence the “rtiste”) am illustrating it myself, as well. Blessings, Veronica.

  4. K says:

    Aww this reminded me of my grandmother!!! She made these too (therefore, of course my mom did as well). We called them “gobble-ups” because you could “gobble them up” quickly after they baked! ;) One of my favorite memories. Thanks for the smile!

  5. Tanya says:

    That is a great idea! They look yummy too!

  6. Ooh, what a great idea, Tori. It didn’t occur to me to do something like this even though it’s like, “Hester, why are you wasting precious pie dough?”

  7. That cinnamon inside is so lovey and can imagine the fragrant and smell once done with the baking.

  8. It is funny that so many of us remember the treats from the excess pie crust rather than the pie itself! Nothing like flaky dough with cinnamon-buzz buzz!

  9. briarrose says:

    These take me back. My mom used to make these all the time with her leftover pie dough. So tasty.

  10. Liz says:

    Mmmmmm….my family would love these cinnamony gems! Excellent idea~

  11. Kim Bee says:

    Another wonderful recipe Tori. I love the look of this one. You must have incredible light in your kitchen. So jealous of your pics. My house is so gloomy, no light.

  12. Kelly says:

    Yummy these look delicious and you make it look so easy! Trying this soon! :)

  13. Heather says:

    Okay, well, that’s just brilliant.

  14. Kita says:

    I don’t like pie… rather, I don’t care for fruit. I know, I know, I’m working on it. So to me, the only part of a pie that I enjoy is the crispy warm delicious buttery crusts… and boy, do I love that. These pinwheels have me drooling. What more could a fruit hating pie crust loving girl ask for? ;)

  15. Pingback: The Shiksa Picks – Tori’s Favorite Finds on the Web 8.12.11 | The Shiksa Blog

  16. Faythe says:

    Oooohhhh. I know what I’m making this weekend. Pie crust + more butter + sugar + cinnamon. What’s not to like? And, I am such a pie person, too. I usually just cut remaining pie dough into strips, sprinkle some sugar and bake them, but THIS looks soooooo much better. Mmmm. Thank you. :)

  17. Donna G says:

    My mom makes the best pie crust. I am still learning (okay, so what if I’m over 50?) She cut the leftover crust into strips and we sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar and baked them. I guess that’s why I have a jar of cinnamon sugar in the pantry, and the last pie I baked from scratch (at least the crust) was, what, 15 years ago?

  18. MIchelle says:

    My grandma and I always used to make small snickerdoddle cookies with the left over pie crusts. They would puff up and turn a beautiful golden brown. All we needed was cinnamon, sugar and leftover dough. It was so much fun to be in the kitchen where all the action was happening when I was a little kid, and making these cookies really made me feel like I was involved too. I miss the simplicity of those cookies and of those earlier times.

  19. Curt says:

    Those look great. I love cinnamon.

  20. webbiest says:

    These are a popular treat in Quebec, where they call them Pets de soeur (nun’s farts).

    link to sweets.seriouseats.com

  21. Lilly says:

    I am an 11 year old girl and I was playing hooky one day when I asked my mom if I could use the leftover pie crust in the fridge. When she said yes I scoured the internet ( searched ‘pie crust dough recipes’ on google) and found the best cookie dough recipe ever. YOURS! Thank you so much! Can’t wait to make this with my little cousins and sister! THANK YOU!

  22. shirley says:

    oh my,my mom died at 91 yrs old,and had 8 children,she did so
    much baking as i was growing up and we had these cinnemon rolls at least once a wk.from left over pastry,and we kids loved this better than pies.she also made home made bread or rolls every day and we hurried from school to eat it.brings back many good memories.

  23. Elaine Kelly says:

    Ohhhh my…What I would give to be back in the kitchen with my mother, making pies, when I was a little girl. I didn’t care for pies, but just waiting until she put the pie in the oven….AND, rolling out the excess dough, knowing she was going to make the pinwheels. Mmmmmm, I can still taste them. Think I’ll go and make some pie crust now….For pinwheels.

  24. nancy roellig says:

    I love to make these, only problem, you think you will have just a couple and before you know it, they are half gone. hahha

  25. Mary in Nava Scotia says:

    Thanks so much for reminding me – my mom made these, too, and I loved them, and loved “helping” her make pies, when I am sure I was more hindrance than help. I’ll be making cinnamon pinwheels this weekend with my 2 year old granddaughter, and I am sure somewhere, my mom is smiling.

    Really enjoy your blog.

  26. Darlene in Tennessee says:

    I grew up in New England where my grandmother taught me to make pies. We always used the leftover dough to make these. I make them with my children and grandchildren now. What wonderful memories!!

  27. Pat McNees says:

    Our mother used to line the bottom of the pan with butter, lots of chopped up walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, so that our cinnamon rolls (from leftover pie dough were little sticky buns (but better than the ones I see in stores).

  28. georgia Hood says:

    Morher used to make them for us. that was over 75 yes ago. I have made them a few times, but was always confused on the temp of the oven. home you can help me out. Want to make them for our grandkids for xmas
    Thank you

  29. Carol says:

    My Mom used to make basically the same thing only she used my little pie pans and made them pies. Can still taste them and will soon make them for myself. They were always a very special treat.

  30. Louise says:

    My mother used make these and called them “Bubbe pleasers”. As a girl that just didn’t make sense to me..what the heck is a bubbe? However, since we have studied Scriptures and Hebrew and become Messianic, it makes me wonder if there were some Bubbes in my mother’s family, because she did not know what a Bubbe was either! Ha! Now I am Bubbe!

  31. Erin says:

    My mom used to use pie crust scraps spread PBandJ on them and cook them.

  32. daniellle says:

    This so awsome it works so good and Im makin it now and they taste so good

  33. Judy says:

    I don’t know where I learned to do these, but have been making these since I was in my 20′s. (Waaay past that age now.) We (and my kids) call them “roll me ups.” I’ve heard others call them “roll mops.” Very tasty, and sometimes better than the pie itself! (As others have also said.)

  34. Marty says:

    I make these all the time. My children were raised having these every time I made a pie. Now for special occasions I will make a whole cookie sheet for each of my sons who are now grown with families of their own. You would think that I am giving them a bag of gold!

  35. Sharon-Margret says:

    My mother used to make these as well and we too preferred them over the pie itself. We called them Rolly-Pollies. If memory serves me correctly, I believe they were rolled up as pictured but not into a pinwheel but twisted before putting on the cookie sheet.

  36. cba says:

    These are great using any kind of jam/preserves you like instead of the cinnamon sugar.

  37. Lakesha says:

    Great Idea, thanks so much.

  38. Kris says:

    My gran still makes these. They were always a bonus on days when she made pies. The best were just the brown sugar ones, but they are also yummy with peanut butter.

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