image of whole grain sourdough pinwheels

Whole Grain Sourdough Pinwheels

Oh man, these Whole Grain Sourdough Pinwheels are addicting. I love simple shortbread cookies, and I pondered how I could make some simple shortbreads even more fun – sourdough discard. And almond extract. And best of all, different whole grain flours for natural dough colors. These cookies are almond-y! They’re gorgeous! And they’re whole grain! Amazing.

image of close up whole grain sourdough pinwheels

So, this week, I decided to figure out what mix of flours would create two distinctly different colored shortbreads! I ended up using spelt for the lighter dough, and combining rye and buckwheat for the darker dough.

Look, sometimes (most of the time) I just want a fun little baking project that involves spiraling two doughs together. This project really excels in terms of a lovely result. Can I spiral bakes together all the time? I’m pretty in love with them after my Vegan Cranberry Coconut Sourdough Babka. Maybe that’ll be my blog’s new theme – spiral-y baked things???? Stay tuned to see how this pans out.

image of festive whole grain sourdough pinwheels

Whole Grain Sourdough Pinwheels: Little details

Keep the doughs cold! After you mix them and rest them in the fridge, they need to stay cold! We want the doughs to be very easy to work with when we roll them out. The dough should feel firm but still malleable.

That being said, if they’re too cold, allow them to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before attempting to roll them out. This may happen if you rest them for longer than 30 minutes (you can rest them for 24 hours if you’re short on time!). If they’re too cold, they’ll crack when you roll the doughs up together.

If the doughs are too warm and squishy, set them in the fridge or freezer for five minutes. Sometimes, this process takes a bit of patience. But it’s so worth it!!

If you make this recipe, please comment and rate the recipe below! I love hearing from you all. Also, you can tag me on Instagram @higheralchemybaking with your bake!

image of whole grain sourdough pinwheels recipe

Whole Grain Sourdough Pinwheels

These pinwheels are almond-y, naturally colored with whole grains, and a great use for your sourdough discard! Sometimes, we all just want some spirals in our life and sometimes, they come in cookie form.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 30 cookies
Calories 121 kcal


  • A baking sheet!


for the light dough

  • 113g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 50g unfed sourdough starter (sourdough discard)
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 170g sifted spelt flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

for the dark dough

  • 113g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 50g unfed sourdough starter (sourdough discard)
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 85g sifted rye flour
  • 85g sifted buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • First, make the light dough. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream the butter, sourdough discard, and sugar together on high speed for 6 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
  • Add the extract and mix for 20 seconds on high speed, then scrape the bowl sides. Add the sifted spelt flour and salt then combine on low speed until no more butter streaks are visible. Scoop the dough (scraping it out of the bowl really well!) onto a square of saran wrap and pat into a small rectangle, about 5×6 inches. Cover up the dough and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Make the dark dough now. You don’t need to wash the bowl. Repeat the light dough’s making process, swapping in the rye and buckwheat flour for the spelt flour. Cover and set the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out each dough between two parchment sheets into a very precise 11×5-inch rectangle. It should be about a 1/4 inch thick. You may have to slice off any uneven edges and pat them into any necessary places to fill out the rectangle. Keep the parchment papers on the dough and set on a sheet pan, then place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Take the doughs out, pull off the parchment papers (save one for the next step) and stack the dark dough directly on top of the light dough. If there is any unevenness to the edges, you can trim the edges as necessary with a sharp knife.
  • Roll up the doughs together into a long cylinder, then set on a parchment sheet on the sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Pull out the cylinder and slice into ½-inch thick cookies, then set on the sheet pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. This may fill up two sheet pans. Set the filled sheet pan(s) in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Bake the cookies for 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake. They won’t look browned but they are done! Let cool on the sheet pan for five minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Enjoy! Let me know what you think below in the comments or on Instagram @higheralchemybaking!


You can replace the spelt flour with all-purpose flour. You can replace the rye flour or buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour. But unfortunately, there will be only a subtle color difference between the doughs then.
You can use vegan butter for the unsalted butter. My favorite brand is Miyoko’s Creamery.
You can replace the almond extract with vanilla extract if almond is not your thing!
Feel free to use raw sugar instead of granulated sugar.

Let me know what you think of my recipe in the comments below!

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