Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Pinwheels

Creamy and Sweet

Creamy and Sweet

I’ve been on a sugar kick lately, and for whatever reason these nostalgic treats kept popping into my mind. They were extremely popular where I grew up and often graced the child’s-eye-level shelf at our local store bakeries. One version of the recipe uses cold mashed potatoes in the sugar dough, and at first, I was bent on making potato candy . . . then my sister talked some sense into me. You can indeed use plain leftover potatoes, but according to Sissy, the result can be unpleasantly grainy and not as tasty.

Half a batch provided plenty of candy for our house. If you’re having a bake sale or a party, simply double the ingredients for a super-size batch. The dough comes together very easily in a stand mixer, but a wooden spoon and a bowl will work just fine (be sure to knead the dough).

The dough is quite easy to handle. It also has plenty of sugar, so I reccommend using a fresh ground nut butter or a natural variety like Adams. The distinct lack of sugar in the nut butter provides a welcome contrast to the creamy, sweet dough. I initially used 1 cup of creamy cashew-peanut butter (so yummy) with no sugar added, but I think that wasn’t quite enough, so I suggest at least 1 1/2 cups in the recipe.

Sissy’s Peanut Butter Pinwheels

  • 1lb powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs heavy cream
  • good quality peanut butter (about 1 1/2 cups) room temp

sugar doughMix sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add cream slowly (1 Tbs at a time) until a dough forms.

rolled out sugar doughKnead on board covered with powdered sugar at least 5 minutes. It should be nice and smooth. Divide in half. Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap.

ready to rollRemove top sheet of plastic. Spread dough with Peanut Butter. Roll up jelly-roll style.

candy logCover with plastic wrap. Chill until firm.

Use a sharp, clean knife to cut 1/4″ slices.

Keep this candy refrigerated . . . I keep it wrapped and just cut off a slice when I want a fix. I don’t know how well it freezes because it never stays around that long.



46 responses to “Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Pinwheels

  1. I’ve never had this. It looks so yummy! I know it wouldn’t last long in my house.

  2. Saw these yummy pinwheels on Foodbuzz earlier and came back to comment – I’m bookmarking to make these sometime soon 🙂

  3. illxbexfamousxsomeday

    These look so yummy! I really want to make these; I really need to start learning how to cook- I’m in high school and my skills only include pancakes xP

    • curiousdomestic

      This candy is totally easy. And pancakes require some skill . . . if you can make those, there’s lots of other stuff you can do. Try crepes for a change and fill them with yummy savoury or sweet things. I like mine with bananas and nutella.

  4. sugarmamabakingco

    oh my goodness! This looks SO FANTASTIC! I thought i was the only fan of Adams Peanutbutter! 🙂 May I link to your blog on my blog? sugarmamabakingco.wordpress.com

  5. Wow. This is exactly the kind of thing I’d want to eat alllll the time!

  6. These look yummy. I’d say good choice on skipping the potato candy. Once I made potato candy with mashed potatoes, sugar and vanilla. It tasted exactly as gross as you would expect- like cold, sweet, gritty mashed potatoes.
    These on the other hand, look crazy addictive.

  7. twelfthdimension


  8. feastonthecheap

    These look dangerous…I’ve make something kinda, sorta similar with prosciutto (as an app). I can’t wait to try this iteration tho

  9. I’ve never tried these but they look very yummy!

  10. Those are adorable, and they sound like something I would love. Nom!

  11. curiousdomestic

    We have nommed it all, and we are sad it is gone . . . time to make more candy!

  12. Thank you thank you thank you!!! My mom made this every holiday, from the time I was a toddler until now the age of 43! She gave the recipe to my sister when she moved to Florida for the seasons, but somehow I was left out of the loop! But thanks to a quick search which led me to your page I now have it for my family!!! Thanks again!

  13. My Grandma made these when I was growing up & I have continued the tradition. I am now 55. These are great to freeze. You can freeze the whole roll or cut first & then freeze. They thaw so quickly that it is easy to take out a few pieces at a time. 10 min. later & they are great!

  14. I have looked everywhere for a recipe for this like my grandmother used to make and this is it! YUMMMM! Thank you for sharing!

  15. I can’t begin to tell you the flood of memories these candies bring back. I think I’ll make a batch tonight to start some new memories with my kids.
    Thank you!

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  17. I’m sorry to disagree with everyone here, but I grew up in Tennessee and I used to make this candy with the potato. It is NOT gross.. when I moved to Kentucky, nobody up here used potato and actually had never heard of using potato in this candy. Personally, I can’t stand the candy of choice up here, Divinity, and for me.. using the potato gives the candy a really nice texture, and offsets the mind numbingly, cloyingly sweetness of just the confectioner’s sugar. Would love to see the original recipe with the potato, as I can’t find my mother’s recipe and I don’t remember it.

    • curiousdomestic

      Tosha ~ Thanks for your comment. Everyone has different tastes, so here’s a real potato version for you.

      Really old-timey pinwheels with potato: Peel and boil a medium sized potato until tender. Mash it thoroughly with 1 tsp vanilla and a dash of salt, then chill it in the fridge. Gradually mix in about 4 cups (or more) of powdered sugar until the dough holds together (it should get stiffer and dry enough to roll out). The amount of powdered sugar used will vary depending on the size and moisture of the potato. Roll out potato mix in a rectangle, spread with peanut butter, roll it up, chill it, and slice it. Store wrapped in fridge.

      If you try it, tell us how it works out!

  18. Thank you so much! I just made a batch of this yesterday.. took it over to a friend’s dinner for after meal treats and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone kept talking about how good it was and kept asking me for the recipe.
    Thank you!

  19. I’ve looked for this recipe forever. My mom used to make them when we were especially good kids. They are so good I think I could get addicted to them. Thank you for the recipe!!!!

  20. Yummiest of yummy! I first had it in grade school in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  21. probably my most favorite dessert in elementary school.

  22. I LOVE these, my grandma makes them sometimes and especially at christmas, I have a bag now that I’m pigging away on. My brother knows the recipe but apparently it was a big secret so here I am looking it up on line . So interesting and simple, I think I’ll make them all of the time too. I just introduced my bf to them this Christmas and his grandma remembers them from childhood, I thought that was cool. But I can’t wait to munch away!

    • curiousdomestic

      @ Lynn + Kristen : I know! Addictive and nostalgic and so easy. They make me think of family every time I make some. Sweet 8)

  23. My mom used to make these when I was a kid. Once she made them for the school bake sale; my siblings and I took our money and bought them for ourselves. Delicious! 🙂

  24. I have made this for years, or a similar version. I actually freeze the roll prior to cutting and then store in the freezer and raid it from there. So it is good frozen too!

  25. This has been a family tradition all my life, my Momma made this and fudge and gave as little extra gifts, one of my brothers likes it so well, he don’t even wait for Christmas anymore, it is sooo easy and it’s also sooo addicting, Thanks for bringing back some childhood memories, it made me smile 😉

  26. These were served in our school cafeteria in the 50’s. I loved them then & it seems that everyone I serve them to now loves them. They are wonderful to freeze. Infact, they are delicious right out of the freezer. It takes about 5 minutes to get to the perfect consistency So easy to make too!

  27. I made these for Christmas and everyone was very impressed! I live in the South, and these are very popular in my community. However, your recipe makes a much creamy dough and it cuts so nicely! I am getting ready to make another batch today due to family requests for our New Year’s celebration. Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

  28. My mom also made this “Peanut Butter Swirl” candy when I was growing up and I have never known of anyone else making it until now. My mom grew up in East Tennessee, and 2 other people mentioned Tennessee. I was just wondering if this was a regional thing. Where did other people come from?

  29. Hi Every body,
    People in Tennessee were usually poor, but but could come up with delicious recipes for treats & candy. The peanut butter swirls were usually loved & appreciated by every person who tasted them. They would usually go home, & make the candy themselves for their family. Didn’t take much to make the candy, just some powdered sugar, a few spoons of milk, & some peanut butter. I learned the recipe from my Mother, & usually make them almost every Christmas for my children. Now they are asking me for the recipe for the Swirl candy.

  30. these look delicious, i wonder if they would be good with jelly in there as well?

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  32. I cannot get the dough to stiffen up… I’ve ended up using wayyy more sugar than it says. It’s getting there now, but it’s still more like frosting. Am I not mixing long enough, or should I be using a specific speed..? What could I be doing wrong? 😦

    • curiousdomestic

      Adding the cream gradually can help. You may not need all of it to get the consistency correct. The weather (humidity in particular) can also affect candy making. Try the recipe on a cool, dry day.

  33. This is Nov 21 2015 I am no chef or claim to be but I sure do love peanut butter roll so I wanted a easy way to make it. This is a good recipe it was easy to make and taste very good.. Thanks yum yum

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