I love cookies, pastries, cakes, breads, etc... that have a bit of shape and art to them. When I saw the original cookie recipe of these on Alton Brown's Christmas-cookie-something-show I wanted to make them simply because of the twirl. Who cares what they tasted like I wanted that damn twirl! They do taste great though, added bonus. On Alton's show he made them as a peppermint version. Since I am not the person to go by the rules I did them my way. I'm not a big fan of candy peppermint, I love the taste of mint, but just hate the whole crunchy candy cane stuff. Candy canes are kind boring to me...I need something else happening/going on taste or texture wise with the candy cane to eat it. I love watching and learning from Alton Brown, but sometimes he can get a bit cheeky in his "Good Eats" show--too goofy, too silly you know? He is very smart and knowledgeable when it comes to deconstructing recipes and educating you on their backgrounds and simpleness of them--so why be cheeky? Half the time when I'm watching his show I rarely pay attention, my ADD gets the best of me when shiny kitchen utensils are in the forefront and background. I have to see what he has for kitchen tools, how he has his kitchen drawers lined up, what's in all the kitchen drawers, how many gadgets he has, and what's in his friggin' fridge! I also love seeing what kind of knives the chef's have on the show 'The Next Iron Chef', and what else is in their bags and foldups. I'm a firm believer that the perfect tools help make the perfect chef. Duh, right?
Back to these cookies, as I said above they were originally chocolate-peppermint pinwheels from Alton Brown. To make the toffee-vanilla pinwheels all I did was change it up with toffee and take out all peppermint, and change places with the two doughs. You could change it up with just about anything really: peanut butter sounds good; I would love to try a vanilla-strawberry version. So, if you do want to make these my way: just follow that recipe from Alton Brown, take out the peppermint extract, use 1/2 cup toffee bits instead of crushed candy cane, add the toffee bits to the vanilla dough not the chocolate dough, and put the chocolate layer on the inside instead of the outside. That's it! These make awesome Christmas gifts if they ever make it out of your kitchen.