As noted in the headnote of 100 Cookies, this Neapolitan cookie was inspired by Pink Door Cookies owner Mathew Rice’s Neapolitan cookie. I stumbled upon the cookie while searching Pinterest for the color pink; this cookie popped up, and I was intrigued by the pretty colors and flavors of Neapolitan ice cream all rolled together.
Mathew originally shared his recipe here, but he now makes them at his cookie shop, Pink Door Cookies in Nashville, which he opened in late 2020. “Cookies have always been my favorite thing to make,” Rice told the Nashville Scene. “I feel like they’re humble, but you can elevate them in really wild ways. Having been a pastry chef for almost 20 years at this point, I bring a lot to cookies that’s unexpected, and I’m incorporating the components and flavors of plated desserts but in cookie form.”
If you live in the Nashville area, please check out Pink Door Cookies! Along with his Original Neapolitan Cookie, Mathew also has a variety of other flavors: Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Corn, Cotton Candy, Rainbow Brownie, Blueberry Pancake, Cinnamon Toast Snickerdoodle, and classic Chocolate Chip, just to name a few.
Neapolitan Cookie Making Tips:
- Use black cocoa powder for a darker color.
- I buy freeze-dried strawberries at Target. The powdered strawberries on their own won’t give a bright pink hue, so I like to add a little food coloring.
- I also like to roll each individual color of dough into the same color of sprinkles, but you can mix and match however your heart desires.
How to Make Neapolitan Cookies:
Divide the dough into three equal portions (about 320 g each), keeping one vanilla, and then adding powdered freeze-dried strawberries to one portion and cocoa powder to the remaining portion.
Pinch a small portion (about 15 g) of each of the three doughs and separate them into piles.
For more of a striped look (where the colors overlap into each other more) gently press the pieces together and then press the piece into a cookie scoop or roll into a ball.
For a cookie with more distinct flavor sections but slight overlap, roll each different flavored piece into a ball, then gently press together. Place the pieces into a cookie scoop or roll into a ball.
For a cookie with very distinct flavor sections and no overlap, roll the different flavor pieces into separate balls and then gently press together.
Use your hands to gently cup the shape into a circle, and then bake as shown above.
Cookies will differ slightly depending on which method you chose! Cookies can also be rolled in sprinkles or granulated sugar before baking. I used a pastel pink food coloring here for a lighter color, but the strawberry portion can be made more vivid with more food coloring.
Making Cookie Dough Ahead of Time
The cookie dough can be shaped and held overnight in the refrigerator (make sure to cover the dough with plastic wrap), and then baked the next day. If baked straight from the fridge, you may need to add a minute or two to the baking time.
To make these Neapolitan Cookies, I used my sugar cookie recipe (#6 in 100 Cookies) as a base and came up with this version.
More Cookie Recipes:
- 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon [364 g] all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberries, which equals 8 grams (measured before pulsing)
- 1 cup [2 sticks | 227 g] unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 3/4 cup [350 g] granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 or 3 drops red food coloring optional
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- Sprinkles or granulated sugar for rolling
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [180C]. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulverize the strawberries into a powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
- Dump the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into three equal portions. Put one-third of the dough back into the mixer and add the powdered strawberries and food coloring, if using. Mix on low speed until totally combined, then remove the dough and quickly wipe out the bowl of the mixer.
- Add another third of dough to the mixer. Add the cocoa powder and mix on low speed until totally combined.
- Pinch a small portion (about 1/2 oz [15 g]) of each of the three doughs, and press them gently together, so they adhere to each other, but keep their unique colors. Press the piece into a cookie scoop or roll it into a ball, then roll the ball into sprinkles or granulated sugar. Place 6 or 7 cookies on each sheet pan. Bake the cookies one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the sides are set and the cookies are puffed, 10 to 11 minutes.
- Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan, then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.