Neapolitan Cookies

For the people who can’t decide between Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate, or people who love old school Banana Split. Slightly nostalgic as those are such a classic during childhood Swensen’s meals. Or the old-school Nestle ice cream that contains those three flavors in a single block.

It got me curious about the origin about why it’s called Neapolitan cookies in the first place. So fun fact, it’s named after the city of origin, Naples in Italy in late 19th century, historically the colors of the italian flag  – green (pistachio or almond), white (vanilla), and red (cherry pink). It was brought to the United States in the 1870s as Neapolitan-style ice cream, and likely evolved to become chocolate, vanilla and strawberry which were the most popular flavors there at that time. Classically, it consists of three layers, moulded into a single block and cut into slices like this,

Well the only reason I made this was because I thought these cookies by Stef from Cupcake Project, inspired by Matthew Rice, were super pretty. I was also inspired by these Neapolitan cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  The recipe is a one-dough mix, flavored three ways. They used Strawberry Nesquik for the strawberry flavor, which is quite a fun touch! I didn’t have strawberry powder so I modified by flavoring it with beetroot powder with strawberry emulsion (The strawberry extract makes a huge difference!) Ground free dried strawberries would work nicely as well. The chocolate was flavored with simple cocoa powder, and the whole thing is decorated with a fun sprinkle mix.

Once you have the three flavored dough, roll them in swirls and bake. Tips will depend on the temperature of the dough. I didn’t have time to chill them in the fridge, so the ice cream scoop was a great tool to shape the pieces. If you had time to chill the dough separately, it makes it much easier and you may be able to get neater swirls that way.

Neapolitan Cookies

Makes around 30 cookies
Neapolitan Cookies adapted from Cupcake Project


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar (reduced to 1 1/4 cup)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon nonfat dried milk powder (bought from Hokkaido)
2 tablespoons beetroot powder
1 teaspoon strawberry emulco
2 tablespoons slightly crushed freeze dried strawberries (optional)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Assorted pink brown, and white sprinkles (optional)

To make Neapolitan Cookies

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Cream on high speed until the mixture goes from yellow to white, about 5 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and milk powder. Add slowly to the creamed mixture. Mix on low speed only until the flour disappears. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and divide into three portions.

Vanilla: Set aside one third for the vanilla part
Strawberry: Place another portion back into the mixer bowl, and add beetroot powder with strawberry emulco, Mix until pink. Fold in the berry pieces, if using
Chocolate: Add the last portion of dough to the mixer, and mix in the cocoa powder. Chill all three flavors in the fridge at least an hour, but preferably overnight

Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Scoop across all three doughs using a 1/3 ounce scoop (about the size of a ping pong ball). Aim for a fairly equal mix of all three and use your hand to pack the dough tightly into the scoop.
Space evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet with a couple of inches between each scoop. Roll in sprinkles, if using.

Bake until cookies spread nicely, and the vanilla parts are golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.


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