If Neapolitan ice cream is popular at your house, these cookies are perfect for you. It’s not that they taste like the ice cream, but with their tricolor layers they definitely carry out the theme.
Diane Hinaga wrote in search of a cookie that baked up in layers so that it looked like a slice of that vanilla-chocolate-strawberry ice cream. Her request drew three responses from readers — none were exactly right, but they set me on the right path, onto a search for a cookie with the name "Neapolitan." (OK, so maybe I should’ve thought of that myself, but nobody’s perfect.)
Several recipes turned up, of two basic types. One was a standard refrigerator cookie — the dough molded into a log, refrigerated until firm, then sliced and baked. A fancier version was made with almond paste and layered with apricot and raspberry preserves, then frosted with chocolate.
I ran these by Hinaga, who said the first type sounded more like the cookie she was after. Lucky thing — I didn’t want to invest in almond paste.
The cookies are pretty little things, with a light flavor and crispy-chewy texture. The layers are chocolate, vanilla and almond (colored pink), but you could substitute raspberry extract for the almond to get a flavor more like the ice cream. Or, how about lemon flavor and yellow coloring, or mint flavor and green coloring? Guess I’ll have to make these several more times.
Neapolitan Refrigerator Cookies
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or try raspberry)
6 to 8 drops red food coloring
Line the bottom and long sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper or baking parchment.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in flour mixture.
Divide dough into three portions. Press 1 portion into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, forming an even layer.
Make a well in the center of the second portion of dough and pour in the melted chocolate. Fold dough over chocolate, then keep folding dough until chocolate is evenly mixed in. Press over dough in loaf pan, forming a second layer.
Make a well in the final portion of dough; add extract and food coloring. Fold dough until it is evenly colored. Press into loaf pan, forming a third layer. Cover pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours, until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from pan by lifting edges of the waxed paper. Peel off paper. Cut dough lengthwise in half, then cut each half into 1/4-inch slices. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until cookies are set but still soft (they will firm up as they cool). Makes about 60 cookies.
Nutritional information unavailable.
ANOTHER COOKIE MYSTERY
Rita Ho is looking for a recipe for a cookie called Kihei Golden Sands. "It was featured in the paper (unsure which one) back in the early to mid-’80s." Do you have it? Please get in touch.
Write "By Request," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.