I can’t believe Christmas is tomorrow! Crazy! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends (and food!). And my gift to you is this recipe for Neapolitan Cookies..aka The Best Cookies in the World. Seriously. The best. You can keep your chocolate chip, your oatmeal, your gingerbread. All I want are these cookies. Mountains of them. Luckily my mom just came into town with a batch of her own, so we have about 100 cookies between the two batches..that’ll hopefully last us through the weekend. Hopefully.
Like the Mexican Wedding Cookie, this cookie has several names. You’ll also see these called an Italian Rainbow Cookie or a Seven Layer Cookie, although this recipe technically is a Six Layer Cookie..no one has time for that last layer. You’ll often find them sold by the pound in Italian bakeries – we used to find them in San Diego down in Little Italy. They’re thought to have originated in Italian Communities in the US during the 1900’s, as a bit of an homage to the Italian flag with the red, white, and green coloring.
The quirk with this recipe is that you cook them in the microwave. *gasp.* I know, I know. But it works. And it’s fast. You can make and eat the cookies in the same day (which is super important when you’ve been kept from these cookies for a full year..). If you want a more traditional recipe (like, one you cook in the oven), there are several recipes out there with that option. This lovely one from Smitten Kitchen, and this beautiful cake version from My Name is Yeh are two great options.
(Just beware that many of these recipes call for baking the layers on a sheet of wax paper in a pan in the oven. And here’s what I’ve learned about wax paper and ovens. They’re not friends. Wax paper is not meant for high heats, parchment paper is. Your oven, and house, and food will smell like a burnt candle if you use wax paper. So use parchment paper.)
But seriously, the cookies that you get from this recipe taste just like the ones we used to get from the bakery..so give it a shot.
- 1 pkg almond paste (7 or 8 oz)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- red and green food coloring (15-20 drops each)
- ¼ cup seedless raspberry jam
- ¼ cup apricot preserves, strained (heat it in the microwave and then strain)
- 1 six ounce bag chocolate chips
- Line the bottom and up the sides of a 7 x 11 inch pan with wax paper (wax paper can be microwaved). If you don't have a 7x11 inch pan, or it won't fit in your pan, an 8x8 pan will work. Just don't use metal! You'll need three pieces of wax paper - one for each layer - so get them all ready.
- Mix the almond paste, butter, sugar, yolks, and almond extract in a Kitchenaid (or with an electric mixer) until fluffy. Stir in the flour.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the almond mixture.
- Divide the batter into thirds and pour them in three separate bowls. Add the red food coloring to one bowl, the green food coloring to another, and leave the third bowl plain.
- Pour the green batter into your prepared dish and microwave on medium power for 4½ to 5½ minutes. Keep an eye on that first batch as it will burn on full power.
- Once it's done, pull the green layer out and flip it over onto a baking pan to cool. Peel the wax paper Cook the white layer next.
- While the white layer is cooking, spread the raspberry jam on top of the green layer. You want the green layer to be a bit warm while you do this because it will absorb some of the jam.
- When the white layer is done cooking, let it cool for a minute, then flip it over and pile it on top of the green layer. Spread the apricot jam on top of the white layer. Cook the red layer and repeat.
- After layering, place a piece of waxed paper on the top, then place a cookie sheet on top and place a weight (like a cookbook or two) on top of the layers.
- Once everything has cooled completely, melt the chocolate chips (either in a double boiler or (carefully) in the microwave), and cover with the melted chocolate.
- Once the chocolate has cooled, trim the edges with a sharp knife. Cut the cookies into 2" strips and then cut the strips into ½" wide pieces. Enjoy!
And if you want more cookie inspiration, you can find a bunch of fun options on my Pinterest cookie board: