Holiday Neopolitan Cookies are two-bite cookies made with red, green, and white cookie dough. They are rolled in sugar and baked for a cute and festive Christmas confection. Use different extracts in each dough colour or prepare them with just good vanilla!
When it comes to baking with sprinkles or candies, I’m a big kid at heart! It certainly doesn’t help that I have the likes of John.e and McKenna cheering me on! You see, Dear Reader, once the photographs are done, they get to eat – and who wouldn’t like to chow down on a few of of these Holiday Neopolitan Cookies?
It’s really no secret that I love to bake cookies. Seriously, I bake a lot of cookies! You can see a complete list of them here. Honestly, 90% of all the cookies I prepare for Lord Byron’s Kitchen, do not stay in our home. McKenna used to take them to school, but toting homemade cookies off to university is just not cool, so that doesn’t happen anymore. John.e used to take them to work, but working from home doesn’t allow that. I still package them up and share them with neighbours though.
Because there are so many cookies, John.e will often suggest making them smaller. I think that he thinks if they are smaller he would be eating less sugar. But, let’s face it, he would just eat two or three of the smaller cookies in place of one regular sized cookie!
This time, I decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did, because I was able to keep these Holiday Neopolitan Cookies small. They have about two bites, which is just the perfect size for a little pop of sugar! All of these cookies will end up going into our boxes of cookies that we package up and share with neighbours. I may have eaten one or two!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR HOLIDAY NEOPOLITAN COOKIES
I’m listing the ingredients here, but the exact amounts are located in the printable recipe card close to the bottom of this page. You can just scroll right to the bottom if you don’t care to read all of my babbling. Ha!
- Butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature! To be perfectly honest, I have made these with both salted and unsalted butter and there’s no difference in taste or appearance once all is said and done. Use what you have on hand.
- Sugar – Sugar will caramelize when baked, which will help to brown cookies and cakes. In cookies, the sugar will help the dough to spread, and will create a crispness to the bottom of the cookie.
- Egg Yolks – Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Extracts – We will talk more about that momentarily.
- Flour – No need for anything special. Just use regular all-purpose flour. I have not tried this recipe with any other type of flour.
- Sanding Sugar – Coarse sugar, sometimes referred to as sanding sugar, is used sometimes for decorative purposes. It is sometimes called pearl sugar or coarse baking sugar.
- Food Colouring
The first thing I think of when I hear neopolitan is ice cream. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s got that perfect blend of white, pink, and brown colour. The flavours are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. I used to always eat the strawberry first. It was always my favourite! For these cookies, you can copy that format by adding different extracts to the divided cookie dough. But, the extracts must compliment each other!
For example, I would consider using vanilla for the white dough, and maybe peppermint for the green dough. But what about the red dough? My mind goes right to cinnamon when I think of red cookie dough, but combining cinnamon with vanilla and peppermint does not appeal to me. That’s what I mean by not muddling the flavours and using only extracts that would taste good together.
In the cookies you see here, I used only vanilla extract. I was more interesting in a pretty, festive cookie that tasted mellow and would appeal to the masses. I think just two extracts, such as vanilla and peppermint would work very well together. Either way, when you get down to it, the choice is yours. I’ll walk you through when to add the extracts.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
Maybe you don’t care much for cookies. Or, maybe you’re impatient and can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s recipe will be! If either one of those applies to you, I have a remedy. Last year, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Biscotti of Christmas. The year before that, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. And, just a few days ago, I finished this year’s mini series call Lord Byron’s 12 Truffles of Christmas. You can click on the image below and see the entire series on one page! Don’t worry, you won’t lose this page. It will open up a new page so that you can easily get back to these cookies!
IS SANDING SUGAR AND GRANULATED SUGAR THE SAME THING?
I get so many questions about the different kinds of sugars. Unless you’re a full time baker, or really in-tune with baking ingredients, it can be a little overwhelming. I use sanding sugar quite often and I hope it’s not too difficult for you to find. Sanding sugar is sometimes referred to as baking sugar, and there are some substitutes.
You can use other sugars – which are basically the same, but named something differently – there’s pearl sugar and coarse sugar. You cannot, however, use granulated sugar. Let me explain why.
Whereas an individual granule of sanding sugar is large and hard, a single granule of granulated sugar is quite small. Sanding sugar will hold up to the heat in your oven without melting; granulated sugar will not. These cookies are baked at 375 degrees F. I would only recommend granulated sugar if the temperature was at a maximum of 350 degrees F.
If you can only find granulated sugar, you can either skip the coating in sugar step, or you can use turbinado sugar. Turbinado sugar is a golden brown though, so it will throw off the colour of your finished cookie. Wilton calls it sparkling sugar.
Before I get too far into this, I am just going to get this one thing out of the way. Yes, I did use food colouring to dye the cookie dough. Using food colouring is not ideal for some people, but I don’t personally have an issue with it. I know there are many “natural” ways of coloring food, so if you already employ those in other recipes, feel free to do so here too.
I have used only red and green. The white part of the cookie is what the cookie dough will look like once it’s baked without any colouring added. Using the gel type of food colouring is best in this case. The gel will allow you to tint the cookie dough without changing the viscosity of the dough. You may have to use too much of the liquid colouring to get the dough tinted enough. Adding more than 8-10 drops of liquid colouring will change the firmness of the dough and may result in a flatter cookie once baked.
If you’ve been reading Lord Byron’s Kitchen for any length of time, you will know that I’m a fan of gel food colouring. In fact, 99% of the time, I use Wilton brand gel in all of my recipes. I’m not sponsored at all by Wilton, but that particular brand is always reliable.
HOW TO MAKE HOLIDAY NEOPOLITAN COOKIES:
I’ll try my best to make this very clear for those of you who want to experiment with extracts and for those of you who don’t. Please read the instructions carefully so that these cookies turn out just like the ones you see in the photographs. First, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set it aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks and beat to combine. If you are flavouring these cookies with ONLY vanilla extract, go ahead and add it with the egg yolks. If you plan to use MORE THAN ONE extract, do not add any to the mixture at this time! Next, add the flour and mix into the butter mixture until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. If using different extracts, add 3/4 teaspoon of each extract to one bowl. At this time, you can add red food colouring to one bowl and green food colouring to another. Pay attention to which bowl has the extract that pairs with the green and the red! If you added different extracts, beat the extract into each batch of dough now. Be sure to clean the beater between each batch so that you do not mix the flavours or colours.
Once each batch of cookie dough is ready, it’s time to roll the dough into a log. Working with one dough at a time, roll it out onto a clean counter top. Roll all three colours separately, aiming for about 18 inches long with equal thickness. Lay two rolled logs next to each other so that they are touching. Lay the last log on top of those and gently press all three logs together to form one log.
Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 1/2 inch slices. Roll slices into balls and roll each ball into the sanding sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave two inches of space between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cookie to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
When it comes to most cookies, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop for long periods of time. Cookies will stay fresh in a cookie jar or food-safe container with a lid for 3-5 days if left to sit on your kitchen countertop. You can store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
If you plan to freeze your Holiday Neopolitan Cookies, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give previously frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw completely. Once thawed, pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
If I have not answered all of your questions in the text above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can contact me by sending me a message in the comments section further down the page. I will try my best to answer as soon as possible! You might reach me even faster by following me on Facebook and sending me a private message. Scroll down to follow me and never miss another recipe!
Finally, as I stated previously, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Holiday Neopolitan Cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 3/4 teaspoon each if using 3 different extracts)
- 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sanding sugar
- red and green gel food colouring
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add in the egg yolks beat to combine. If you are flavouring these cookies with ONLY vanilla extract, go ahead and add it with the egg yolks. If you plan to use MORE THAN ONE extract, do not add any to the mixture at this time!
- Add the flour and mix into the butter mixture until just combined. Don't over mix.
- Divide the dough into three equal portions.
- If using different extracts, add 3/4 teaspoon of each extract to one bowl. At this time, you can add red food colouring to one bowl and green food colouring to another. Pay attention to which bowl has the extract that pairs with the green and the red! If you added different extracts, beat the extract into each batch of dough now. Be sure to clean the beater between each batch so that you do not mix the flavours or colours.
- Once each batch of cookie dough is ready, it’s time to roll the dough into a log. Working with one dough at a time, roll it out onto a clean counter top. Roll all three colours separately, aiming for about 18 inches long with equal thickness. Lay two rolled logs next to each other so that they are touching. Lay the last log on top of those and gently press all three logs together to form one log.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 1/2 inch slices.
- Roll slices into balls and roll each ball into the sanding sugar and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave two inches of space between each ball.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow cookie to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.