Neapolitan Cookies

Twinkle lights. Gingerbread. Holly wreaths. Mistletoe. Icebox cookies. All Christmas staples.

I absolutely love icebox cookies. They’re delicious. They’re festive. And you can make them waaaaaay ahead of time and freeze them. Pull the dough out of the freezer, slice, bake, and ta da! Instant sweet gratification.

These are my favorite icebox cookies. One look at the ingredient list and you’ll be hooked. Cranberries, walnuts, cocoa powder, espresso beans, orange zest…what’s not to love?

My favorite thing about these cookies is that they’re perfectly shareable. Like oreos, only better. Hubby gets the chocolate-espresso half, and I get the orange-sable half. I suppose you could eat them together as designed, but what fun is that?

I always make these for Christmas, but I’m thinking that I need to break out this recipe more than once a year. Or at least make a double batch and keep the dough in the freezer for cookie emergencies. That’s what icebox cookies are for, after all.

Neapolitan Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart

Active time: 45 minutes
Start to finish: 3 hours
Makes about 8 dozen

1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

For The Chocolate-Espresso Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Orange-Sable Dough
1 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (2 to 3 oranges)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Make the Orange-Sable Dough: Place almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal; set aside.

Place butter and zest in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until white and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. On low speed, add almond mixture; beat until combined, 10 to 15 seconds. Add egg and lemon juice; combine. Add flour, and beat until combined. Wrap in plastic, and store, refrigerated, until ready to use.

Make the Chocolate-Espresso Dough: Sift flour, cocoa powder, and espresso beans in a large bowl; set aside.

In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Working in additions, gradually beat in flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl twice. Wrap in plastic; store, refrigerated, until ready to use.

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with plastic. In a large bowl, stir cranberries into orange-sable dough. In another large bowl, stir walnuts into chocolate-espresso dough.

Press orange mixture into bottom of pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth top evenly. Spread chocolate mixture over orange mixture and smooth evenly. Cover pan with plastic; chill at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Unmold dough; remove plastic. Cut into 2-by-8-inch bricks; cut bricks into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices on sheets, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

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