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February 8th, 2010

make something yummy: neapolitan hearts

As far as I am concerned, any holiday is a reason to bake! Next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is my favorite baking holiday, probably because of all the opportunity to make heart shaped sweets! I wanted to create a different type of heart-shaped Valentine cookie this year, something different than the usual sugar cookie, so I created these Neapolitan Hearts. I won’t lie; these cookies are somewhat labor intensive, but I’d like to think they are a labor of love. The recipe is quite simple, just take your time with the assembly.  I’ve included photographs of the process below to help you along the way.

Neapolitan Hearts

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

• ½ cup sugar

• 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

• 2 ½ tablespoons Dutch Process cocoa powder

• Pink food coloring

• 1 large egg

• 1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. With the mixer speed on low, gradually add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. It will be loose and crumbly in texture. Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into equal thirds. I like to use a food scale to do this so that it takes the guesswork out of it.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap over a cutting board. Place one third of the dough on top of the plastic. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the dough.

Knead until the cocoa powder has been fully incorporated into the dough.

Gather into a ball and set aside.

Place a new, clean piece of plastic wrap over the cutting board and place another third of dough on top. Put a few drops of food coloring onto the dough. Knead until the coloring is fully incorporated into the dough. Add more coloring if needed to get the shade of pink that you want. Gather into a ball and set aside. You will now have pink, brown and white dough.

Place the remaining ball of dough (the white one) between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a square shape, about 3/8-inch thick.

Using a ruler and a sharp knife, slice each square into ¾-inch wide strips. Carefully slide the plastic wrap and dough off of the board and onto a cookie sheet. Set aside. Repeat with chocolate dough and pink dough, stacking them onto the cookie sheet as well.  Place cookie sheet in refrigerator for approximately 20 minutes until dough has chilled slightly.

Whisk together the egg and water. Cover a large work surface with plastic wrap. Carefully lift a strip of chocolate dough up off the cookie sheet and onto the plastic wrap. Brush side of the strip with egg wash.

Place one pink strip next to the chocolate strip and gently press together. Brush side of pink strip with egg wash. Place one vanilla strip next to the pink strip. Repeat, forming a larger and larger sheet of striped dough, using the egg wash as a “glue” to hold the strips together. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the striped dough. Using the rolling pin, gently roll the pin across the top of the dough, both horizontally and vertically. Don’t press too hard; you just want to even out the levels of the strips and ensure that they are adhering to each other. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.

Using a 2 ½-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies from the striped sheet of dough.

Gently transfer the hearts to the cookie sheet.

Bake until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

A note: you’ll end up having scrap dough left over after cutting out the hearts.  I use it up in one of two ways: Use successively smaller heart cookie cutters so that you end up with a variety of cookie sizes, or reroll the dough and cut out new cookies.  The stripes will be gone, but you will end up with cookies that have a fun swirly color pattern.

- Heidi

25 comments to make something yummy: neapolitan hearts

  1. Jill
    February 8th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Heidi, These look great! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Twitter Trackbacks for make something yummy: neapolitan hearts « make something happy [rockscissorpaper.com] on Topsy.com
    February 8th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    [...] make something yummy: neapolitan hearts « make something happy blog.rockscissorpaper.com/2010/02/make-something-yummy-neapolitan-hearts – view page – cached As far as I am concerned, any holiday is a reason to bake! Next to Christmas, Valentine’s Day is my favorite baking holiday, probably because of all the opportunity to make heart shaped sweets! I wanted to create a different type of heart-shaped Valentine cookie this year, something different than the usual sugar cookie, so I created these Neapolitan Hearts. [...]

  3. Nicole Ioma
    February 8th, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Oh my gosh, those are too adorable!! I’m going to have to try and make them =) so cute

  4. Brandy Von Doeren
    February 9th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    simply wonderful

  5. Deneen
    February 9th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    i’m gonna give it a go! so so pretty!

  6. anna
    February 9th, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    thanks for the inspiration!!! they look yummy.

  7. Heidi
    February 10th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for all the sweet comments!

    I’m itching to try this technique out with other motifs and color ways.

  8. Erica B.
    February 10th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Wow, these are so pretty.

  9. Heather
    February 11th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Wow! Those look absolutely beautiful. How long did they take for you to make? I think I may have to give these a try. So pretty!

  10. Carrie
    February 11th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    These are absolutely fabulous!!! They are the most perfect cookies I’ve ever seen …

  11. heidi
    February 11th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Carrie & Heather….thanks!

    Heather - in terms of how long they took, I would say a couple of hours…maybe 2 to 3, mainly because there is about an hour of chilling-the-dough time.

    Helpful hint - chilling the dough to the right firmness before piecing your stripes together is key. If you look at my first few photos of the raw striped dough, you’ll see that my stripes are a little wavy. The dough was too warm and pliable. In later pictures, you’ll see that the stripes are more precise. This was my second batch and I found just the right firmness: too warm, they get wavy, too cold they break when you try to lift the stripe up.

    Once I got the first few stripes in place, I found my rhythm and it went quickly. But remember, I was making it all up as I went along and stopping to photograph steps as well, so that slowed me down. I hope that my instructions will help make the process easy and fun!

  12. Michelle
    February 12th, 2010 at 5:48 am

    These are just brilliant. Thanks for sharing such a great idea.

  13. Meredith
    February 12th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    oh wow…thank you so much for this recipe - I will make these cookies for my fiance! perfect for Valentine’s :)

  14. heather
    February 13th, 2010 at 6:52 am

    so great! whimsical and definitely a novel idea.

    cheers,

    *heather*

  15. Sarah
    February 13th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Here’s an easier way to make striped cookies:

    http://www.recipe.com/striped-shortbread/

    We’ve done these for several years, and I have to guess it would work with three layers as well.

  16. Memoria
    February 13th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    The creativity of food bloggers is just boggling my mind!! You are definitely no exception. These hearts are beautiful!!

  17. heidi
    February 14th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Again, thanks so much for all the nice comments and all the cookie love!

    Sarah, thanks for sharing the alternate way to make stripes. I’ve done cookies like that before and it certainly would work with three colors as well, but you wouldn’t be able to cut out shapes from it. With that construction method, you can only slice shapes. That being said…could be totally fun to use that method to make rainbow striped squares!! Thanks for sharing the link.

  18. pint-sized portrait no. 21 « make something happy
    February 15th, 2010 at 9:06 am

    [...] something sweet for your [...]

  19. Valentines Day Treats for Kids | Vegas Family Events
    February 8th, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    [...] Make Something Happy  features this cleaver idea for  gorgeous homemade Neapolitan  heart cookies!  Super fun to eat, lovely to share. [...]

  20. Suzanne
    February 13th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Love these! What a cool idea. Happy V-Day!

  21. Valentines Day Treats for Kids - Vegas Family Events
    January 10th, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    [...] Make Something Happy  features this cleaver idea for  gorgeous homemade Neapolitan  heart cookies!  Super fun to eat, lovely to share. [...]

  22. Sushi & Cookies | Danielle DIY
    February 17th, 2013 at 9:04 am

    [...] I slaved over this recipe for hours to make these neapolitan stripe cookies the night before Valentine’s [...]

  23. Danielle
    February 17th, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I made these cookies and featured them in my blog: http://daniellediy.com/sushi-sashimi-platter-neapolitan-striped-heart-shape-cookies/

    They didn’t turn out so good for me :(

  24. heidi
    February 25th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Danielle - I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like how the cookies came out. They are definitely a cookie that is less sweet than most, however I did not find mine to be dry. I like the idea of turning them in to a sandwich cookie however. Cute save!!!

  25. victoria allman
    February 2nd, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I LOVE this idea! How fantastic! I am definitely going to try this tomorrow. Thanks for posting.

    Victoria Allman
    author of: SEAsoned: A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain

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