From the classic vanilla-chocolate-strawberry version, the concept of Neapolitan cookies has spawned and mutated into a versatile template for any flavor trio. Swap in tea for the chocolate, throw in pulverized freeze-dried blueberries or pineapples in lieu of the strawberry, or even ripple some caramel through the base vanilla dough. Then, smoosh them all together into a multicolored, multi-flavored cookie. Here’s my take on it—a Japanese-flecked Neapolitan of matcha, black sesame, and kinako, marbled together into an earthy, toasty, Japanophilic cookie.
- Making the dough: First, we’ll make the dough. Start by sifting together the dry ingredients—flour, kinako powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt—into a bowl, then set aside. Beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. On medium speed, this should take around a minute. Add in the egg, and beat for an additional 30 seconds, until smooth. Then, add in the dry ingredients and mix gently, until no more streaks of dry flour remain, being careful not to overmix.
- Making the three flavors: Weigh out your dough, and divide it into three equal portions, placing them into three separate bowls. In the first bowl, add the extra kinako powder, and knead it into the dough until well mixed. Do the same for the second dough, but with matcha powder, and for the third with black sesame powder.
- Rolling out the cookies: Measure out 0.6 oz (18 g) of each dough, rolling them out into balls. Then, smoosh the three pieces together, and roll them smoothly into one large ball, being careful not to knead or fold it, as you want the three colors to be distinct. Then, roll the ball in the caster sugar until the dough ball is covered with sugar.
- Baking the cookies: Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Then, prepare a lined baking sheet and place the cookie balls on it, leaving at least 3 inches between each dough ball. Bake the cookies in the oven for 12–14 minutes, or until you see the kinako part of the cookie turn from pale yellow to a golden brown. When done, remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool down on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool further to room temperature.
Yi Jun Loh is a freelance writer and cook. An engineer by training, he immersed himself into the food industry right after graduating from Cambridge, learning to cook in Paris and then at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York. He is now based in Malaysia, obsessing over food culture and science through his blog Jun & Tonic.