Buttery sugar cookie dough is divided into vanilla and chocolate flavors, baked into a rich, chewy cookie and filled with a fresh strawberry royal icing center. Every bite tastes like your favorite Neapolitan ice cream in cookie form!
For the cookies:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup sparkling sugar, for rolling (optional)
For the strawberry royal icing:
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries (stems removed)
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft (but not melted)
- 1 dash vanilla
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup butter on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add sugars; beat on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add egg yolk and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat on low speed until just combined.
- Gradually add flour and salt, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.
- Divide dough in half; keep one half of dough in bowl, and place second half of dough in a separate bowl.
- To dough in mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, add cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until cocoa powder is fully incorporated into dough.
- Roll each batch of cookie dough into approximately 24 1/2-inch balls. Press together one sugar cookie dough ball and one chocolate cookie dough ball; roll gently between hands to form one single 1-inch dough ball (to form about 24 cookies total). Place sparkling sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll each cookie in sugar to coat, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Press thumb gently into center of each cookie to form indentation, about 1/2-inch deep. Freeze unbaked cookies uncovered 30 minutes, or refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer half of chilled cookies to prepared baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart (if baking in batches, keep remaining cookies in refrigerator, NOT freezer, until ready to bake).
- Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes until just set. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the strawberry royal icing: In the small bowl of a food processor, process strawberries and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar until a puree forms. Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Stir in remaining powdered sugar (start with 1 cup), 1/2 tablespoon butter and dash of vanilla until a smooth icing forms. Add more powdered sugar as needed to form a smooth, thick but slightly drippy icing.
- Spoon approximately 1/2 to 1 teaspoon icing into center of each cookie.* Refrigerate cookies until icing is just set, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- *You’ll probably have some icing left over. I developed a recipe with extra icing because it is difficult to blend less than 1/4 cup of strawberries in a standard-size food processor or blender. Feel free to use leftover icing to dip cookies, drizzle over ice cream or, heck, eat with a spoon.
- Store cookies covered in refrigerator up to 5 days.
Keywords: strawberry royal icing, chocolate cookie dough, vanilla cookie dough