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Neapolitan thumbprint cookies on parchment paper

Neapolitan Thumbprint Cookies

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: About 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


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


  1. 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.
  2. Add egg yolk and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat on low speed until just combined.
  3. Gradually add flour and salt, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined.
  4. Divide dough in half; keep one half of dough in bowl, and place second half of dough in a separate bowl.
  5. To dough in mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, add cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until cocoa powder is fully incorporated into dough.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes until just set. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. 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.
  10. 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