Rainbow cookies get a colorful twist

Samantha Zola is obsessed. “It is baking. It is what I do, it is what I like,” she mentioned.

3 years in the past, she began Zola Bakes, constructed on only one photogenic product: a trendy new tackle an Italian-American inexperienced, white and pink favourite.

“The rainbow cookie, historically, it seems like the Italian flag, proper?” requested New Yorker contributor Kelefa Sanneh.

“Proper, sure. However we determined to make a pink-orange-yellow cookie, a green-blue-purple cookie,” mentioned Zola. “Rainbow cookies will have to be colourful. They will have to incorporate each colour of the rainbow.”

Zola Bakes’ rainbow cookies.

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Zola grew up in New York, the sector capital of rainbow cookies. “It is a very dense cake, which makes it appear to be a cookie,” she mentioned.

Whilst rainbow cookies are in supermarkets and Italian bakeries around the nation, she sells hers on-line.

“We knew that we had one thing giant,” Zola mentioned. “And it is simply grown vastly.”

“Principally thru social media?” requested Sanneh.

Simply thru social media.”

A few hundred years in the past, rainbow cookies have been popularized at bakeries like Café Ferrara in New York’s Little Italy. Ernest Lepore’s great-grandfather and great-uncle opened the bakery in 1892.

“There was once in reality no girls allowed till, like, the 1920s or ’30s,” mentioned Lepore.

“No girls allowed to paintings right here, or to buy right here?” requested Sanneh.

“Within the retailer, now not even my grandmother, the daughter!” he laughed.

His grandmother can have had the final chortle. These days, Ferrara’s conventional, Italian-flag rainbow cookie, which the bakery ships national, is according to her recipe. “Outdated-school Italian,” Lepore mentioned.

Conventional rainbow cookies from Café Ferrara in New York’s Little Italy. 

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The cookie’s intense almond taste in reality comes from apricot pits, flooring up and lower with a bit of of almond paste.  The recipe additionally contains meals coloring, to make 3 skinny desserts, which can be compressed in a single day. Upload apricot marmalade and a few chocolate, and you have got a seven-layer cookie. 

Samantha Zola’s model, just about two times the cost of Ferrara’s, has six actual layers. “I take a ruler and I be sure each cookie is precisely the similar dimension,” she mentioned.

Sanneh requested, “Have been you favor this your entire lifestyles? Was once your homework very neat?”


Every Zola cookie is seven-eighths of an inch huge.  She makes use of natural almond paste, meals coloring to create vivid colours, layers in apricot or raspberry jams or hazelnut unfold, and tops it off with white or darkish chocolate.

“I love to make an ‘S,'” she mentioned of the chocolate topping. “It offers it a excellent drip in this facet.”

Samantha Zola topping off her rainbow cookies with chocolate.

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The end result? Long past in exactly two bites.


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Tale produced via Mary Raffalli. Editor: Karen Brenner. 

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