Ocean Drive & South Beach Neopolitan Cookies


A few weeks after being on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, I found myself on Ocean Drive in Miami.


I love the pastel-colored buildings and fanciful 1920s-1940s architecture found in Miami Beach’s Art Deco District.  The Art Deco District is on the National Register of Historic Places (the first 20th-century neighborhood with that distinction) and boasts over 900 structures of historical significance. A walk along Ocean Drive is the perfect place to see the  highlights — porthole windows, rounded corners, curved railings —  and storied buildings without sacrificing time needed to spend an afternoon at the beach!

Between 6th and 7th Streets is the Park Central Hotel, which was built in 1937 and renovated 50 years later.


As the first hotel to be renovated and restored, it’s a great place to start a walk. It’s said that Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, and other Hollywood stars frequented Park Central in their day.

Just a few doors down is the Colony Hotel,


a reminder to me that sometime I really need to take this walk at night to see the hotels on Ocean Drive illuminated with their neon signs.

Across the street from the Colony is the entrance to Lummus Park, a known gathering place for musicians. For me, it’s a signal that a beach entrance is close by!


In fact, Ocean Drive runs parallel to the beach, and at any point you can cross over the dunes

and be on the white sandy beaches, where even the lifeguard towers are painted to fit the historic area.
IMG_5117But lingering too long on the beach means missing more great colors, architecture, and famous sights.

Lots of tourists gather in front of 1116 Ocean Drive.

Casa Cassaurina, the 1930s Spanish-style mansion there, was the home of Gianni Versace and site of his murder.

A couple blocks north is a great example of the porthole windows that I love, the Tides Hotel.

Categorized as severe Art Deco, the building was designed in 1936. It’s been said that the portholes were inspired by the ocean liners that docked in the Port of Miami.

But walking past buildings that are emblematic of the rich color


and geometric shapes of Art Deco

IMG_5127can work up an appetite. Luckily, one of my favorite places to get breakfast on South Beach, the Front Porch Cafe, is at the northern end of Ocean Drive, and nothing caps off a good walk like an order of green eggs!

Naturally, all that thinking about shape and color would also make me think of Neopolitan cookies. Traditionally red, white, and brown, I decided to get creative with a recipe from Taste of Home and soften up the colors to create South Beach Neopolitan Cookies! A delicious combination of coconut, almond, and chocolate, they’re the perfect reminder of time spent in Miami Beach.


Click Here to Print This Recipe.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, finely chopped
  • Red, blue, green, and yellow food coloring
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil


  • Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with waxed paper; set aside.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. In thirds, add flour mixture to creamed ingredients and mix well.


  • Divide dough into thirds. To first section, add almond extract, 1 drop blue food coloring, 5 drops red food coloring.  To second section, add coconut and 10 drops yellow food coloring.Image-74

Image-73To third section, add vanilla extract, 2 drops green food coloring, 8 drops blue food coloring.Spread first layer evenly into prepared pan, add second layer, and top with third layer. Cover layered dough with waxed paper; refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.Image-72

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Turn out chilled dough, peel off waxed paper, and cut dough in half lengthwise. Cut each half widthwise in 1/4 inch slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


  • Melt chocolate and coconut oil, stirring until smooth. Dip end of each cookie into chocolate and place on wax paper to set.





8 responses

  1. Look delicious! This is the exact technique that I used to make the layered almond paste bars that we always picked up at Ferrar’s in NYC. Looking forward to trying them.

  2. Never having visited Miami’s Art Deco District, your photos and narrative make it really appealing. It looks just beautiful. And your Neopolitan Cookies are equally colorful and sound delicious! Great ingredients – look forward to baking a batch.

    • Thanks! There’s an Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive that offers guided walking tours. The timing didn’t work out with my work and flight schedules, but I’d love to take one sometime — I bet you’d enjoy it, too! And I’m positive you’d enjoy the Neopolitan Cookies. Let me know how they turn out. :)

  3. The picture of the cookies garnished with flowers is frame-worthy. It looks like someone painted the cookies, no less baked them. As always, a treat for the eye as well as the palate.

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