Long Island bakery putting a modern spin on Neapolitan cookies

When Long Island native Sam Zola was living out of state and having a hard time finding her favorite cookie, she took matters into her own hands. 

"Rainbow cookies are a New York cookie, when I was in Florida no one knew what a rainbow cookie was, it was the weirdest thing," said Zola. 

So the pastry chef started baking rainbow cookies right from her own kitchen and founded the company Zola Bakes in 2017 in order to ship the colorful treats nationwide. Sales picked up and she moved back to Long Island, putting her own spin on this famous Italian-American staple that is believed to have originated in New York City decades ago. 

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"I decided to revamp them and make them with different fillings, whether it be raspberry, apricot, Nutella, put different toppings on them, do a white chocolate drip, dark chocolate drip," said Zola. 

She can also customize them— and she does it all by herself. She just moved into a brand new factory in Central Islip this month. While so many businesses took a hit from the pandemic, Zola Bakes experienced the opposite. 

"Once the pandemic, hit our sales just went up and I saw a lot of people writing notes saying feel better, get well soon, I’m so sorry for your loss. We’ve also had a lot of birthday celebrations that people have missed and haven’t been able to be together," said Zola. 

Sam hand-cracks about 36 dozen eggs a day. It’s all a labor of love, especially during these trying times. 

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"I think there is a lot of violence happening around the world right now and people are looking for something to brighten up their day and rainbow cookies are the perfect thing to send something sweet to someone to let them know you’re thinking of them," said Zola. 

Right now Zola makes about 4,000 cookies a week, all by herself. That’s double the amount she was making before the pandemic. Her dream is to see that number continue to climb, but she can’t keep doing it alone. She’s hoping to hire two employees in the coming weeks.