Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recipe: Italian Rainbow Cookies

You've seen these cookies before... sometimes called "Italian Rainbow Cookies". They look more like cake, but they are cookies - make no mistake about it.
They are like a very light sugar cookie, flavored with almond paste and extract and are beautiful to look at and fun to make.
They do take a little longer to make than a drop cookie, but not as long as a rolled cookie. I was very pleased with the results and next time will double the recipe, so that each layer is a little thicker.
Ashley pointed out that the cookie is the colors of the Italian flag....
Even though these cookies have 3 distinct colors (plus a chocolate topping) the cookie has only one flavor - almond. But, the three colors give it a pretty look. Each layer is separated by a thin layer of seedless raspberry preserves. Most recipes call for apricot jam, but I prefer the taste of the raspberry.
8 oz almond paste - (the tube I used was only 7 oz, but this worked out well)
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
red food coloring
green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves (or apricot or any other flavor)
1 cup chopped chocolate
2 T butter
3 T heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 3 9x13" pans with parchment paper. (You can alternate pans, if you only have one).
In a large bowl, break up almond paste. Mix in sugar, butter, yolks and almond extract. Beat until fluffy.
Stir in flour.
Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into dough.
Divide batter (it will be thick) into 3 parts.
Leave one part un-tinted. Tint one part red and another part green.
Spread each layer in a 13x9 pan. It will be a bit of a challenge to spread this thick batter, but take your time.
Bake each pan for 12 - 15 minutes until cooked. Do not let batter brown, except a bit on the edges.
Remove from oven, from pan and let cool on a wired rack.
When all three layers are cooled, take a moment to assemble the cookie.

Line a 13x9 deep pan with plastic wrap. Leave enough plastic wrap to overhang the pan.
Place one layer in the pan, spread with a very thin layer of preserves. Top with a second layer, another layer of preserves & the final cookie layer. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place a piece of cardboard or a platter on top of the cookies and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
After it has chilled, remove the top layer of plastic wrap.
Melt the chocolate with the butter & cream. Spread onto the top layer of the cookies.
Lightly wrap with plastic wrap and allow chocolate layer to set.
Remove from pan and slice with a serrated knife into individual size portions, cleaning knife between each slice.

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