My sister-in-law inspired me to make these Italian rainbow cookies. While mine aren’t as pretty as the store-bought ones, they sure are tasty.
Happy New Year! I am so happy that 2020 is finally behind us. Last year was definitely a year to forget. But I guess a few good things happened, so I will share those with you here:
- I studied very hard and spent a lot of time trying to pass my Six Sigma Green Belt certification exam. Much to my surprise, I passed on the first try!
- I got to go to the beach (social distanced, of course) with my family, and my dad even came along
- I passed my Intermediate Moves-in-the-Field skating test
- I earned 1st place in my age group freestyle event at Adult Sectionals and placed in the top half of the championship event
- I won my event at the Virtual Aerial Challenge (skating competition)
- And of course, I got to spend more time with Addie and my husband
So I guess not everything was bad. At the end of December, we made the decision to drive to visit my dad for his 70th birthday. My brother and his family would also be there, but we wore masks to protect each other, just in case.
One day, my sister-in-law brought out these beautiful Italian rainbow cookies for dessert. I was mesmerized by their beautiful color. When I took a bite, I was in almond heaven. I had already adored almond-flavored things (but not almonds on their own – it’s that weird nut aversion that I have), but these cookies were insanely good. Turns out that she bought them at Costco!
My sister-in-law mentioned that her Italian family members would make these and they seemed like a pain to make on your own. After she looked up a recipe, it didn’t seem as daunting as predicted. I told her that I would give it a try once we got back home.
I fulfilled my promise and made them the day after we returned home. Addie and I tried baking together, but she got bored after a few minutes. In fact, she claimed her arm was sore after mixing the food coloring into the batter. Ha.
My family and I loved these cookies. They are actually more like little mini cakes, but whatever. They are bursting with almond flavor from the extract and the paste. You can absolutely make whatever color layers you like, whether you’re celebrating a birthday, graduation, or rooting for your favorite sports team. A word to the wise: buy seedless raspberry jam. We accidentally bought the seeded kind and all kinds of seeds got stuck in our teeth. Other than that, these cookies were a big hit and also made some great gifts!
Husband’s rating: 4 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 4 out of 5
My rating: 4 out of 5
Italian rainbow cookies
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 8-ounce can (or 7 ounce tube) almond paste
- 3 sticks (24 Tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature, divided
- 4 large eggs separated into yolks and whites
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon red food coloring
- ¼ teaspoon green food coloring
- ½ cup raspberry jam divided
- 1 and ½ cups chocolate chips melted
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line three 9"x13" baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. I only own two pans, so I used two.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the sugar, almond paste and 1 stick of the butter together on medium speed until well combined. Try to break up as much of the almond paste as you can.
- Add one more stick of butter and mix well. Add the final stick of butter and mix well.
- Add the egg yolks and mix. Then add the milk and almond extract and continue to mix.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour. Mix until everything just comes together. Transfer the batter to a clean bowl. Clean and wipe down the stand mixer bowl.
- In the bowl of your spotlessly clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a separate large bowl if using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until you achieve stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into your batter until well combined.
- Divide the batter into three separate bowls. Add the red food coloring to one and mix well. Add green food coloring to another and mix well. Keep the third bowl of batter as-is.
- Transfer the batter into your prepared baking pans. I baked the green and uncolored ones first. Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans. Bake another 5-6 minutes or until set.
- Once my uncolored batter cooled slightly, I lifted it out of the pan with the parchment paper and set it down on the counter. Then I spread out my red batter into the pan (with a new sheet of parchment paper underneath) and baked that.
- Allow the layers to cool completely. Spread half of the raspberry jam on top of the green layer, making sure the jam is in an even layer. Place the uncolored layer on top and spread the remaining jam on top. Then place the red layer on top.
- Cover the layers with plastic wrap and weigh it down with some heavy plates or other weighted items. Refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight.
- Remove the weights and the plastic wrap. Top with half of the melted chocolate and allow it to set. You can speed this up by putting the pan in the refrigerator.
- Once the chocolate has cooled and set, flip the bars over onto the counter or another sheet of parchment paper. Spread the remaining melted chocolate on top and allow it to set.
- Trim the edges (save some for snacking!) and cut the remaining rectangle into squares. Serve and enjoy.