Oh how we love this Italian Rainbow Cookie recipe! And can we all just admire how beautiful and charming Italian Rainbow Cookies are?! I absolutely love the striped color combo (perfect for Christmas!) and the smooth, bittersweet chocolate topping. They are also insanely delicious!! The ingredients in these classic Italian treats are interesting… almond paste, apricot jam and chocolate, but they compliment each other so well and the almond taste is very subtle, which I like. They’re almost more spongy like a cake, but you cut them into tiny rectangles and the chocolate holds it all together. You can also decide how green and red you want them to be. We went with lighter, more pastel colors, but you can make them very bright and vibrant if you prefer! Here’s the caveat with these guys, I’ll be honest, they’re a bit of a pain to make (a lot of steps and leaving overnight), and you need some supplies that you can buy at your local grocery store, but I think they’re so worth making around the holidays. Italian Rainbow Cookies taste like a lot of love went into them and if you’re hosting or attending any cookie exchange party, these cookies would be perfect to bring! They’re gorgeous and taste incredible! If you’re feeling extra merry, you can also make these little Santas!
Italian Rainbow Cookie Recipe (adapted from Food Network)
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
Red and green food coloring (we did 6 drops green & 5 drops red)
One 15-ounce jar of apricot jam
1 pound bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
Supplies: Three 9 by 12 pans (you can use the disposable tinfoil ones from the grocery store. The cookie batter will only be about 1/2 inch high, so you don’t need a deep dish pan), food coloring, parchment paper, rubber spatula.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the baking pans and line with parchment paper.
Combine almond paste and 3/4 cup sugar in a stand alone mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium until the mixture is in fine crumbles.
Beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time until combined.
Add in the egg yolks and beat until smooth.
Sift 2 cups flour onto parchment paper and sprinkle the salt on top.
Add the flour to the batter and beat just until combined. Do not over-mix.
In another bowl (I keep 2 bowls for my stand alone mixer for recipes like this!), whisk egg whites with 2 tablespoons sugar until firm peaks form.
Fold in the egg whites, a little at a time, into the batter with a rubber spatula.
The batter should nice and fluffy!
Evenly divide the batter into 3 separate bowls. Add in green food coloring and red food coloring into 2 of the bowls. Leave one batter uncolored.
Spread each of the batters into the prepared baking sheets. It takes a little time to do this because the batter is so thin and a bit sticky, but spread it as evenly as possible using a rubber spatula. Dipping the spatula in water helps spread it a little.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until edges are slightly brown. You can turn the pans halfway through baking if you prefer.
Let them cool completely on a cooling rack. Then unmold (tip them over) them on a cutting board.
Spread a third of the jam (a thin layer) over the top of the green layer (leave the parchment paper on the bottom of the green layer) then carefully slide the white cake layer on top using a spatula. Peel off the parchment paper.
Spread jam over the white layer. Add then to the same with the red layer on top of that… three layers of cookies!
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place one of the empty pans on top. Place heavy cans on the top to weigh down the layers and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, carefully unmold the cake again onto a cutting board lined with parchment paper. Green layer on the top. Peel off the parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler, then using a spatula, cover the green layer and sides with chocolate. Spread so it’s smooth and let it cool.
Cut into 6 strips and then 5 rectangles.
ENJOY your Italian Rainbow Cookies!!!