Italian Rainbow Cookies

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Please read our privacy policy here.

These beautiful and delicious Italian rainbow cookies are total show stoppers! They are perfect for Christmas, they’re moist, colorful and the almond paste works so well in them. These luxurious cookies are bound to please!

Italian rainbow cookies, top shot

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!

ENJOY your Italian Rainbow Cookies!!!

Different colored cake mix, top down shot

How To Make Italian Rainbow Cookies

  • 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.
shot of chocolate covering the cake

Italian Rainbow Cookies – Perfect For A Cookie Exchange!

When Christmas comes, so does the cookie exchange! If you want a cookie that’s bound to impress, then these delightfully colorful and super delicious Italian rainbow cookies won’t disappoint! They are so eye catching and the chocolate topping holds together really well, when dividing the cookies up. Nailed it!

close up shot of slice of italian rainbow cookies

Where Do Italian Rainbow Cookies Originate From?

It’s commonly believed that the rainbow cookie originated not in Italy, but among Italian immigrants in America. 

An educated guess from Italian pastry chefs is that it is a descendant of what is known in Sicily as “gelato di campagna” – country ice cream – slices cut from a large loaf of tricolor nougat, it looks like ice cream, but you can take it to the country with you because it doesn’t need refrigeration. 

Almond Paste Vs Marzipan

The main difference between US/European almond paste and marzipan is the ratio of ground almonds (almond meal) to sugar. Generally, almond paste will have roughly equal proportions of almonds and sugar (plus other ingredients) and marzipan will have a higher ratio of sugar (up to 75% sugar) plus other ingredients.

This makes almond paste perfect for Italian rainbow cookies, because it has a much subtler flavor, this complements the apricot and chocolate beautifully while not being overpowering.

Top Tips For Italian Rainbow Cookies

  • Use a preheated oven.
  • Use a stand mixer if possible
  • Do not over mix the batter and the flour.
  • Make sure to butter the baking pans and line with parchment paper.
overhead shot of sliced italian rainbow cookies

Check Out These Other Delicious Cake Recipes

Brown Sugar Cake With Creme Fraiche

Gingerbread Snowman Cake

Classic Banana Cake Recipe

The Most Delicious Oreo Halloween Cake

Cherry Christmas Cake by Natasha’s Kitchen

Cranberry Christmas Cake by Barefoot In The Kitchen

If you have tried this Italian rainbow cookie recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Italian Rainbow Cookie Recipe

You are going to LOVE this recipe!
4.29 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 18
Calories: 480kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 15 ounces apricot jam
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

(adapted from Food Network) 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 505IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @sugarandcharm or tag us #sugarandcharm!

Related Posts

Stay up to Date

Join our Newsletter to Keep up on Latest

3 thoughts on “Italian Rainbow Cookies”

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




AS SEEN ON: