Sunday, September 11, 2011

Italian Rainbow Cookies Tutorial

Okay, everyone, I'm going to try to post the Italian Rainbow Cookies recipe, I hope the photos don't cause a problem (ie,slow-loading page; if it is a problem, just let me know and I'll delete some). I make about 5-6 batches of these cookies every year, for my cookie exchange and to give as gifts.

Rainbow Cookies

7 or 8 oz. almond paste (NOT marzipan!)

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

4 eggs - separated

1 cup sugar

2 Tbs. almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

10 drops green food coloring

10 drops red food coloring

1-18 oz. jar apricot jam

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

2 Tbs. shortening

Grease 3 9x13" pans. Line with wax paper up the sides, and grease again:

Prepared 9" x 13" panimg_1847

In a smaller bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until stiff; set aside. In larger bowl, break up almond paste into small pieces. Add the butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the flour and salt. Fold egg whites into batter, until evenly combined. Remove about 1-1/2 cups of batter and spread evenly into one of the prepared pans. Then, remove another 1-1/2 cups of batter into a separate bowl and add green food coloring (mix well) and spread into second pan. Add red food coloring to the remaining batter (mix well) and spread into the last pan. Here's a picture of my kids helping!


The batter will just cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/4 inch. Here's a pic of all the pans, before the go into the oven:



Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and dough springs back when touched; do not overbake!


Let cool in pans 5-10 minutes and then remove to cool on wire racks (lifting wax paper out carefully). Place green layer on a FLAT cookie sheet or cutting board. Spread 1/2 of preserves over green layer to edges.


Slide yellow layer over and spread with remaining preserves. Slide pink layer onto yellow layer.




Cover with Saran Wrap and weigh down with large cutting board or heavy book. Refrigerate overnight.



Next day, melt chocolate and shortening (I do this in microwave, stirring after every minute). Trim edges of cake:


This is more of a side-note; I cut the trimmings into small pieces for the kids to enjoy. Every year, I start making these cookies during Thanksgiving week, and on Thanksgiving morning, the kids get to eat "rainbow scraps" for breakfast! Here you can see the kids with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on in the backround!


Cut cake into 1-inch long strips. I'm able to get 5 strips out of each batch:


Frost the tops of the cookies first, and then the sides. This is probably the most tricky part of the whole process, because the chocolate slides down the cookies pretty fast (gravity!). Smooth the chocolate evenly, as best as you can:


Put cookies back into the refrigerator, until chocolate is firm. Remove from fridge and trim the edges of each strip. Again, add to the scrap bowl for the kids, LOL!


I also trim the base of each strip, where it meets the cutting board, so the sides of the cookies are nice and even (hope that makes sense). Now, it is time to cut the cookies! My friend cuts hers really big, about an inch wide; but I cut mine smaller, about 1/3" - 1/2". This way, I am able to get more cookies per batch. I use a long knife to cut all the strips at the same time, if you have one:



I usually can get 15-17 cookies per strip; this batch, I got 17 cookies x 5 strips, to yield 85 cookies. That's why I love this recipe so much! Yes, they are a lot of work, but you get a lot of cookies in the end!


I store the cookies between layers of wax paper in Tupperware containers.  They keep very well in the freezer over the Holidays (between Thanksgiving and New Year's.).  Hope everyone can understand my instructions; let me know if you have any questions!

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