Christmas week is finally here and holiday baking is more than likely in high gear for most of you. I know I have quite a few different cookies to bake over the next few days. I was already busy last week trying out some recipes. One of those recipes is actually one that I have tried twice before without much success, but luckily I didn’t strike out with this third attempt. These Rainbow Cookies came out perfect and were well worth the time and numerous steps it took to make them! I’m not sure what exactly led to my success this time, maybe it was the jelly roll pans I used as opposed to the baking dishes or rimmed cookie sheets I used in the past, or me diligently following the recipe exactly as written and reading and re-reading it to make sure I followed it properly or maybe it was just due to sheer patience and dedication. Whichever it was I am just happy to say I finally succeeded in making one of my favorite cookies!
I began making the batter by mixing together almond paste and sugar until it formed into fine crumbles.
Next I added in 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter a few pieces at a time.
And finally I added in 4 large eggs yolks one at a time.
In a separate bowl I sifted 2 cups of flour and then sprinkled salt on top.
I then added the flour to batter and mixed it until it was just combined.
In another bowl I whisked 4 large egg whites until they were foamy and then slowly added 2 tablespoons of sugar and continued whisking until firm peaks formed.
Once the egg whites were ready I gently folded them into the batter.
Next I evenly divided the batter among three bowls and tinted one a deep salmon color, another a bright green color and I left the third uncolored.
Following that I spread the batter among three prepared (I first sprayed them with baking spray and then lined them with parchment paper) jelly roll pans.
After baking the layers in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes I let them cool completely in the pans on wire racks.
Then it was time to start assembling the cookies… I began by spreading the green layer with a decent amount of seedless raspberry jam.
Next I slid the uncolored layer onto the raspberry covered green layer and covered it with raspberry preserves as well.
And finally I slid the salmon color on top.
After wrapping it with plastic wrap and then covering it with one of the jelly roll pans and a few of my old college textbooks I placed the assembled layers in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day I unmolded the layers and trimmed them to make straight edges.
I then melted bittersweet chocolate and poured it over the layers.
After letting it set for a few minutes I scraped wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork.
And finally once the chocolate had set a little more I cut the cake into cookies. First by making vertical cuts.
And then horizontal cuts.
And then it was time to enjoy all my hard work and these cookies were definitely worth every minute of it!
Recipe courtesy Lidia Bastianich for Food Network Magazine
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened, plus more for the pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Red and green food coloring (gel preferred)
1 15 -ounce jar smooth apricot jam*
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
*I used seedless Raspberry Jam
You’ll need three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets to make these layered cookies.
Prep the pans: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
Make the batter: Combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is in fine crumbles. Beat in 2 1/2 sticks butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
Sift 2 cups flour onto a sheet of parchment and sprinkle the salt on top; add to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Color the batter: Divide the batter evenly among 3 bowls. Stir enough red food coloring into 1 bowl to make a deep salmon color. Stir enough green food coloring into another bowl to make a medium green color. Leave the third bowl uncolored.
Bake the layers: Transfer the batter to the prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread the batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.
Assemble the layers: Spread half of the jam evenly over the green cake layer almost all the way to the edges. Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto another pan or cutting board; peel off the parchment.
Carefully slide the plain layer onto the green layer (use a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary). Spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer. Unmold the red cake layer and slide it onto the plain layer.
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with one of the empty pans; place several heavy cans on top to weigh down the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Unmold the cake: Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto the cutting board. Remove the parchment from the top of the green layer.
Trim the cake: Trim the sides with a knife to make straight edges. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray; set the rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack, using a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary.
Cover in chocolate: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; pour over the cake. Dip an offset spatula in the hot water and smooth the top and sides. Let set slightly. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork; let cool a few more minutes until the chocolate is mostly set but still slightly tacky.
Cut into pieces: Slide the cake back onto the cutting board. Slice crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.