Italian (Almond) Rainbow Cookies

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we9_CdNPuJg

 

 

That’s for you.

So I’ve told myself on several occasions that I would never make these cookies again — not because of their taste, which is pure wonder, but because of the labor involved. But every. Fricken. Time. I just keep crawling back. It’s like choosing to go through childbirth over and over again. I’m exaggerating.. Honestly, it’s because the first time, I tried to make-shift a 9 inch pan out of a 12 inch pan and tin foil. Nightmarish. Don’t be stupid like I was, and you’ll be A okay.

For those of you who have never seen these before (anyone living outside of NY pretty much), you have no idea what you’re missing. Make them. Especially if you love almonds.  Or happiness.

You can use either almond paste or canned almond filling. I’ve tried it with both and prefer the taste of almond paste, which is slightly chewier and grainier though more flavorful. The canned filling is a great option for people with less patience. 😉 Also, you can choose to go straight chocolate on top or mix in butter and heavy cream to thin it out. The latter will make them easier to cut without cracking, but the first gives you that nice cracking when you bite into them. The choice is yours, young Obi Wan.

The trick is to under-bake these cookies so that they stay slightly mushy; also, keep the layers thin with the right sized pan. That way, the layers can compress nicely in the fridge. The jam in between soaks in over time, and the flavors get the chance to develop.

Let’s get crackin’ then

Italian (Almond) Rainbow Cookies

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Makes 8 dozen

8 ounces almond paste or 1 can of almond filling
1 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp almond extract
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
red food coloring
yellow food coloring (optional)
green food coloring
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1 cup chocolate, melted (I used hershey bars)
2 Tbsps butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line three 9×13 inch baking pans with parchment paper, or I used the same 9 x 9 cake pan 3 times and upped the baking time by 2 minutes every layer.

In a large bowl, break apart almond paste with a fork, or just used canned filling, and cream together with butter, sugar, extract, and egg yolks. When mixture is fluffy and smooth, mix flour with salt and stir in  to form a dough.

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In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into the dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions.

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Mix each portion with food coloring. Spread each portion into one of the prepared baking pans.

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Bake 10 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on your pan size, until lightly browned on the sides. Carefully remove from pan and parchment paper, and cool completely on wire racks.

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Once cool, place green layer onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap all three layers. Spread green layer with  jam, top with uncolored layer,  spread with remaining jam, and top with pink layer.

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Transfer layers to a baking sheet, and enclose with plastic wrap. Place a heavy pan or cutting board on top of wrapped layers to compress. Chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.

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Remove plastic wrap. Top with melted chocolate mixed with melted butter,  refrigerate 1 hour, or until chocolate is firm. Slice into small squares.

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Dragonfly sprinkles — Coheed and Cambria reference

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