Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And now, my #1 favorite cookie.. EVER

Rainbow cookies (or Venetians as they are sometimes called) are my #1 favorite cookie Ever.. and after the first time I made them I understood why they are $7.99 a pound at the bakery. They are a LOT of work.. but the results are always so amazing that it is so worth the effort :)

Rainbow cookies

7 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup margarine or butter, room temp
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour, Sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 drops green food coloring
15 drops red food coloring
2/3 cup apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening


1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease 3 8"x8" metal baking pans. After greasing, line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, smoothing the paper down onto the pan. Grease the tops of the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Put aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, Beat together on medium-high speed the Almond Paste, Sugar, Almond Extract and butter until well blended. (there might be some small lumps of Almond Paste remaining and that's fine.).

4. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.

5. Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.

6. Take two small bowls and add 1 rounded cup of batter into each bowl. (there should be another rounded cup of batter still in the original mixing bowl.).

7. Add 15 drops of red food color to one bowl and 15 drops of green food color to the other. Stir each bowl until evenly blended with color.

8. Spoon the untinted batter into one pan. With metal spatula spread batter evenly (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick). Repeat with red batter in second pan and green batter in remaining pan.

9. Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.

10. Cool in pans on wire rack about ½ hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.

11. Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.

12. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.

13. Take the green layer and flip over pan onto parchment paper. Gently pull off the parchment paper. Spread 1/3 cup of apricot preserves onto the green layer.

14. Take the untinted layer and remove from pan. Place it onto the green layer with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and then remove the parchment paper.

15. Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.

16. take the remaining red layer and remove from pan and place upon the white layer again with the parchment side up. Press down gently and remove the parchment.

17. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.

18. Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.

19. refrigerate until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. (at this point, if you want, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving).

To serve, with a large sharp knife, trim about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cut the stacked layers into 6 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. You will get 36 square cookies from this.

Place the cookies in a single layer in a waxed paper lined container. They can be refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months. These cookies must be kept in the fridge.