The first time I ever had these cookies was at my cousin's bridal shower as a teenager. A mother of one of the bridesmaids prepared them for the party and I can distinctly remember overhearing the bridesmaid say how difficult they are to make and how her mother only makes them very rarely. It was several years later before I ever had another one. The ice cream parlor I worked at tried a sort lived idea of selling baked goods in addition to ice cream. Of all the things that they sold, these were what I found hardest to resist. After they stopped selling them I once again went without.
I consider these a very festive, Christmasy cookie, probably because of the colors, and so I find it ironic that I came across them once again because of another bridal shower. I wasn't about to complain when a co-worker brought a large platter of extra baked goods she had made for her daughter's bridal shower and included on it a ton of these. Finally, older and wiser, I asked her for the recipe which she (thankfully!) was happy to share.
Remembering the first bridesmaid's statement that these were hard to make, I expected to find complicated techniques or at the very least days of preparations. While these are not the most difficult cookie to make, they are involved. For me the trickiest part comes when you try to spread the batter evenly in the pan. It doesn't really want to cooperate. Since it is such a thick batter and you need to spread it out so thin on top of parchment paper, I find it a bit frustrating. Especially if you misjudged the batter when you were dividing it. This year I was able to use my kitchen scale to make sure that I divided the batter evenly but if you don't have one, just get it as close as you can. Some things are just worth the effort.
Seven Layer Rainbow Cookies
Ingredients1 can (8 oz) almond paste
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted, softened butter
1 c sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp salt
1 tsp almond flavoring (extract)
2 c flour
Green and Red food coloring
1 jar (12 oz) apricot preserves
2 1/2 squares semi-sweet choc (5 oz) (choc. chips)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 13x9 inch baking pans. Line with parchment paper and grease again. If you only have one pan you will have to reuse it for each layer.
Break almond paste up with fork in large bowl, be sure to break it up small or you will end up with chunks in the batter. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour and blend well. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir egg whites into batter with wooden spoon using turning motion similar to folding.
Spread 1 ½ c of batter in 1st pan. Remove another 1 ½ c to small bowl and tint with green. Spread evenly in 2nd pan. Add red coloring to remaining batter and spread into 3rd pan (or divide the batter into thirds by weight, I found this to be more accurate). I tend to go light on the coloring, but these can be as vibrant as you'd like.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Layers will be about ¼ inch thick. Immediately remove cakes from pans to wire racks to cool. I let them cool a bit in the pan then I grab the parchment paper and lift the whole thing out to completely cool.
Heat apricot preserves in small sauce pan and strain half over the green layer being sure to bring to edges. Invert the yellow layer over the green and remove parchment paper. Spread remaining preserves over this layer and then top with red layer in the same manner.
Carefully place the stack in between two of the pans, leaving parchment paper in between the cookies and the pans. Distribute several cans on the top of the topmost pan and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
After the allotted time has passed, melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Take pan from fridge and remove the top pan and sheet of parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of chocolate on top. Let the chocolate set about ½ hour. Carefully place a baking sheet on top of hardened chocolate and turn over. Now you can put more melted chocolate on this side.
When it is hard, trim the edges of the cake. Cut into rectangles or 1 inch squares. Whatever way you cut it they still taste delicious. Keep them refrigerated.
Jolinda, thank you. I love these cookies, they are one of my favorites. I have included them on my Christmas platter every year since you gave me the recipe. Everyone else, try them out! Or check out any one of the other goodies we are all baking up for Week 6 of Twelve Weeks of Christmas: