I have been making these delicious treats for years because they are one of my son’s favorite treats. I still don’t know why they are called cookies, since they are really more like little cakes, but either way they are so delicious.
These little cookies are very simple to make, but something about the combination of the flavors and textures makes them seem fancier than they actually are. The cake is a simple almond butter cake made with almond paste and extract. In order to make the cute layers, you divide the batter into 3 portions. You can color the layers however you like. Traditionally they are red, yellow and green. You can also skip coloring them if you like, though they won’t look as nice.
In between the layers of cake is a thin layer of apricot jam, and then the top is covered with a thin layer of chocolate. I have never tried it, but I think this would be really good with other flavors of jam in between the layers too. I’m thinking I need to try raspberry.
These are fun to make and even more fun to eat!
Italian Rainbow Cookies
- 7 oz almond paste
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 3/4 cup butter softened to room temp
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- food coloring as desired
- 3 oz semi sweet or milk chocolate
- Heat oven to 350. Spray an 8×8 cake pan with bakers joy or else grease and flour it well. If you have more than one 8×8 pan use up to 3 to make baking easier since you will bake each layer separately. I use one pan and just bake each layer one at a time.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, almond paste, extract and sugar until light and fluffy and well mixed. There will still be some small lumps of almond paste and that is fine.
- Reduce the mixer to medium and add the eggs one at a time, letting one mix in before adding the next. Add in the salt and mix again. Then add the flour and mix on low just until combined. Stop and hand mix to make sure it is all well mixed.
- Divide the batter into 3 equal portions. I use a scale for this. If you don't have a scale, it should be about 1 cup of batter per bowl. Color the different batters at you'd like.
- Pour one bowl of batter into the pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for about 10 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then flip the pan quickly to get the cake out in one piece. Cool the rest of the way. Repeat with the other cake mixes.
- Stack the layers of cake, spreading 1/2 of the apricot jam between each layer. Place in the fridge covered with plastic wrap for at least 1 hour. Remove from the fridge and trim the edges of the cake so that they are nice and even and square.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Spread on the top of the cake with an offset spatula. Place back into the fridge until the chocolate is set.
- Using a knife heated under hot water and wiped dry, slowly score the chocolate on top of the cake in a 4×4 grid. This is so that the chocolate doesn't break into pieces when you cut it. Using a hot knife, cut the scored lines into 16 cookies.
- Store these in the fridge in an airtight container.