Something I learned today: rainbow cookies are great pre-work out food. I almost always get lightheaded when I do my bi-weekly personal training sessions, but this morning I was AWESOME. And the only difference was that I shoved a bunch of rainbow cookie scraps into my mouth the second I woke up. So put your bananas and protein powder away, and make these for your next work out!
Side note: is it mean to bake cookies when your husband is keeping kosher for Passover? Maybe. My excuse is that I had a whole Wednesday evening free, a jar of raspberry preserves, and a need to bake something colorful. And so voila – Italian rainbow cookies. These things last a long time, so theoretically he’ll get to eat them next week (unless I eat all of them first).
Natural food coloring made these things look weird. Also, I had no idea how expensive natural food coloring was until undertaking this experiment. I know that it’s probably healthier (?) or less likely to kill you (?), but I think I’ll probably go for the toxic stuff the next time I make these.
I looked at a bunch of recipes and basically took all the things that made this process easier:
Italian Rainbow Cookies
7 ounces almond paste (one tube)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 drops red food coloring
10 drops green food coloring
8 ounces of raspberry jam (seedless is considered better)
Half a bag of semisweet chocolate chips (~6 oz)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 13”x9” baking pans with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper (on the exposed side).
Mix together the almond paste and sugar until the chunks of almond paste are gone (took about 5 minutes with my stand mixer). Add in the butter until incorporated. Next, add the almond extract and the eggs. Place your stand mixer on medium high speed for about 5-6 minutes, and then reduce the speed in order to slowly incorporate the flour and salt.
Divide the dough into 3 equal sections. Leave one of the dough balls in your stand mixer, and place the other two in their own bowls.
At this point, I added the plain dough (from the stand mixer) to one of the prepared baking pans. Spread the dough with a spatula as much to the edges as you can. This will not be easy. Place in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the moment a toothpick comes out clean. When it’s done, remove the pan using the parchment paper and place on cooling rack.
While the plain layer is baking, add red food coloring to one of the other dough balls and mix in. Spread this dough on the other prepared baking sheet and put it into the oven for 10 minutes.
Mix the green food coloring to the dough in the third bowl. By the time you’ve done this, it is very likely that your plain layer will be out of the oven and cooling. Prepare this baking sheet again with a fresh sheet of parchment paper and butter layer. Spread the dough on the pan, bake/cool as outlined above.
When all the layers are cooled, line one of the 13”x9” pans with new parchment paper. Place the green layer on the base. Use half of the raspberry jam and spread it on top of the green layer. Place the plain layer on top of this. Spread plain layer with the remaining raspberry jam. Place the red layer on top. Cover with plastic wrap, and then place the other 13”x9” pan on top of the stacked layers. Fill pan with heavy things like jars/bottles/etc., and place in the refrigerator.
Most recipes suggest 8 hours of fridge time, but I did…2. Whatevz.
Get yourself a double boiler situation happening, and melt the chocolate chips with the heavy cream until liquid-y and spreadable. Take the cookie layers out of the fridge, pour the chocolate on top, and then spread until even. Place back in the fridge uncovered for about half an hour. When you take the cookies out again, you can cut them in any shapes/sizes that you like. I did 2”-ish squares, which made about 25 of them. After they’re cut, put them in the fridge for at least an additional 30 minutes or so. They’re fine to refrigerate for as long as you’d like.
Next, go open up a New York-style bakery and call it a day.