Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rainbow Cookies

My husband says to me why are you making those- is that some kinda challenge? I said, yup, its my challenge to myself. I always wanted to make them and so I am making them.

It's funny because Rainbow cookies (also known as Neapolitan cookies), from what I understand are a very popular cookie in the Long Island region of NY. Very few Italians make them around here. Or maybe I just don't know the right Italians.

These cookies are worthy every bit of the effort that you make. You bite into one and the ones at the bakery are dwarfed in comparison. Buttery almond creaminess offset by tangy sweet apricot jam and raspberry jam, then topped off with chocolate. Delicious.

Rainbow Cookies
adapted from this recipe by Sherry Yard, Desserts by the Yard

For the cake:12 ounces almond paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds butter (6 sticks) softened and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
6 large eggs, separated
3/4 cups almond flour
3 cups unbleached ap flour
red food coloring
green food coloring

1 recipe simple syrup (place one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stir to dissolve sugar and allow to cool.)
3/4 cup apricot jam
3/4 cup raspberry jam

For chocolate glaze:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 ounces butter
5 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray 3 12x17 inch half sheet pans with pan spray and line with parchment. (The spray will keep the paper from sliding when you are spreading the thick batter.) Lightly spray the parchment.

Place the almond paste in a food processor and blend for a minute to warm it up a little. Add the sugar and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Add butter one stick at a time until incorporated. Add yolks, one at a time. Then add almond flour and pulse just until blended. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and add the ap flour - just until incorporated.

Place the egg whites in the bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Pour egg whites over top of the batter in a large bowl, fold in to the batter.

At this point you should separate the batter into three equal portions. Stir 1-2 drops of red paste food coloring into one portion, and 1-2 drops of green food coloring into another. One third of the batter should be bright pink and one third light green. The third one should be yellow for the standard colors. (Silly me totally forgot this part all together, so I added the green color to one portion of the simple syrup and the red color to the other portion of simple syrup. Hence my funky Rainbow cookies.) UPDATE: new pics included with the right way to do the colors.

Scrape all of one colored batter onto one sheet pan and spread it evenly, pushing the batter with the spatula to the outer edges of the pan, making sure they are at least 1/4 inch thick. Slide your finger or a damp paper towel around the inner edge of the pan to remove any excess batter. Repeat with the remaining 2 portions of batter.

Place the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the top and bottom pans from top to bottom and turn them around. Turn the middle pan around. Bake another 10 minutes, or until the cakes are dry and firm to the touch. They should not brown. Allow the cakes to cool in the baking sheets for 10 minutes.

When the cakes have cooled, place another empty half sheet pan in front of you upside down. Spray the pan with pan spray and place a layer of parchment paper on it with several inches of overhang. Invert the white or yellow cake onto the parchment covered upside down pan, and peel the parchment off the top of the cake.

Brush the cake liberally with simple syrup and spread with the apricot jam using an offset spatula. Repeat this process with the pink layer, brushing it with simple syrup and spreading it with the raspberry jam. Top with the green layer and brush it liberally with simple syrup. Trim any crumbling edges and remove the loose crumbs.

Use the parchment overhang to slide the cake off the pan and place in one of the now-empty half sheet pans. Cover the cake tightly with plastic or wax paper and place one of the other empty pans on top. Chill for two hours. At this point, the cake can also be wrapped airtight and stored in the freezer for three to four weeks.

Make the chocolate glaze:
Combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and microwave on low power until the butter is melted. Stir to melt the chocolate. Stir in the corn syrup and the Grand Marnier. The glaze should be smooth, shiny and pour-able. (It will cool and set when it is poured on the refrigerated cake.)

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth out with an offset spatula. Add designs if desired with a fork. Refrigerate the cake again for at least thirty minutes or until the glaze is completely set.

To cut the cake, place it on a flat surface and use a serrated knife, dip in warm water and wipe dry as needed. Cut only in one direction - being careful as you pull the knife up through the cake so that the glaze does not peel off the cake.


kat said...

That certainly is a lot of work but they turned out beautiful!

Dawn said...

I have wanted to get that cookbook for a while now. I saw these cookies too--I remember the work involved. They came out great.

Lucy..♥ said...

Lori they look great and well worth it, aren't they the best!. My DD so looks forward to these cookies and says "it's not Christmas" if I don't make them. I did make this year too ;-)

Lucy..♥ said...

Merry Christmas, Lori and to your family!!

Maria said...

Such festive cookies. Happy Holidays!

HoneyB said...

My DIL's from Long Island and many of her family still live there - they brought cookies like this to her bridal shower and wedding - and I was intrigued by the color but really loved the almond! I love that you did something that you challenged yourself to do.
Merry Christmas Lori!

Sheila said...

I have never seen these (obviously I am not from Long Island). The colors are so festive and would make a perfect Christmas treat.

Katie said...

Wow! These cookies are so beautiful! Yummy

Murasaki Shikibu said...

lol...your hubby's comment just cracks me up. :)))

Grace said...

what a perfect christmas creation! including a bit of chocolate on top is a fine, fine touch. :)

Katy ~ said...

Lori, these cookies are BEA-UUUU-TI-FUL!!

Imafoodblog said...

I have also always wanted to make them! I grew up in LI, so I have always had these, can't believe they aren't everywhere!!

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