Monday, May 3, 2010

Match Monday: Italian Rainbow Cookies


In my own words: I'm known for my colorful and multi-layered personality. Though I was born and raised in the Big Apple, my roots are in Italy.  That's right - how you doin'?
Favorite things: The smell of rolling green hills just after a light rain.
For fun: Hanging out with my large Italian family.

I'm looking for someone sweet who appreciates my many flavors.  I could be your rainbow if you could be my pot of gold :-)

Today's Match Monday treat was requested by Goofy Guy*.  Goofy Guy used to do stand-up comedy and is now pursuing an acting career.  Among his favorite things are aviator sunglasses, flip flops, crossword puzzles, and this classic NY treat: Rainbow Cookies.

When Goofy Guy mentioned Rainbow Cookies, I have to admit that I had no idea what he was talking about - I'm a Cali girl after all, and have not a drop of Italian blood in me.  What I did know was that I had to make them.  Rainbow + Cookies = something good.  That was my logic.

When I found out they involved multiple layers of almond cookie-cake, raspberry jam, and chocolate, I was even more sure I had to make them - those are three of my favorite flavors.  But wanna know a secret?  I have never had an Italian Rainbow Cookie.  Four years in NYC and never once have I tried this Big Apple staple. It was definitely time to change that.

Goofy Guy pointed me to a recipe on AllRecipes, and Beck and I got to work.  This cookie takes some commitment - three days in total - but it is WELL worth it in the end.  You'll watch these disappear in about .000001% of the time it took you to make them (yes, that's an exact percentage), which might be slightly traumatic, but when your friends tell you they will never eat a store-bought Rainbow Cookie again, the shock quickly transforms into sweet self satisfaction.

Sei pronto a cominciare?

Empty a can of almond filling into a bowl.  Acknowledge that it looks like your dog just did his business in your kitchen.  Then awkwardly transition to reminiscing about how the almond filling taste and smell take you back to when Grandpa Tino use to "capture" day-old almond pastries from the senior center...

Cream the almond filling, sugar, butter, almond extract, and egg yolks.  Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl, then fold into almond mixture.  Make a note to get some better lighting in your kitchen.

Spray three baking pans.  Divide the dough into three portions and add food coloring.  Spread dough into prepared pans.  Think how serendipitious it is that the flowers you happen to have finish out your color palate so nicely.

Bake the cookie layers for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Carefully remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spread the green layer with jam; top with yellow layer.  Spread yellow layer with jam; top with pink layer. Secretly delight in the jam squishing out the sides.

Cover layered stack with plastic wrap and place a heavy cutting board or baking pan on top to compress the layers.  If you have neither a heavy cutting board nor a heavy baking pan, place a not-so-heavy baking pan on top, then a stack of those food magazines that are hogging your coffee table. Let the stack chill in the fridge overnight.

Melt chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream in the microwave.  Pour over layers and spread with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle on some chocolate jimmies if that suits your fancy, or if there are imperfections in that chocolate you just spread that you want to cover up.  Place back in fridge for about an hour or until chocolate sets.  These get better with age; feel free to cover and let sit for a few days more.

Remove from fridge and cut into approximately 40 pieces.  Set aside four pieces.  These are for 1) yourself 2) your sister, and 3) your sister's boyfriend.  And 4) yourself.  Then marvel at how the above - an unassuming pan of chocolate bars - is actually this: 

Serve to all your friends - Italian or otherwise - and then pat yourself on the back for having spent three days creating an NY staple.  Then eat one or two - you deserve it!

These are by far the most "professional" cookie Becky and I have ever churned out, and also one of the tastiest.  Like all Italian cookies, they get better as they sit - up to two weeks, I'm told.  If you think you can't wait that long to dig in, do like Beck and I did - make them, then leave town for the weekend.  They make coming home all the more sweet.


*Nicknames are my own.  I will never reveal usernames or any identifying information beyond what is already public on

Italian Rainbow Cookies
adapted from AllRecipes

1 can almond filling (12 oz)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
¾ tbsp almond extract
4 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
red, green, yellow food coloring (gel or liquid)
2/3 cup seedless red raspberry jam, divided
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup heavy cream
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line three 9x13 inch baking pans with parchment paper, or spray three disposable pans with non-stick spray (our disposable pans were approximately 8 1/2 x 11 1/2).

2.     Empty almond filling into a large bowl and cream together with butter, sugar, almond extract, and egg yolks. When mixture is fluffy and smooth, stir in flour to form a dough. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Mix one portion with red food coloring, one with green food coloring, and one with yellow food coloring. Spread each portion into one of the prepared baking pans.

3.     Bake 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Carefully remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

4.     Place green layer onto a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap all three layers, and place on a baking sheet. Spread green layer with 1/3 cup raspberry jam, and top with yellow layer. Spread with 1/3 cup raspberry jam, and top with pink layer. Enclose layers in plastic wrap. Place a heavy pan or cutting board on top of wrapped layers to compress. Chill in refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight.

5.     Remove plastic wrap.  Melt chocolate chips, heavy cream, and butter in microwave in 30 second intervals and stir until smooth.  Pour over layers and spread with offset spatula.  Add sprinkles if desired.  Refrigerate 1 hour, or until chocolate is firm. Slice into small squares to serve.


  1. So pretty! And so sassy with the comments-- aren't you enjoying yourself! Looks like it was fun to make. :-)

  2. Hey, these look awesome! It's too bad I'm starting a diet (but that won't last forever, of course). Good to see you in the blogosphere; I made the leap myself in March, and it's been lots of fun. Happy baking ... and I'll bookmark your site!

  3. Katie from the JMay 6, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Great blog, ladies!!! I love the incorporation of Match, too ;) Makes for fun reading!

  4. Diana BustamanteMay 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    I just found out about the blog and have enjoyed reading the ones I've gotten to so far.
    These cookies look scrumdiddliumpcious but I am lacking the ingredients, as well as any baking pans that I could use as Matt has jacked up all mine cooking chicken nuggets on them. Ergo, (a SCU word for sure) how about sending me just one of these the next time you make them? I am a WW member and could easily fit the point value of just one into my weekly food budget.
    Also girls remember that I am old, though not infirm yet and it would count as indulgences for helping out the elderly!