Countdown to Christmas #5: Rainbow Cookies

From now until December 24, we’ll be counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a special series of sweet treats and savory snacks from the Coho Restaurant kitchen. Let us know what’s cooking in yours this holiday season!

Rainbow Cookies
from La Cucina Anna Maria: Good Life Recipes from San Juan Island

Makes approximately 50 cookies

8 oz almond paste
12 oz European unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
10 drops liquid green food coloring
8 drops liquid red food coloring
12oz apricot preserves, puréed
2 1/2 oz bittersweet or couverture chocolate (72% or higher), chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 13x9x2 inch cookie sheets with parchment, allowing paper to come up the short ends of the pan. Spray pan and paper with cooking spray.

Break up almond paste in large bowl. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks, and almond extract. Beat with mixer until light and fluffy (5 minutes). Beat in flour and salt.

Beat egg whites in separate bowl, until peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter until well blended.

Divide batter into three bowls. Add green coloring to one, red to another, leaving last bowl plain. Spread batter evenly into the pan, using an offset spatula. (The cakes will not self level in the oven.)

Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden. All cakes to cool completely.

Heat the apricot preserves in a small sauce pan.

Turn a baking sheet face down and cover with parchment. Place the green cake on top of the parchment. Spread half of the apricot preserves on the green cake edge to edge. Invert the yellow cake on top of the preserves. Press down firmly. Spread remaining preserves on the yellow cake edge to edge. Place the pink layer on top. Press down firmly.

Cover completely with plastic wrap. Place a heavy cutting board on top of plastic and place in refrigerator overnight. Add cans or weights on top of the cutting board so the cookie layers stick tightly together.

Trim the outer edges with a sharp knife so that all three layers are straight and aligned.

Melt chocolate in double boiler and mix until smooth. Pour half the chocolate over the cake, spreading with an offset spatula to the edges. Return to refrigerator until chocolate is fully set.

Invert cake, peel off parchment and coat the other side with remaining chocolate. Return to refrigerator for chocolate to set.

Portion cookies into rectangles about 1 ½ inch wide by 1 inch.

Notes: This recipes makes a large batch – plenty for a cookie exchange and to enjoy well after the holidays are over. It is a beautiful cookie that tastes as good as it looks.

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