Faithful TRB readers may recall how I conquered one of my biggest baking fears this past Christmas, when I whipped up a batch of Tri-Color Cookies (aka Rainbow Cookies and Seven Layer Cookies). I’m not really sure why I was so apprehensive. You’ll be glad to know I’m now fearless in the face of these red-white-and-green-almondy-raspberry-chocolate bites.
From the minute I took the first taste, I knew I would make these cookies again. But — and it here comes — the recipe was missing *something.* Like, really missing something. I ate about a quarter of the tray before I put my finger on it. (Okay, maybe I should have arrived at the correct conclusion a little sooner).
The almond flavor wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. The texture of the cookies was good; the chocolate was amazingly rich and dense; and the raspberry complemented both the sponge cake layers and chocolate, but I couldn’t get past the fact that almond wasn’t intensely present.
I immediately started searching other trusted sources (Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious, among them) for recipes. In reading the other recipes, I quickly realized what my version lacked: Almond Paste. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go to the store and, of course, I didn’t have any almond paste on hand. So, I “Googled” almond paste, found a recipe to make it from scratch and proceeded from there. I’m so glad I did; the homemade almond paste made all the difference. I’ll never make my Tri-Color Cookies any other way again.
Tri-Color Cookies with Homemade Almond Paste
(Almond Paste recipe from Joy of Baking)
10 oz. homemade almond paste*
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
2 sticks salted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
35 drops red food coloring
35 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1. Prepare 3 disposable lasagna pans (or three 11×9 pans): Grease the bottom and sides and line each with a sheet of wax paper. Then, grease the wax paper and set aside. (This will make it easy to remove the delicate layers once baked).
2. Beat sugar and eggs in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add almond paste and mix until well combined with sugar and egg mixture to form a batter.
3. Add the almond extract. Slowly incorporate the melted butter, constantly stirring. Add flour and mix until well combined.
4. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Add red food coloring to one batch, and green food coloring to another, leaving one portion of dough uncolored.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread dough evenly (using a spatula helps) into each of the prepared lasagna pans. Bake each layer for 10-12 minutes or until you see bubbles forming in the dough and the sides pull away from the edges of the pan. The layers will seem to be a bit undercooked, but this is how you want them.
6. Remove from oven and cool in pans for at least 30 minutes.
7. Line a cooling rack with wax paper. Carefully loosen the green layer from the pan. Invert onto cooling rack and remove wax paper from bottom. Spread a very thin layer of raspberry jam, leaving a 1/4-inch margin around the edges. Repeat with white layer, jam and red layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8. Melt chocolate chips in microwave with vegetable oil and stir until smooth. Spread chocolate over top and sides of assembled layers. Refrigerate overnight to let the layers “set.”
9. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 1-inch strips and then slice each strip into bite-size pieces (approx. 10).
Cookies will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days (if they last that long in your house!).
*Homemade Almond Paste recipe from Joy of Baking
(Yields 10 oz. or 1 1/3 cups)
1 3/4 cups ground blanched almonds (TRB used almond meal)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients until a paste forms.
Have you tried to make Tri-Color Cookies? Share your experience with us! Post a comment below.