These Rainbow Cookies are a classic Italian treat; the cake layers are meant to look like the Italian flag. These cookies as well as Pizelles were Mary Tully’s contributions to the annual holiday cookie exchange that she started in the 1970s. To read about Tully and her family continuing this tradition, go to “Raleigh woman’s holiday cookie exchange lives on,” which appeared in our 2016 Holiday Baking section.
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 to 8 drops red food coloring
6 to 8 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Line the bottoms of three matching 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch baking pans (or reuse one pan) with waxed or parchment paper.
Place almond paste in a large mixing bowl; break up with a fork. Cream with butter, sugar and egg yolks until light, fluffy and smooth. Stir in flour. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into dough, mixing until thoroughly blended.
Divide dough into three portions (about 1-1/3 cups each). Color one portion with red food coloring and one with green; leave the remaining portion uncolored. Spread each portion into the prepared pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Invert onto wire racks; remove paper. Place another wire rack on top and turn over. Cool completely.
Place green layer on a large piece of plastic wrap. Spread evenly with raspberry jam. Top with uncolored layer and spread with apricot jam. Top with pink layer. Bring plastic wrap over layers. Slide onto a cookie sheet and set a cutting board or a heavy, flat pan on top to compress layers. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Spread over top layer; allow to harden. With a sharp knife, trim edges. Cut into 1/2-inch strips across the width; then cut each strip into 4 to 5 pieces. Store in airtight containers.
Yield: about 8 dozen