Anyone who grew up going to a Jewish deli, knows the deliciousness that is rainbow cookies!
But, did you know that they are actually Italian? The red, green, and white colors of the cookies correspond with the Italian flag. Rainbow cookies were first introduced in the late 19th or early 20th century by the Italian American immigrant community!
So, how did these cookies come to be so popular with the American Jewish community? As Jewish refugees began to settle in the United States, specifically in New York City, they settled in areas that had large Italian immigrant populations, thus began the love affair with rainbow cookies!
These cookies are dense, chewy, and super almondy. They make a great shabbat snack or dessert and will be the centerpiece of your dessert table!
4 Eggs, separated
1 Cup sugar
8 oz Almond paste (I bought mine at Whole Foods)
2 ½ Sticks butter, softened
1 ½ Teaspoons almond extract
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
½ Teaspoon kosher salt
2 Cups all purpose flour
Red gel food coloring
Green gel food coloring
1 Cup Semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs whites on medium-high speed until they form stiff peaks.
While still beating the egg whites, add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, until the egg whites turn glossy. Transfer to another bowl.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat together the almond paste and the remaining ¾ cups of sugar. Start this on a low speed and increase as it begins to combine. This step will take some time, probably about 5 minutes.
Add in the butter and beat until pale and fluffy. Do not overbeat here or the mixture will start to break! If this happens, do not worry, it will come back together when you add the flour.
Add yolks and almond extract and vanilla extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
Take one third of the egg whites and fold into the batter. This will lighten the batter enough to fold in the rest of the egg whites without deflating them too much.
Fold in the next third of the egg whites, and then the final third. Divide the batter into 3 separate bowls. Using gel food coloring, dye one bowl red and one bowl green, leaving the last bowl white.
Line a 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the red batter into the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.
After it is done, flip out onto a wire cooling rack. Bake the other two layers.
Once all the layers are baked, spread a layer of jam over the top of the red layer of cake. This jam layer should be very thin!!! Place the white layer on top of the red and spread jam on top of the white layer. Place the green layer on top of the white.
Now comes the most important part! If you want nice even layers, place a cookie sheet on top of the cakes and place 3-4 cookbooks on top of the cookie sheet. Let the cakes sit like this for at least an hour!
Melt the chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Spread over the top of the layered cakes and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Once the top layer of chocolate is solid, flip over and spread the chocolate over the bottom. Place in the freezer for an additional 15 minutes.
Once the chocolate is hardened, slice into 3 inch long and 1 inch wide cookies. Serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.