Monday, December 23, 2013

Rainbow Cookies

Years back just a few small steps in to my new life living clean and drug free, I had found a job in a bagel/bakery/cafe type of place. I made the worst money ever, but it was the biggest stepping stone to self sufficiency on my journey of recovery. It taught me to value the money I had and not to spend it without any regard to how long it actually took me to make it.

Although the pay was terrible it was a great learning experience, even though I didn't know that at the time. One of the lead bakers there was a sort of mad baking genius, everything he created was as beautiful as it was delicious. As were his rainbow cookies....hands down the best I ever had.  They were always so moist and flavorful and try as I might I was never able to reproduce his version.

I typically make a standard rainbow cookie every year for Christmas and although the recipe I use isn't bad, there was always something tugging at me telling me that "something" was not right, so to speak. Offhand I never knew what that was, and the only and I mean only reason I changed up my recipe and tweaked it was because my kids distracted me at the grocery store and I purchased Almond filling over almond paste.

Funny how life works like that, because that changed led me closer to those lovely delicious rainbow cookies I used to eat. Now these seem like a difficult cookie to make, when in fact they are not, there are just a few extra steps which take a little more time, but the end result and colorful wow factor are always worth it!

This is what you will need....
  • 1 Can (12.5 oz each) Almond Filling
  • 1 Cups of butter softened
  • 1 Cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tsp. Almond Extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup of Seedless Raspberry Preserves
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup of Orange Marmalade
  • 8 oz chocolate
  • Green, red and yellow gel food coloring
  • Wax paper/parchment paper
Before I go any further, let me note some things, I made a double batch of this so the pictures you see are a reflection of that. Using the recipe above your layers will be thinner. I also use gel food coloring to get intense bright colors which can be purchased at most local craft stores in the baking/decorating section. Standard regular food coloring like the McCormick brand you will find in the supermarket, will not give you colors as bright, but will color it slightly.  Keep that in mind

Cream together your butter, sugar, almond extract and almond filling. Add in your eggs and mix well. 

Add in the flour a cup at a time until well combined. 

Split the batter into three separate bowls and color accordingly.

I lined a 13x9 baking pan with spray oil and wax paper (you can also use parchment paper) and spread the batter in to the pan. However you want to do this step is fine, in the past I have even used a baking sheet, splitting the difference between the colors. 

Be forewarned this is thick and a bit of a pain to spread, use and offset spatula to spread it around evenly.

Bake at 350 for about 7-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. The middle should be springy, not mushy. Bake all three layers and let fully cool.

Cover a cutting board or baking sheet with a sheet of wax/parchment  paper. This is where the bottom layer will go for now and the wax/parchment will catch all the mess. Place your bottom layer, which for now is the yellow layer on the sheet of wax/parchment paper. Cover the yellow layer with orange marmalade and spread it all over the top. Place the red layer on top of this. Now spread the raspberry on top of this and cover the top fully. Place the green layer on top. Now wrap the entire thing with saran wrap tightly so that it squishes together and put it in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.

This step is where it all comes together, flavors melding with flavors giving the cookies it's signature flavor.
Take out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, before coating with chocolate or else the chocolate will be setting as you are trying to cover it and you will just get mad at the cookies (or me.). Melt your chocolate, I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa baking chips and they melted wonderfully and spread easily. They also didn't crack when I cut the squares later on.a Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate all over the top, covering it evenly, you can cover the sides as well, but it isn't necessary.

After the chocolate has set fully, using a sharp knife cut in to squares! Clean the knife in between each slice to ensure clean cuts!

Enjoy!! And I hope these add a little something extra to whatever celebration you bring them to!

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