Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian Rainbow Cookies

When I was little, my family's usual summer "vacations" were to head north to Connecticut to visit family.  Every time we went, we would always visit this little mom & pop Italian bakery in the town where my grandparents live to get various cookies and pastries.  The one treat that always stood out to me and that I just had to get was these little layered almond flavored colored cookies.  I think the main thing that excited me about them was their bright colors and the ability to break off each layer and savor them longer.

I had forgotten about them for a while until one day several years ago when I was in college and working for the University dining hall.  I was hanging out with the ladies in bake shop and we were all perusing some Taste of Home cook books looking for holiday sweets when I stumbled upon a recipe for this cookie.  I immediately made a copy of the recipe and was determined to replicate it at home.

I first made the recipe around Christmastime four years ago, and I fell in love with the cookie all over again!  It's not a recipe I make often because there are several steps involved in the assembly of the cookies and the process usually spans over two days.  It's very easy to make, it just takes time.

I have wanted to make these again for a while (I've actually had several of the ingredients for it sitting on my kitchen counter for about a month now), but I have now finally gotten the motivation to just do it.

I will warn you that if you're not a big fan of the flavor of almond, you probably won't like these cookies.  I have seen a recipe or two that also calls for adding almond extract, in addition to the whole can of almond paste that is already in the cookie, however I think that would be overkill and do not use the extract in my cookies.

Whipping up the batter and assembling the cookies is definitely easy, and I follow the recipe I've linked above exactly and come out with great results.  The hardest part of making these cookies is cutting them up as the chocolate layer on top likes to crack and break if you're not careful.  Per a recommendation I saw someone post online, the best method seems to be to first use a serrated knife to cut the chocolate layer on top, and the follow behind that with a regular smoother edged knife to cut through the remaining layers of cookie.  The edges of the cookies don't necessarily come out the smoothest, but the taste is really all that matters, right?

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