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Wave the flag for Italian cookies

Sunday, June 30, 2013

There's a delightful looking biscuit called Italian rainbow cookies, which are often made at Christmas. They have almond paste or ground almonds in them and are in the colours of the Italian flag.
The red, green and white layers are made separately and sandwiched together with apricot jam. Finally, the top and bottom are coated in chocolate. That makes seven layers (3 dough + 2 jam + 2 chocolate), and that's why they are also known as seven-layer cookies.
Well, I decided to forgo the bottom chocolate layer and so there are only six layers to my cookie. Hence, 7-minus-1-layer cookies. And that's why the Roman numeral in the picture at the top is a six.
The recipe for these chewy biscuits can be found all over the Internet. Those recipes use one large sheet pan (33x22cm/13x9") for baking, and because of this, the three layers of biscuit dough have to be baked separately – the pan is lined with baking paper, one layer is baked, removed, and the same pan is lined with paper again, the second layer is baked, and then on to the final layer.
That's too much work for me and raised too many potential problems, especially with a wayward oven that overheats and can cause uneven baking. So I cut down the amount and since I have three shallow 18cm (7") square pans, I baked all three biscuit layers at the same time. 
So why didn't I give the biscuit another layer of chocolate? I really don't know...
Six layers are just as good as seven
Layered Almond Cookies
Makes about 2½ dozen. Based on the Italian seven-layer cookie.

2 eggs, separated
160g sugar, divided
140g butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
65g almond meal (ground almonds)
140g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
Red and green food dye (liquid or gel)
5-6 tbsp apricot jam
50g chocolate
½ tsp corn syrup

Line 3 shallow 18cm square baking pan with baking paper, with two opposite sides overhanging. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
With electric beaters, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks. Continue beating and add 2 tbsp of sugar slowly. Whisk until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks.
Place butter in another mixing bowl. Using the same egg beaters, whip butter and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Beat in yolks and vanilla until combined, 1 minute.
Combine almond meal, flour and salt, and fold into butter mixture.
Stir a third of the egg whites into the butter mixture to loosen, then fold in the rest of the whites.
Divide batter into three equal parts, about 200g each. Colour one portion red and another green (about ½ tsp liquid or ¼ tsp gel) and leave the third portion natural.
Place the batters into the three prepared pans and bake for 8-10 minutes until cooked but still soft as they will firm up while cooling. Remove from oven and from the pans, and cool on a wire rack (leave the baking paper on).
Warm the apricot jam to loosen it.
Line a tray with greaseproof paper or a silicon mat and upturn the green layer onto it. Peel off the baking paper. Spread with a thin layer of jam and upturn the white layer on top; peel off the baking paper. Spread with jam and upturn the red layer on top; peel off the baking paper.
Cover with cling film and place a tray or baking pan on top of the cling film and weight it down with something heavy to press the layers together. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
Melt the chocolate with the corn syrup in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water. Remove cling film and spread chocolate on top of the red layer. Chill until chocolate is set. (If making a seven-layer cookie, invert the cookie onto another tray and spread the green layer with chocolate. Chill until set. The chocolate and corn syrup need to be doubled.)
Trim the edges and cut into fingers, about 4cm by 2cm.

1 comment:

  1. Tedious! lol! Looks delicious though, I love colorful cakes but my sons refuse to eat anything colored:S Ended up I usually gave them away!


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