Friday, May 3, 2013

rainbow cookies

As a general rule, I'm an optimist. A night owl. A wine drinker. And a cookie minimalist. You can keep your fancy fillings and fussy frostings, your royal icing and your rainbow sprinkles. Just leave me with a heaping cup of chocolate chips and a generous pinch of sea salt and I'm more than content. But there are exceptions to every rule. Screen a slasher flick and I turn into a passionate pessimist. Hit me with a bout of jetlag and I'll fall fast asleep in my dinner. Bring me to a baseball game, and it's all about the beer. And as for the exception to my cookie rule, well, allow me to introduce you to the rainbow cookie. Colorful layers of aromatic almond sponge cake are alternated with apricot preserves and dark chocolate to create a cookie that's as flavorful as it is fancy. Some rules were made to be broken. 

Rainbow Cookies
Recipe from Torrisi, via Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons plus 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
12 ounces almond paste (not marzipan), chopped
2 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon green food coloring
3/4 cup orange marmalade, heated and strained (I used Sarabeth's apricot orange marmalade)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 and line 3 9x13 pans with foil leaving an overhang, and grease the foil with 2 tablespoons of butter. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the refrigerator to cool. 

Put the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until combined, about 4-5 minutes. Add the remaining butter and beat until fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks and then the flour and salt. Fold in the whites in two additions. 

Divide the batter evenly between three bowls. Add red food coloring to one, green to another, and leave the third one plain. Spread each bowl of batter into one of the prepared pans. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until just set. Let the cakes cool in the pans. 

Spread half of the marmalade over the green layer. Lift the plain layer out of the pan using the foil overhang, and invert it onto the green layer. Peel the foil off of the top, and spread the remaining marmalade over the plain layer. Invert the red layer on top of the plain layer and cover the cake with foil. Place one of the empty 9x13 pans on top of the cake, and weigh it down with heavy canned goods. Put the cake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. 

Remove the cans, top pan and foil and transfer the cake to a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Spread half of the melted chocolate evenly over the top of the red layer using an offset spatula. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, until chocolate is set. Cover the cake with waxed paper, invert a baking sheet on the top, and flip the cake over. Cover the bottom of the green layer (now the top of the cake) with the remaining chocolate and freeze another 10 minutes, until set. Cut the cake into six even strips. Cut each strip into 12 cookies. Store in an airtight container. 

Recipe Notes; I halved the recipe and baked each layer in a 9-inch round cake pan. I used Sarabeth's apricot orange marmalade between the layers, and topped one end of my cake only with chocolate--I used Guittard semi-sweet chips. Resist the temptation to use more chocolate than the recipe calls for--if your chocolate layer is too thick it will crack when you try to slice the cookies. 


Usha said...

I wished I lived/worked closer to you so I could pop in for these - they look so yum!

Kate (Embarrassment of Riches) said...

I can't get over these - they are SO cool! Really, really impressive.

PS We are in the midst of a Parenthood marathon over here.