Hi guys, I'm Laura Vitale and on this episode of Laura in the Kitchen I'm going to share
with you, how to make Italian rainbow cookies.Now I held off from making this recipe for a long
time because truly, every recipe you see for these cookies is the same. But you want to
see my version, you want to see me make them, so mine is going to be no different - very
basic like everyone else's, it's so easy though, but let me tell you that if you grew up eating
these - maybe not necessarily in an Italian household, but if you grew up where people
ate these often, then there's just something about that almond flavored sponge cookie that
is so - I don't know it's - I can't even describe it brings up such funny memories because they
just have such a very unique consistency.
Because calling it a cookie is kind of misleading because it's just really sponge cakes that
have been layered with jam and covered on top with some chocolate so it's kind of - it's
not really a cookie but more like a little tea cake if you will, but they are divine.
The ingredients you'll need to actually make the cake themselves is all purpose flour and
salt, granulated sugar, this is an almond paste, I'll talk about this in a minute, got
a few eggs that I've separated into egg yolks and whites, I've got some unsalted butter
that's been really softened at room temperature, vanilla extract and then I've got red food
coloring and then green food coloring.
You can use any food coloring you like, the whole point of Italian rainbow cookies is
that they're three layers and they are to resemble the Italian flag. They say the reason
this - the reason these were made this way was because Italians that immigrated from
Italy wanted to remind themselves of home so they made these cookies, and then they
dyed them, you know, red white and green to remind them of, you know, Italia!
But, I want to just mention one thing, almond paste, very different than marzipan, you don't
want marzipan, you want actual almond paste, when you buy this, 9 times out of 10 you buy
this in a little log, the recipe calls for 8 ounces, most of the logs that you see at
the grocery store come in 7 ounce packets, use just 7 ounces, don't worry about the extra
one ounce because I don't want you to buy two of them just to use a little tiny one
from another tube but it's quite pricey too, so 7 ounces, 8 ounces, it's fine.
I've got my oven preheated to 350, I'm going to make this in my standing mixer, the first
thing I want to do is add my almond paste and I'm just going to let this kind of move
around a little bit just to break this up into smaller pieces and in the meantime, what
I'm going to do, is in a separate bowl with another, electric whisk, I'm going to whip
up the egg whites until they're nice and stiff peaks, and I'll show you what they look like
when they're done!
I'm actually going to add my sugar to my almond paste and I'm going to let that mix for just
a couple of minutes, it's going to just kind of look like it's all crumbly but that's fine.
Let that go for a couple of minutes - you can see if you look really in there, the almond
paste is kind of breaking up a little bit so let this go for like 2 or 3 minutes or
until the almond paste kind of breaks up even more and then we'll start adding our butter
and everything will come together but I've got my egg whites ready, so I am just getting
really really close. You can already start to see it's even breaking up even more, so
just give it a couple minutes and it'll be exactly where we want it.
This is looking absolutely perfect, so I'm going to start adding in the butter, I might
even do it with the motor running, I love that I'm just making a giant mess.
Let's turn the motor off, shall we?
Let me add the butter, the butter is really soft at room temperature because - as you
know - I put it on top of my stove with my oven on, because you know, I'm impatient like
that and I want it to get nice and soft really quickly, but it gets sometimes a little bit
too soft. But, now anyway, I'm going to add it all in and then I'm just going to let this
mix again for another minute or two, or until the mixture is kind of almost creamy, but
I'll show you what it looks like when it's there, but it is quite crucial that your butter
is at room temperature, really nice and soft because after all you want this to be almost
like an almond paste, if you will.
Perfect, that's looking lovely and creamy, I'm going to add my egg yolks at this point
along with some vanilla extract, not too much but you do want a nice little splash, and
all you're going to do is just mix until this is combined.
And that one should just give everything a really good scrape around the edges, and I
know this is looking really kind of odd, but again, keep in mind this is actually not a
cookie dough, but more like a sponge, so it works out.
The dry ingredients, if you can make it so these don't fall all over the place, then
you are my hero!
As you can see, I couldn't! Ha!
Okay, now all I want you to do is mix until the dry ingredients are combined, don't over
mix it because you don't - don't - I'm like really weird today, so I apologize!
But you don't want to over mix this otherwise the sponge itself will be really heavy, so
just mi until combined and then by hand we'll fold in the egg whites.
Okay, this is looking perfect. Get this off.
I"m just going to - it's really thick at this point - I'm just going to take all of this
off the paddle attachment, I really don't want to leave anything behind. I want all
of this to end up in my cookie.
Now, what you want to do - if you are quicker at this than I am, probably are, but if you
want to do is you want to make sure you give everything a really good stir from the sides
and the bottom to make sure there are no big chunks of like dry ingredients, so now what
you do is you take a little bit of your egg whites, maybe I would say a third and at this
point, this you can kind of beat it in because all you're trying to do is kind of loosen
up that batter, and the rest of it we'll fold it in quite carefully, but this is just to
kind of loosen it for now.
Okay, I've finished folding in all of my egg whites, now this is what I want you to do.
You need to divide this batter among three different pieces, so you need the first - the
first thing I'm going to do is just take my third and put it on this little baking sheet,
this is like a 13 by 9.
Just put this third here for now. Okay, and then I'm going to take another section and
put it in this bowl, and I'm going to leave the rest in this one. Because, we need to
dye this, first of all, I'm going to just take a little bit less off of that and put
it in here.
What I need to do is dye these two, so this is going to be the white layer, and then I
need a green and I need a red so what I'm going to do first - I guess I'll work on the
red and I'm just using food coloring, you can use as much or as little as you want to
get the intense color that you are looking for but basically, you're looking for, again,
a nice bright layer.
Doesn't get too complicated, try to - if you can - which I know can be difficult to fold
this in, rather than really beat it in because I don't want to lose any of the air from the
Okay, so I've got my red, I've got my white, I've got my green, now I'm going to give you
a couple of tips. It's going to look like you don't have enough batter for each one,
but remember you need a very thin layer because this will puff up as it bakes and then they'll
be layered together, a small offset spatula does a beautiful job at spreading this out,
another tip: have a little cup of water handy and then just dip it in it makes it so that
the batter doesn't stick.
And then all you do is you just spread this as even as you can manage, you do want to
make sure it's quite even and it's not really thin in one area and really thick in others
because that will kind of show up when you go and cut these but I don't want you to literally
be here for twenty five minutes trying to figure out how to make this nice and even,
but if you see certain places are thinner than others then just adjust. But look how
easy this, I mean it's very easy, it's got a few steps, yes of course, and the batter
kind of looks like it's never going to come together but it does, you just gotta trust
me. Have I failed you yet? And trust me, if I can do it, if it's not too time consuming
for me and I can do it, anybody can do it!
Going to pop these into the oven, these will only take about ten minutes to fully cook
- to fully bake - and then you want them to cool completely and I'll show you the assembly.
It's like I'm feeling all French patisserie, even though these are not French cookies,
but I just feel really fancy that I'm layering up cookies.
Okie dokie, my little sponges are fully cooked and they've cooled pretty much completely,
they don't take very long since they're so thin, now what I have here is some apricot
jam, you could use apricot, you could use raspberry, you could use whatever you want.
But traditionally it's apricot, so what I'm going to do, first of all, Italian flag:red
white and green, that's how you want to layer this.
Now what I want to do is take about half of my jam, and then I'm just going to spread
this nice and evenly, using my little spatula. It's - you don't necessarily want a really
huge thick layer of jam, you want quite a thin layer because you're going to weigh this
down and it's going to kind of like really adhere to the cake and just be really fantastic,
but if the layers of jam were too thick, it just, I don't know I don't like that. I like
a nice thin layer of jam and then the cake and then .. it's so good, so so good!
But, see, it was really easy, you just kind of spread this nice and evenly, then we do
the white layer, and of course you just plop this right out, take the parchment, because
I did use the parchment paper underneath everything to make sure nothing sticks.
And if it breaks a little bit like that, that's fine because, remember, we're going to weight
everything down and everything looks - it'll look perfect, and then you just do the rest
of the jam, and it makes it a little bit easier if it's like smooth, if there's no chunks
of fruit in the jam, it makes the spreading a little bit easier, but you can see mine
has just a few little chunks here and there, and that's fine with me. What I did do though,
and what I suggest you do as well, so that it makes kind of spreading this out a little
bit easier, is I pop this into a microwave for about 30 seconds not to make it hot, but
just to loosen it a little bit so that it spreads a little bit easier.
So, this looks perfect, and now I'm just going to top it with my last layer, which is my
green, just trying to get this little corner here, and I love the smell of apricot jam,
it's one of my favorite, favorite smells ever - as far as jam goes.
Okay, get that little piece off.
Come on now!
I know you want to stay on my cookie, but you gotta go!
Okay, that looks perfect!
No more jam, what you need to do now - don't worry because any little crack is going to
all be covered, don't you worry, what you need to do now is grab some plastic wrap,
what makes it easier is if you wrap the whole thing, which I know sounds so odd right now
and you're like 'what is she talking about?' but just you wait because nothing sticks better
to plastic wrap than plastic wrap, so what I do is I just put one layer like that underneath
like so, and then I'm going to wrap this a few times.
And then just take one of the baking sheets, and now what I need you to do is just to grab
a couple of cans, I"m going to grab a few more, and you want to weigh this down. And
I'm going to pop this into the fridge and let it just hang out and sit there with a
few more cans on top of it for about four hours and - you can do a minimum of four hours
and up to overnight, it's completely up to you, we'll see how I'm feeling a little bit
later on, whether I want to wait overnight or not, depending on how - you know - impatient
I'm being at the time, so I'm going to pop this in the fridge and I'll show you what
it looks like when it's done.
My cookie base was in the fridge, actually overnight, I was going to leave it for four
hours, but then I figured I might as well just leave it overnight. Remember, this was
weighed down, I had a cookie sheet on top with a ton of cans of tomato sauce to make
sure it was really weighed down, and it's amazing, it's perfect, good to go.
Before I unwrap it I want to get going on my chocolate topping. What I have here is
some bittersweet chocolate chips, now it's kind of important that you use bittersweet,
it's the whole contrast of flavor that makes the cookies so, so good. If you were to use
milk chocolate it would be too sweet, and since the actual cookie itself is kind of
sweet, you just need something to off balance that, and the bittersweet chocolate works
I have this in a microwave safe bowl, I"m going to pop it in the microwave and melt
the chocolate according to my melt chocolate microwave setting, you can also do this in
a double boiler, just take a saucepan that your bowl will sit perfectly on top of, fill
it - fill the saucepan with about an inch of water, bring it to a simmer, put this on
top of the saucepan and let it melt that way. I"m just going to pop mine in the microwave
just because I know it works really easy and then I'll show you what to do next once it's
Okay, this is perfectly melted, I'm going to add just a drizzle of vegetable oil, you
can also add vegetable shortening to this, all this does is really - it prevents the
chocolate from getting super, super hard and kind of cracking, and it also gives it a really
lovely shiny finish.
Just stir that in. You won't taste it, just make sure you don't use olive oil, because
you will taste it if you use olive oil, you just want to use something that's pretty much
flavorless. Okay, giving this a really good stir, and now I'm going to pour the chocolate
over top of the base.
You might not need it all, going to start with most of it but not all of it.
And then you just use the spatula just to kind of spread it nice and even from edge
Okay, that looks perfect.
I"m going to pop this back into the fridge so that the chocolate can set for about an
hour and then we'll be ready to cut these up and finally get to enjoy them.
Now, it took about an hour for the top to completely set and these are ready to be cut,
now I just flipped them over out of the pan and just took off the last layer of parchment
paper from the very bottom and they're good to go. Now if you - you need to use a serrated
knife for this - if you want to you can be really picky and kind of really shave off
the edges like that so you have really clean sides, but you know, that's completely up
The size of how you want these, how big you want them, again, completely up to you. It
is important that you use a serrated knife to do this, and just take your time because
it is an interesting texture because it's not, it's like a spongy cookie, I suppose,
and this is what they look like when they're finally cut.
See that? You can see the layers, each layer, and then you can see the layer of jam in between
each one and then of course you've got your layer of chocolate. If you've never had these
before, they are positively to die for, they're so interesting, they are so good, they make
my mouth water, I need to have one right now.
It's like, I can't describe it, the almond, the jam, the chocolate, everything together
makes for an amazing, amazing cookie.
If you've never had one before, you absolutely must make these. Look how cute they are, first
of all. And if you really want to be creative, dye the layers the colors of the flag where
you're from. No one's going to tell you you can't and then you can make them not Italian
rainbow cookies, you can make them Mexican rainbow cookies, or Irish rainbow cookies,
it's up to you, really!
Represent your homeland, go to LauraintheKitchen.com to get the written recipe, these are so - you
don't even know my obsession with these, it's gonna be bad once that camera is off because
I'm going to go downtown, to cookie town, if that makes any sense.
LauraintheKitchen.com has the recipe waiting for you, I hope you've enjoyed spending time
with me and I'll see you next time. Bye!