Italian Rainbow Cookies – Twiins Style

Italian Rainbow Cookies - Twiins Style

  • Servings: 8 doz
  • Difficulty: Medium

It's our favorite time of year again as we start our holiday baking together. It doesn't matter if the holiday is Thanksgiving or Christmas, we have been baking together for over 40 years, a holiday tradition we love. Christmas music is playing in the background while we reminisce about our childhood & Christmas's of long ago. One of our family's favorite holiday cookie is the Italian Rainbow cookie that you see in every Italian bakery all year round. We also make this recipe Gluten-Free by substituting Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour for the all-purpose flour! They are the first to disappear from the holiday cookie tray...you, your family & friends will love them. ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 jar apricot preserves (12-16 ounces)
  • 1  12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  12-ounce can of Solo almond paste
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (for a gluten-free substitute use Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Food Coloring, red & green (if you want a more yellow layer, add yellow coloring to the 3rd bowl)
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, separate yolks and whites
  • chocolate sprinkles (optional)
  • 3  9×12 baking pans

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease all three baking pans heavily with butter then line each pan with parchment paper or wax paper, leaving enough overhang to lift and slide out of the pan after baking.  Grease heavily again.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, break up the almond paste, butter, sugar, almond extract, sugar, and egg yolks. Beat until light & fluffy, about 10 minutes on a medium speed stand mixer.
  4. Beat in flour & salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. With a wooden spoon, fold in egg whites to the almond mixture until you no longer see the whites.
  6. Divide the mixture equally into 3 bowls. (To be accurate, weigh each mixture on a digital scale)
  7. Add food coloring to each bowl, leaving the 3rd bowl plain, or add yellow coloring if you prefer a more yellow layer. Mix color in well.
  8. Spoon each color into separate prepared baking sheets. Spread evenly then bake at 350º pre-heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not let the edges brown.
  9. Layers are done when you can gently touch the center and it bounces back. Remove from oven and place on cake racks for 5 minutes to cool.
  10. Holding the overhang ends of the parchment paper, carefully lift and slide the layer, supporting underneath, onto a flat surface (countertop).
  11. Cool completely.
  12. Use a large cookie sheet and invert the first layer (red) onto the cookie sheet. Carefully remove parchment paper.
  13. Heat the preserves until it bubbles. Using a fork mix well to loosen some of the chunks. Remove from heat and using a spatula, spread enough preserve to evenly cover the entire layer. Don’t worry if it drips down the sides.
  14. Repeat for the middle layer (plain or yellow).
  15. After inverting the last layer (green, do not spread with preserves). Cover with parchment paper and place a baking sheet on top. Weigh it down with some heavy books or cans for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.
  16. Remove from the refrigerator when ready to add the chocolate layer.
  17. Trim all edges to be uniformed with a very sharp knife. (Don’t throw out the trimming…they are great to taste).
  18. Melt chocolate in the microwave* a little at a time until melted through.
  19. Spread melted chocolate over the top layer and down the sides. Add optional chocolate sprinkles while chocolate is still warm.  Refrigerate uncovered for at least one hour then cut into 6 or 7 even rows & bite-size pieces of your choice when ready to serve.
  20. Line an airtight container with parchment or wax paper and store layers in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Should last about 10 days if kept in the refrigerator.

Note:  It has been our experience that Nestlé’s chocolate chips will seize if melted using the double boiler method.  Nestlé’s appears to have changed their formula as we used to use the double boiler method up until last year. We recommend using the microwave for best results.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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Pignoli Cookies – Twiins Style

Pignoli Cookies - Twiins Style

  • Difficulty: Easy

Every year we start our holiday baking about 2 weeks before Christmas. We have been baking together for over 40 years, a holiday tradition we love. Christmas music is playing in the background while we reminisce about our childhood & Christmas's of long ago. Our all-time favorite holiday cookie is the fragrant, chewy almond Pignoli cookie. Pignolias (aka pine nuts) are from the Italian Stone Pine trees of the Meditteranean regions of Spain, Portugal & Italy. The Asian pignolias from China are not as flavorful as the Meditteranean pignolias so we avoid using them. You can tell they are from China by their much cheaper price tag. Our pignoli cookies taste just like the ones from the best Italian bakeries in New York. Really they do, and our recipe is naturally Gluten-Free! They fly off the holiday cookie tray...you and your family will love them. ❤️❤️

Ingredients

  • 1 (8oz) box or can of Solo Almond Paste (do not use almond filling)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup  Mediterranean Pignolias
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar for light dusting

Directions

  1. Using a Convection oven, preheat oven to 275ºF. (If using a regular oven increase temperature to 300ºF.)
  2. Line 2 large cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silicone pad or grease 2 large cookie sheets if parchment paper or silicone pad isn’t an option.
  3. Sift granulated sugar and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with almond flour and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using a fork, break up the almond paste into small pieces in a medium bowl. Add egg whites and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, until well blended and smooth.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until well blended.
  6. Place dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. (You can also use a rounded teaspoon full of dough 1½-inches in diameter. Place 2-inches apart on large cookie sheet.
  7. Generously press the pignoli nuts all around & on top of the dough making sure to keep the dough rounded, do not flatten.
  8. Bake slowly for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven, until the bottoms are golden. The edges of the cookies should be golden but the tops will be lighter.
  9. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the baking sheet.
  10. When cooled, lightly dust with confectioners’ sugar or leave plain. Either way, they are delicious.
  11. Store several days in a tightly covered container to mellow. These will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored properly.

Notes: Variations

1. Press half a candied cherry or maraschino cherry in the center of each cookie.

2. Using your thumb or index finger coated in confectioner’s sugar,  make a thumbprint in the center and fill it with a small amount of raspberry preserves.

3. Roasted, salted pistachios can be used in place of pignolias.   Bake as above.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twiinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.

 

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