When I was growing up, Christmas began right after Thanksgiving with the start of the cookie-baking marathon. These beautiful layered cookies, which are more cake than cookie, were - and still are - among my favorites. They need to chill in the refrigerator overnight and will take up some space there, so plan accordingly. Use seedless jam to prevent any surprises when you bite into these almond-flavored treats.
Makes 7 Dozen
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
20 drops red food coloring
12 drops green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup apricot preserves
6 ounces dark chocolate chips
Preheat the over to 350F. Coat three 13" x 9" x 2" jelly-roll pans with cooking spray. Line each pan with wax paper and coat the paper with cooking spray.
Place the almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer. Break it up into small pieces with a fork. Fir the mixer with the paddle attachment and add the butter and sugar to the bowl. Beat the mixture on high spec until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, add the egg yokes and beat until incorporated. Turn the mixer off and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Clean the mixer bowl thoroughly and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly blended.
Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the batter to a medium bowl, then transfer another 1 1/2 cups of batter to a second medium bowl. Add the red food coloring to one of the bowls and stir until the batter is tinted throughout. Add the green food coloring to the second bowl and stir until the batter is tinted throughout. Scrape each to the three batters into one of the prepared pans, using the spatula to spread the batter to the edges. Bake, rotating and switching the positions of the pans halfway through, until the edges are golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
Place the green layer on a large cutting board or a large inverted baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the top. Place the yellow layer on top and spread with the apricot preserves. If there are large chunks of apricot, remove and chop them to make them more spreadable. Top with the red layer. Cover with plastic wrap and place a heavy cutting board on top to weight it down. Refrigerate overnight.
Place the chocolate chip in a microwaveable bowl and melt in the microwave on low power about 2 minutes. Spread the chocolate on top of the cooled cake and let it dry slightly. Trim the rim of the cake with a serrated knife to make clean edges. Cut the cake crosswise into 12 1"-wide strips, then cut lengthwise into 1 1/4" strips. The cookies will keep, covered, up to 1 week.
- Courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli. From her cookbook "One Dish at a Time." Copyright 2012. Published by Rodale, Inc.
by Chef Mark Shoup