This is a trial and error posting – one where I thought I’d share where I had issues, or where I couldn’t figure out why my results didn’t seem to match the recipe. Probably some of you out there have made these before and might able to tell me where I went wrong!
You know how sometimes you look at some new baked good you haven’t baked before and think it looks easy, only to find out it’s not, or that it looks hard, only to find out that it’s much easier than you expected? Well, the former is what I thought about Italian rainbow cookies before I tried making them!
Ultimately, they tasted fine – almond, apricot from the jam, and a bit of white chocolate on the top. I just wish I could have gotten certain things to turn out a bit more consistently.
I know these are typically done in green, white and red, but I wanted to do something more in line with the colors of spring. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my flower garden of late and I thought adorning my version of these cake-like cookies with an edible viola flower would be a great way to herald in the season for an afternoon spring tea.
There are quite a few recipes for these cookies out there; I settled on one on the Food Network site, but even the Food Network site has multiple different recipes for this cookie from different chefs.
So I won’t repeat the recipe in this posting – the link is here; the only things I changed were the color of the food coloring, and that I topped them with a little melted white chocolate and an edible flower instead of dark chocolate.
Down to the issues I experienced:
- Firstly, integrating the almond paste – I used my fingers to break the paste into little pieces before using my mixer to integrate it with the sugar as instructed. But even then I ended up getting out my pastry cutter to work the almond paste into small enough pieces so there wouldn’t be great lumps of paste in any one cookie layer. I’m not sure how long it normally takes for the mixer to break down the paste, but it didn’t seem to do it for me on its own.
- I also found getting the batter light and fluffy to be a real challenge. The mixture before adding in the egg white was really firm, but even after folding in the egg whites, it seemed still quite firm to me. By the time the egg whites are mixed in, and then you add the food coloring and get the food coloring really mixed in well, it’s hard to believe the egg whites still retain any of their ability to make the batter “fluffy”.
- When I went to spread the three batches into my half-jelly roll sheets, I had the dickens of a time spreading them out with an offset spatula. Every recipe I’ve seen so far says to use butter-flour-parchment to prepare the pan, but for me the parchment kept slipping and sliding all around. It’s clear from my photos that I could NOT get the layers to be even. It would have been easier without the parchment paper; maybe next time I’ll try it that way.
- I feel like my last issue – which is probably really a result of the previous three – is that I didn’t get much of a rise; all three layers are pretty dense. Maybe that’s the way they’re supposed to be, I’m not entirely sure. They’re called cookies, but they seem more like halfway between a cookie and a cake, to me. At any rate, mine were baked all the way through, though I baked them a few minutes longer than the recipe that I used called for. But they were no longer wet, were firm without being overly browned. So from that perspective, I think I got the timing right.
In spite of the shortcomings of this attempt, I did like the way they turned out for the most part. I thought the coloring a bit like Easter egg coloring, so perfect for a festive afternoon tea.