In our home, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without these pretty little layer cookies. My grandmother has made them every Christmas since I can remember, and also on special occasions every so often. I always called them Layer cookies growing up, but they can be called Seven Layer Cookies, Venetian Cookies or Rainbow Cookies. They have great almond flavor and the dark chocolate adds a really nice contrast to the sweet jam filled cookie layers.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Prep
You will Need:
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 (8-oz) can almond paste
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
25 drops red food coloring
25 drops green food coloring
6 drops yellow food coloring
6-oz apricot preserves, heated and strained
6-oz black raspberry preserves, heated and strained
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
Put oven rack in middle position and pre-heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and line bottom with wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 ends, then butter paper.
Step 2: Beat Egg Whites
Beat whites in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks. Transfer to another bowl and set aside
Step 3: Mix Almond Paste and Sugar
Switch to paddle attachment for mixer, then beat together almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes.
Step 4: Add Butter
Add half the butter and mix well to remove any almond paste lumps. Add remaining butter, and beat about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
Step 5: Add Egg Yolks
Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes.
Step 6: Add Dry Ingredients
Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
Step 7: Fold In Egg Whites, First Addition
Fold half of egg white mixture into almond mixture to lighten.
Step 8: Fold In Egg Whites, Second addition
Then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Step 9: Divide Batter for Layers
Divide batter among 3 bowls; I like to use a scale for this to make sure the layers are nice and even.