Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Venetian Rainbow Cookies

Another Italian tradition from my fiancé's family and a definite favorite of mine. My mother-in-law to be is pretty much the master of these little cookies and makes them every Christmas.

The cookies have been given many different names such as Venetians, Italian rainbow cookies, seven layer cookies, etc. I've always known them as Venetians.

There are three almond cake layers in the cookies, which are tri-colored: green, white and red to represent the Italian flag, although the red tends to be more pinkish. In between each layer is a spread of raspberry jam. Some recipes call for apricot jam, but I'm sticking with my mother-in-law's recipe as it never fails to amaze. The topping of chocolate really finishes these little cookies off beautifully and when they're all cut into little squares, you are left with the most perfect Christmas cookies. One bite of these and you will be hooked forever!

  • 1 can (8 ounces) Almond paste (I make my own, see recipe below)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks) softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 drops green food coloring
  • 8 drops red food coloring
  • 1 jar (12 ounces) red raspberry preserves (seedless)
  • 2 squares of semisweet chocolate or use semisweet chocolate chips
Almond Paste: 
(makes enough for 2 batches of cookies)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups blanched almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
To make the almond paste, grind the almonds until you have a fine almond flour, add all three ingredients to a blender and blend until combined well and smooth. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight tub.

Grease three 13/9/2 " pans and line with waxed paper and grease again.

In large bowl add the almond paste, butter, sugar, egg yolks, and almond extract.

Beat until fluffy with an electric mixer for 5 minutes.

Beat in the flour and salt.

Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form in a small bowl. 

Stir the egg whites into the almond mixture with a folding motion.

Remove 1-1/2 cups of batter and spread into the first prepared pan.

Remove another 1-1/2 cups of batter, add green food coloring and spread into the second pan.

Add red food coloring to the remainder of the batter and spread into the third pan.

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or just until edges are golden brown.

The cakes should be 1/4 inch thick.

Cool on wire racks.

Place the green layer on the back of a foil covered cookie sheet.

Heat the raspberry preserves (strain if there is seeds) and spread 1/2 of the warm preserves on the green layer.

Slide on the yellow layer and spread the reminder of the preserves on top.

Slide on the red layer and cover with plastic wrap.

Store in the fridge overnight with a weight on top. (such as a cutting board)

Melt the chocolate and spread a thin layer over the top.

Allow to dry for 30 minutes and then cut into 1" square pieces.


  1. these look so nice! An almond flavoured must be awesome!

  2. wow you must have made her very proud Merry Christmas

    Love Rebecca

  3. 3 layers of goodiness!! Your venetians look very pretty!

  4. That is the second time I see rainbow cookies today, they look sooo good!

  5. These rainbow cookies look stunning!
    Happy New Year!

  6. yum yum and yum! These look so good i'll have to try them!

  7. That's what I would call at technicolor cake. Lovely to gaze at.

  8. Can you please let me know how did you make the almond paste please. Thank you!

  9. See the recipe below the list of ingredients!

  10. Stunning, these look like a real labour of love. I bet they are wonderful.

  11. I lOVE these! It is so funny, my Italian friend just gave me her recipe and yours is very similar. Bravo! I hope we can swap cookies together sometime soon!

  12. So pretty! Love the layers! :)

  13. I love tradition & I love a 'connect' to food! Beautiful tri-coloured cookies! WOW!!

  14. Love the color! So Vibrant :)

  15. It makes me happy just to look at these rainbow cookies. I am sure they are delicious too. The colors are so vibrant!

  16. These are so beautiful! I want to make them, but I am afraid I will eat every last one. I adore almond flavored pastries!

  17. They look very pretty.Nice color combo.

  18. These are gorgeous! I've always wanted to try making these.

  19. BUT this one is my FAVORITE FAVORITE!!!! DOUBLE YUMMY!!!

  20. This is the second year I have made these wonderful cookies!
    You almost want to hide them for yourself!
    Any more Italian recipes ?
    Thank you so much.


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