Italian Rainbow Cookies

I know these delicious treats are called cookies, but technically they’re little cakes.  Either way, they’re so tasty, and my all-time favorite Christmas cookie!

I used cherry and apricot jam between the layers, but you can use whatever flavor you like.

This is the same recipe I use to make petit fours. 

The cake layers can be colored any color you like, but I especially like red, white and green for Christmas (and they are also the colors of the Italian flag).

I have a niece who lives in Italy, and I would like to think she would be pleased with these Italian rainbow cookies:).


  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • One 8-ounce can almond paste
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened and divided (339 grams)
  • 4 eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature (61 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (279 grams)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • red food coloring
  • green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (60 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cherry jam (60 grams)
  • 6 oz. chocolate, melted


    Preheat the oven to 325° and grease three 9-by-13-inch quarter sheet pans with cooking spray, then line each with parchment paper.

    In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, almond paste and 1 stick of butter. Mix on medium/high speed until smooth and lump free (about 5 minutes), being sure to break down the almond paste as best you can.

    Add the remaining 2 sticks of butter and continue to mix until smooth (2 minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

    Gradually add the egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix until combined.

Add the milk and mix until fully incorporated.  Add the flour and salt and slowly mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the flour is mixed in, set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form stiff, fluffy peaks.  Fold the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture to form a smooth batter.

Divide the batter evenly among 3 bowls (approximately 430 grams of batter per bowl). Stir enough red food coloring into 1 bowl to make a deep salmon color. Stir enough green food coloring into another bowl to make a medium green color. Leave the third bowl uncolored.

Evenly spread the batter into the greased and parchment lined quarter sheet pans. Bake, until set, 15 to 18 minutes.  Let them cool completely in the pans (about 1/2 hour).

Line a quarter sheet cake pan with plastic wrap, allowing enough on the sides to wrap up around the layers when you finish putting the filling (s) between the cakes.

Put the red layer bottom side up in the lined 1/4 sheet pan.  Spread 1/4 cup of apricot jam evenly over the red cake layer all the way to the edges.

Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto the red layer.  Peel off the parchment.

Spread 1/4 cup of cherry jam evenly on the plain layer (spreading to the edges).

Top the plain layer with the green layer.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with an empty 1/4 sheet pan.

Put a couple of heavy cans on top to weigh down the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto a cutting board.

Trim the sides with a knife to make straight edges.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave or set over a pan of simmering water; pour over the cake.  Smooth over the top with an offset spatula.

Cut into pieces.  Score the top crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) for up to 1 week.

I hope you make these delicious cookies, and if you do, please tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi.  I would love to hear from you and see your photos!

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