Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Christmas Black Hole

With the holidays falling at the start of next week, I had to get a head start on baking this weekend so I could bring some sweet treats to work! I made the mistake of taking a trip to the Christmas Tree Store, leading to the demise of my bank account and all self control.  I am absolutely OBSESSED. If you have plans for the rest of the day you might as well cancel them, because  you will literally be sucked in and trapped for hours.  No joke. In fact that was probably the last time my mom will agree to take that trip with me.

So after I was done filling the cart with cute wine glasses, standing elves, ribbon, candy bowls, and absolutely ADORABLE reindeer bottle holders to give as gifts {all of which I definitely needed}...

I proceeded to the real reason I took a quick stop in.  I wanted cute boxes to bring cookies to my bosses and coworkers for the holidays, and I managed to find this cute set in all sizes!

Now as for the cookie selection- I decided to keep it pretty simple with your classic chocolate chunk, sugar cookies, oatmeal raison, maybe throw in a few chocolate covered Oreos to spice it up.  But I also wanted something a little extra to put in there, something different.  And then it hit me.

If I were to ask my brother what to bake for Christmas the answer would require no thought. Rainbow Cookies. In fact I think all of my cousins would answer the same way.  I'm not sure if they were brainwashed from childhood visits to my grandmothers or all have this innate passionate love for these colorful chocolate-covered almondy squares, but regardless they are a classic hit in my family.

These are the one thing I have to wait to make until Christmas morning or they won't make it to see the dessert table.  The kid could eat a while batch in one sitting if I wasn't there to slap his hand away {at least it's safe to assume I have his approval}.  These cookies are much easier to make than expected, and they're sure to be gone in under 5 minutes.  I think this year I'll have to double or triple the batch.

Italian Tri- Color Cookies
7 oz almond paste
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
green food coloring
red food coloring
apricot preserves
1/3 cup chocolate chips {more or less depending on your preference}
1 tsp shortening or vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch square pans with parchment paper {or wax paper greased and coated with flour}.

Beat almond paste, sugar, almond extract and butter together in a large bowl until well blended, about two minutes.  On medium speed, beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Reduce the speed to low and add flour and salt. Mix until well combined.

Evenly divide the batter among 3 bowls {shown above}.  Mix the red and green food coloring into two of the bowls, leaving the third its original color. Spread the batter into the lined pans and bake for 10-12 minutes or until thoroughly cooked {they're thin so keep an eye on them!}.

Let stand until cool. Starting with the green layer, spread a layer of apricot preserves on top, then stack the yellow layer and repeat with the apricot preserves. Lastly place the final red layer on top and press down gently.

Melt chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Spread an even layer on top of the cookies. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until chocolate is hard before cutting into desired bite sized squares.


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