Italian Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow cookies. Seven-layer cookies. Venetian cookies. Whatever you call them, they are the red-yellow-green cake-like cookies you see in the Italian cookies. I’m actually not a big fan of Italian cookies. Although they make beautiful dessert centerpieces and are so pretty in the bakery display cases, I find most Italian bakery cookies on the dry and crumbly side. I prefer moist cakes or soft, chewy cookies for dessert. Maybe that’s why rainbow cookies are the exception. According to Serious Eats Guide to Italian Bakery cookies, rainbow cookies are three moist cake layers sandwiches between apricot or raspberry jam and coasted with dark chocolate. They’re moist but not too dense.


The cookies aren’t necessarily difficult to make – just time consuming, space hogging, and expensive. It requires almond paste which costs about $6-7 for a 7-ounce tube. They also take a lot of kitchen space and time since you are making 3 9×13 in layers, stacking them, and chilling them in the fridge for at least 8 hours.


This weekend, after a hot and sweaty long run with NRC, I set out to create these little beauties. I wish I had more time to take step-by-step photos but it’s hard when your hands are sticky and the kitchen is turning into a bit of a mess. I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe*, who provides lots of photos to reference.

While these cookies do take lots of time and pricey ingredients and would probably be easier to buy at the bakery, I enjoyed making them. One batch gives lots of pieces since you can cut them however big or small you want. I hope you can make this one of your weekend projects!

Butter – I decreased the amount of butter to 1 cup or 2 sticks
Sugar – I decreased the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup


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