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Patty adores baking and in her Christmas in New York novella, Goodness and Light, main character Elena bakes a family favorite, Italian Rainbow Cookies.
Like colored Italian glass, these tiny cookies boast layers of green, yellow and red. A mistake in this recipe improved it, according to all members of Patty’s family. She bakes several batches of these cookies each year and her mother, who gave her the recipe, kept complaining that Patty’s tasted better than hers. That’s when Patty discovered her error: she substituted Almond Filling!
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes; makes about 6 dozen.
- Hand or stand mixer
- 3 bowls
- Egg separator
- Waxed paper
- 3 13 x 9 x 2 pans
- 4 large or medium eggs, separated
- 1 can of Solo Almond Filling (Note: Other recipes call for Almond Paste, but the secret to success is using almond FILLING.)
- 1 1⁄2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, softened in microwave
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- Green and red food coloring
- 1 jar of apricot or raspberry preserves
- 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (either squares or chips) for glaze, or use preserves
- 1 ounce of cream or Crisco to soften the chocolate
- Grease three 13 x 9 x 2 inch pans; line each pan with wax paper and then grease the paper.
- Hint: Let wax paper over-hang short edges of pan to use as ‘handles’ when removing baked layers. Set out three sheets of wax paper on heat-proof surface to receive baked layers when removed from pans.
- Beat egg whites with electric mixer in small bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Break up almond filling with a fork. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks. Beat with electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Beat in flour a little at a time and salt until blended.
- Fold beaten egg whites into mixture with wire whip.
- It helps to tint one batch at a time. Remove about a cup and a half of batter; spread evenly into one of prepared pans. This will be your yellow layer. Use a spoon to force batter to coat bottom of pan and reach the edges. If you find there just isn’t enough, remove a scant spoonful at a time from the bowl and add to the pan until the pan is covered. Use another bowl to divide the remaining batter in half; tint one half green and LEAVE THE REMAINING HALF YELLOW UNTIL NEXT STEP. Spread the green batter in the second prepared pan. You may add a spoonful of untinted batter, mixing carefully in the pan, until the pan is completely covered. Finally, tint the remaining batter red; spread into last prepared pan.
- Bake in moderate oven (350o) about 15 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Center should not be sticky or shiny. Note: layers will be very thin; less than a quarter inch.
- Immediately upon removing pans from oven, invert each layer onto the waxed paper you laid out in Step 1. Peel off the baking liner paper carefully, trying not to tear layers. Cool completely.
- Heat preserves; strain. Use the waxed paper to carefully lift the green layer onto a jelly roll pan or other flat pan that will fit into a refrigerator. Spread a thin layer of preserves onto green layer; spread to all edges. You may remove any remaining lumps, if desired.
- Use the waxed paper to carefully lift, align and flip yellow layer on top of preserves-topped green layer. If you do not align edges properly, CAREFULLY try to slide layer into place without tearing. Spread another layer of preserves on top of the yellow layer; spread to all edges.
- Use the waxed paper to carefully lift, align and flip the red layer on top of the yellow layer.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap; weight with large book (phone book or textbook) and refrigerate over night to encourage the layers to adhere.
- Next day: Melt chocolate in microwave until smooth. Add cream or Crisco to keep the chocolate from re-hardening. Spread chocolate over top of assembled cake. Smooth to all edges. Let set in refrigerator, about 30 minutes. Optional: Top with ice cream sprinkles or nuts.
- Trim the rough edges from cake and discard. Cut trimmed cake into 1 x 1 inch squares with a very sharp, non-serrated knife. (Serrated knives ‘saw’ the cake, grinding the fragile layers.) It helps to cut a length off the cake and flip it on its side to slice into squares so the chocolate layer is not ruined.
From the kitchen of author Marion Lennox:
A mango trifle. The stuff of life.
Make this in a glass bowl ‘cos it looks really pretty. A BIG glass bowl.
- Sponge cake (pre-made or store bought)
- Orange juice or sherry
- Custard / custard powder
- Full cream milk
- Lemon or mango jelly
- Fresh mangoes
- Whipped cream
- Layer of sponge cake and lemon butter (or lemon curd)
The original recipe says Swiss Roll made with lemon butter, made the day before, but who has time to make a Swiss Roll? I’d eat it anyway, so I buy supermarket sponge.
- Slice one layer in half and and make a lemon butter sponge sandwich to line the bottom of the bowl. (If I’m only making a smallish trifle I make lamingtons with the leftovers or say Happy Christmas to my bird table.)
- Sprinkle cake with sherry or orange juice.
- Layer of custard. If you’re using custard powder (and I do) 500 ml full cream milk with extra dollop of cream :-) plus 1 tsp vanilla. I almost double the amount of custard powder the pkt says. Sometimes this makes it a bit thick, but you can always thin it down with a bit more milk before it cools. Cool the custard with a bit of clingwrap over the surface to stop skin forming. Don’t put onto cake until it’s cool.
- Layer of lemon jelly. Since I started making this, they’ve started selling mango jelly and I keep looking at it thinking it’d be more sensible, but lemon’s such a pretty colour and tastes yummy and I’m not game to mess with a whole trifle by experimenting. So it’s lemon until someone else tries the mango and tells me it’s better. Make a packet up, leave to cool until almost set – just quivery, then pour over custard. Leave to set fully.
- First Layer of mangoes – when I chop my mangoes, I reserve the good slices for top layer, odd bits for bottom layer and I get to chew the pips :-) The more decadent the occasion, the more mangoes.
- Thick layer of whipped cream, slightly sweetened, plus a bit of vanilla. I use thickened cream rather than pure cream ‘cos otherwise it just gets too rich.
- More mangoes, nicely sliced this time, to look pretty. Done.
- You can make this really big. It feeds a crowd, and I’ve caught grown men in my refrigerator at three in the morning having third helpings. Oh, and it keeps beautifully, it even gets better for making the day before if you can keep the aforementioned night feeders away from it.
So there you are. Happy Christmas to all!
With love from Marion
- 1 1/2 c white sugar
- 1 c butter or marg
- 2 eggs
- 1 c molasses
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp ground ginger
- 4 c flour
- 1 tsp ea: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, all spice
- Cream together:
1 1/2 c white sugar
1 c butter or marg
1 c molasses
- Sift together in a separate bowl:
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground ginger
4 c flour
1 tsp ea: nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, all spice
- Stir dry ingredients into wet
- Roll dough into balls 1 inch in diameter
- Dip top into white sugar
- Place on greased cookie sheet – Do Not Press
Bake at 350F for approx 15 mins
Tops crack when done
Cool on wire rack
In The Trouble with Christmas, Lily and Avery bake a huge batch of decorated Christmas cookies. Avery loves using sprinkles and shiny silver beads on her Christmas tree shaped cookies.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- Cookie Cutters: Holiday themed, of course! Lily and Avery love Christmas trees and candy canes
- Parchment paper
- Desired decorations: sprinkles, beads, icing, glaze (recipe included below)
- Stir together first 3 ingredients.
- Beat sugar and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture beating just until blended
- Divide dough into 4 equal portions; flatten each into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes
- Working with one disk at a time, place on a lightly floured surface; roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Chill another 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
- Decorate as desired!
Key Lime Glaze
(based on Southern Living magazine recipe)
Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp lime zest, 2 tbsp Key lime juice, 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt until smooth. Stir in up to 2 tsp water, 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency.