The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rainbow Cookies

Floydm's picture

Rainbow Cookies

Reprinted with permission from Stanley Ginsberg's and Norman Berg's Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking.

Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow Cookies

Makes 4-5 dozen

Volume Ingredient Ounces Grams Baker's Percentage
1 cup Almond paste, at room temp 8 227 100%
1 cup Egg, beaten 8 227 100%
½ cup Shortening 4 113 50%
½ cup Unsalted butter, at room temp 4 113 50%
1 tsp Table salt 0.25 7 3%
1¾ - 2 cups Cake flour, unsifted 8 227 100%
1½ tsp Vanilla extract 0.25 7 3%
1½ tsp Bitter almond oil or almond extract 0.25 7 3%
15-20 drops Red food coloring 0.001 0.1
15-20 drops Yellow food coloring 0.001 0.1
15-20 drops Green food coloring 0.001 0.1
¼ cup Apricot or raspberry jam, melted 2.8 79 350%

Simple Chocolate Icing

(Note: You can also use melted chocolate to cover)

Volume Ingredient Ounces Grams
2¼ cups Powdered sugar 10 284
¼ cup Water 2 57
½ tsp Light corn syrup or honey 0.13 4
½ tsp Vanilla extract 0.07 2
2 tbs Unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F/204° C with your baking surface in the middle. In a mixing bowl, mash the almond paste using a fork. Using the whisk at medium (KA 6) speed, blend the almond paste and ¼ cup/2oz/57g of the beaten egg until smooth and lump-free, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, shortening, salt and remaining egg and beat until soft and light in color, 7-8 minutes.
  3. Add the flour ½ cup at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Continue creaming until the batter is evenly mixed, with a very light texture.
  4. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions of about 10oz/284g each, and put each into a separate bowl. Add a different food coloring to each and whisk until thoroughly blended.
  5. Pour the contents of each bowl into three separate well-greased 8" x 8"/20cm x 20cm square cake pans and bake until a tester comes out dry, 10-12 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool thoroughly. (If necessary, you can bake the batters in several stages: simply remove the cake from the pan, rinse and dry, re-grease and bake the next color.)
  6. Melt the jam in the top of a double boiler or on very low heat to avoid burning. Brush as thin a layer of jam as possible on top of the green layer and immediately put the yellow layer on top. Repeat for the red layer, so that you end up with a multicolored block, with the jam as the glue.
  7. Wrap the block in plastic and return into one of the baking pans. Use a second pan on top to compress the layers. Add 2-3lb/1.5-2.0kg of weight and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  8. Make the simple icing by heating the water and corn syrup to boiling, then stirring in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until well blended and lump-free. Take off the heat and let cool: the icing will be at optimal spreading temperature when it feels neither hot nor cool on your lips.
  9. Remove the cookie block from the refrigerator and cut into four 8" x 2" x 2"/20cm x 5cm x 5cm bricks. Using a metal spatula, apply a thin coating of icing to the top and long sides of each brick in a single smooth stroke, if possible.
  10. Let cool until the icing has almost hardened and use a sharp knife to cut the bricks crosswise into ½"/1.25cm slices. These freeze very well.

Inside the Jewish Bakery will be released October 15th and can be purchased on the Inside The Jewish Bakery website, on or, or at your local bookseller.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I got purple plans for All Saint's Eve!   :)

- Mini o-lantern

Update: They, it, the block is chilling now. Because of my glutinous European flour I had to substitute 75g (one third) of my Austrian 480 flour for cornstarch. Then I reduced the salt to 2.5g or 1.1% for my low salt tastes. I used blackberry jelly for "glue." I freaked out every curious person who strolled thru the kitchen to check out the wonderful baking smells. "Looks poisonous!" or "Wow, that is green!" all made sense with a "It's for Halloween" explanation. Can't wait to cut the mass apart!

EvaB's picture

the cake I baked using orange koolaid for colouring the icing.

Sour cream chocolate cake, the orange koolaid icing was tart, and very stunning when people ate it. I can see why nice purple and green colours would be outstanding for this time of year!

EvaB's picture

good looking cookies!

@ Mini o lantern, I can't wait to see the purple ones!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fun for the weekend.  I did figure out how to frost the 4th side...  easy as scaring a black cat off a hot tin roof!

loydb's picture

With the proper 'medical' formulation, you could sell those by the millions in California... :) Those are gorgeous.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

This recipe is listed slightly different in the book (p.223) but the salt is still high at 4% (for my tastes) and for cookies which tend to have less salt than bread.  So why is it so high?  Is it to offset the eggs?  or is there a sweet/salt toungue tease going on?  Is that traditional?

I don't find the cookies too sweet as the only sugar is in the the almond paste and frosting.  A big plus in my book!