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 .
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
- 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.
- Add the butter, shortening, salt and remaining egg and beat until soft and light in color, 7-8 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.