Italian Tri-Color Cookies (Rainbow Cookies)

Total Time
1hr 10mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 10 mins

When I lived in New York, I used to get this delicious tri-color cookie from the Italian Bakery every year for the holidays. Once I moved down south, I was no longer able to get them. I found this recipe in Good Housekeepings "100 best Italian Recipes". The directions seem long and scary, but these cookies are actually very easy to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and friends do.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 198.44 g almond paste
  • 177.44 ml sugar
  • 2.46 ml almond extract
  • 177.44 ml margarine or 177.44 ml butter, room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 236.59 ml all-purpose flour, Sifted
  • 1.23 ml salt
  • 0.97 ml green food coloring
  • 0.97 ml red food coloring
  • 158.51 ml apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
  • 85.04 g semisweet chocolate
  • 4.92 ml vegetable shortening (butter flavored Crisco preferably)


  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 3 8"x8" metal baking pans. After greasing, line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper, smoothing the paper down onto the pan. Grease the tops of the wax paper and then flour the pans. Put aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, Beat together on medium-high speed the Almond Paste, Sugar, Almond Extract and butter until well blended. (there might be some small lumps of Almond Paste remaining and that's fine.).
  4. Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.
  5. Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.
  6. Take two small bowls and add 1 rounded cup of batter into each bowl. (there should be another rounded cup of batter still in the original mixing bowl.).
  7. Add 15 drops of red food color to one bowl and 15 drops of green food color to the other. Stir each bowl until evenly blended with color.
  8. Spoon the untinted batter into one pan. With metal spatula spread batter evenly (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick). Repear with red batter in second pan and green batter in remaining pan.
  9. Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.
  10. Cool in pans on wire rack about 1/2 hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.
  11. Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.
  12. Lay a piece of wax paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.
  13. Take the green layer and flip over pan onto wax paper. Gently pull off the wax paper. Spread 1/3 cup of apricot preserves onto the green layer.
  14. Take the untinted layer and remove from pan. Place it onto the green layer with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and then remove the wax paper.
  15. Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.
  16. take the remaining red layer and remove from pan and place upon the white layer again with the wax paper side up. Press down gently and remove the wax paper.
  17. In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and butter flavored crisco over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.
  18. Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.
  19. refrigerate until chocolate is firm, at least 1 hour. (at this point, if you want, you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving).
  20. To serve, with a large sharp knife, trim about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cut the stacked layers into 6 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 pieces. You will get 36 square cookies from this.
  21. Place the cookies in a single layer in a waxed paper lined container. They can be refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to 3 months. These cookies must be kept in the fridge.
Most Helpful

{As you can guess, I wrote the previous review of these cookies (username FairyCakes) and I had to change my name because would not allow me to change my password. I had to make an entirely new account }
UPDATE on this recipe. I made these cookies again and I have some suggestions. I used a different type of almond paste (Odense brand) and these cookies came out inferior to the ones I made with Solo brand. The flavor was lacking in all areas especially in the almond flavor. The product was not old. In fact it expires two years from now. Also, Odense was too hard and even when I pulsed it in a blender, the cooked cookies revealed large chunks of paste. This was very disappointing. Please consider using Solo brand almond paste and using the entire 8 oz. even though this recipe calls for 7 oz. Also, I substituted cake flour and the cookies were almost doubled in height and much moister. A few people have commented that their cookies were sort of thin and they wish they were a little taller. Try this tip. It might work for you. Okay...that's all! Happy baking everyone. Have fun.

FairyCakes1 November 08, 2010

The cookies came out great my grandma would be so proud.

cuturen March 18, 2011

absolutely perfect! 100%..... mmmmmm

brinaboys November 14, 2010