Italian Tri-Color Cookies (Rainbow Cookies)

"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."
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by Genius Kitchen photo by Genius Kitchen
photo by DMHilmoe02 photo by DMHilmoe02
photo by Liz718 photo by Liz718
Ready In:
1hr 10mins
36 cookies


  • 7 ounces almond paste
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 12 teaspoon almond extract
  • 34 cup margarine or 3/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, Sifted
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 15 drops green food coloring
  • 15 drops red food coloring
  • 23 cup apricot preserves (pressed into a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces of fruit)
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening (butter flavored Crisco preferably)


  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  • 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.
  • 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.).
  • Reduce speed to medium and beat in the eggs one at a time until blended.
  • Reduce speed to low and then add the flour and salt slowly to the mixture until combined.
  • 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.).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bake until set and toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out clean. 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool in pans on wire rack about 1/2 hour. Cake should be cool to the touch.
  • Run tip of knife around side of pans to loosen layers.
  • Lay a piece of wax paper on a flat surface that will be able to fit in refrigerator.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spread remaining 1/3 cup of Apricot preserves onto the untinted layer.
  • 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.
  • In a 1 quart saucepan, heat chocolate and butter flavored crisco over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.
  • Spread melted chocolate mixture on top of the red layer evenly. Do not put mixture on sides.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
  1. sharon.ziegler
    I know this is an odd question, but please let me know if the 7 ounces of almond paste is measured by weight or by volume. Thanks!
  2. Susan C.
    yes! We called them Ventians


  1. FairyCakes1
    {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 }<br/>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.
  2. cuturen
    The cookies came out great my grandma would be so proud.
  3. brinaboys
    absolutely perfect! 100%..... mmmmmm
  4. StoneColdStacey
    Made this as a surprise last Christmas for my family. It's not just Italian, but Greek as well. We grew up going to the local greek pastry shops to get these. When I came out with a plate of these, my whole family was in an uproar! They came out amazing! I only did a 3 layer, and have added this recipe to my favorites book. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!
  5. Judi R.
    In the picture you have 6 different colored layers(as in video) but the recipe only has 3? What gives? I want all the colored layers please. Judi


  1. Tiffany G.
    This recipe is the BEST. We are from Queens NY and relocated down south where there are NO Italian bakeries! I tried this one and subbed ap flour for swans cake flour and my goodness! My entire NY family ravs about these cookies! Even my nana who still lives in NY says mine are the best! Thanks for the recipe!
  2. StoneColdStacey
    Instead of buying almond paste, because of how expensive it is, I just made my own. Its shockingly easy. Lol
  3. cookiescakesconfect
    These cookies are absolutely delicious! Rainbow cookies are my mom's favorite cookie. When I made these for her she could not stop eating them and was so impressed on how good they came out! Instead of using apricot preserves i used raspberry jelly and they come out perfectly. We will never buy them from a store ever again! Thank you so much for posting this recipe.
  4. loxygirl
    I have made these many many times since finding your recipe and everyone just LOVES them!! I switch out the flour with a gluten free flour with no problems at all.I also just spray my pans with pam instead of using wax paper or parchment paper and again no problems there.That's just a step that can be eliminated.Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.My aunt use to make these when I was a child and I am sure she is proud that I now make them too :)


<img src=""> I'm a work from home mom of two, born and raised in NY now living in Chattanooga, TN. I love cooking and reading cookbooks, I'm always looking for new ideas! Being a true Italian, I have always loved making traditional dishes like Eggplant & Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana with a side of Spaghetti, Manicotti with homemade crepe's (none of those store bought shells for me), Pasta Fagioli and good old Tiramisu! My goal in life is to open a restaurant or catering business. I have been dabbing in catering friends parties now and then, but to do it full time would be my dream come true!
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