Gluten-Free Rainbow Cookies

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This weekend I threw an intimate dinner party for one of my closest friend’s birthdays. Nicole and I have known each other for 17 years, through all stages of life, and I was thrilled to be able to celebrate her in the best way I know how: with food.

A few couples gathered around the candle-lit table, while I served up a spread of gluten-free appetizers and crunchy canapes (including TSJ’s sundried tomato white bean dip with GF chips, port wine cheddar and brie with GF crackers, pesto stuffed peppadews, roasted pepper spread on cucumber rounds and GF Italian meatballs), as well as my chicken marsala, roasted brussels sprouts, kale salad, roasted spiced chickpeas, and these rainbow cookies for dessert.

Similar to the Italian rainbow cookie cake I made for Hubby’s 30th, this is the actual bakery look a like, with one little secret: these particular chocolate glazed, three-layered, colorful beauties are gluten-free! Even more impressively, we could hardly tell the difference!

Oftentimes we imagine allergy friendly baked goods to fall somewhere between chalk and cardboard, so I was thrilled how quickly we all devoured them. The texture was right on–perhaps a touch denser–but in a really good, rich, go back for seconds kind of way.

As you know, one of my greatest joys in life is being able to do things for other people, so making Nicole smile with her favorite dessert meant a lot to me–Especially knowing tasty gluten-free treats are hard to come by!

Although time-consuming, it was certainly worth the effort to see how much the birthday girl (and everyone else!) enjoyed them.

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Ingredients
For Cookies and Filling
Recipe from glutenfreeonashoestring.com

8 oz. almond paste (Love ‘n’ Bake brand and Solo brand are both gluten free, or you can use this homemade marzipan), broken up with a fork

16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs at room temperature, beaten

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Red liquid food coloring (8 to 10 drops)

Green liquid food coloring (8 to 10 drops)

Note: I also used 8-10 drops yellow liquid food coloring

1/2 cup (160 g) seedless raspberry or strawberry jam (I used raspberry apricot preserves to mimic the real thing)

For Chocolate Topping

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I omitted the butter)

1/3 cup (2 2/3 fluid ounces) heavy cream

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Instructions for Cookie Dough
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 3 quarter sheet pans (each 9-inches x 12-inches) with unbleached parchment paper, and set them aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), cream the almond paste and butter until well-combined. There may be some remaining small clumps in the almond paste, which is fine.

Add the sugar and eggs, beating to combine well after each addition. The batter should be thick.

Add the flour, xanthan gum and kosher salt, and mix until the dough comes together and is smooth.

Divide the dough into three equal parts–I used a food scale for accuracy.

Add the green food coloring to one part, and mix to combine.

Add the red food coloring to another part, and mix to combine.

If using, add the yellow food coloring to the last part, and mix to combine.

Divide the 3 parts of dough among the three prepared pans. Stretch and press the dough into an even layer in each pan, using wet fingers and a wet spatula. The dough will be sticky.

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Instructions for Baking/Assembling the Layers
Place each pan, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the dough just begins to brown around the edges.
Allow the layers to cool slightly in the pans. Carefully place the green layer on a piece of parchment paper, spread evenly with one half of the jam.

Place the plain layer carefully on top, taking care not to handle the cakes too much or they may begin to crack.

Spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer, and top with the pink layer.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on top, and place a few books on top of the stack to compress the layers. Place the stack of cakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the layers have begun to flatten and compress.

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Instructions for Chocolate Topping
Once the cookies are chilled, place the chopped chocolate in a medium-size heat safe bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and butter (I omitted the butter) over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the cream is just beginning to simmer.

Pour the hot cream and butter mixture over the chocolate, mixing to combine. The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the chilled cookies, and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula or knife.

Chill once more in the refrigerator until the chocolate topping is set (about 20 minutes). Using a large serrated knife, trim all of the edges and then slice into about 21 even rectangles. Serve immediately or wrap tightly and store in the freezer until ready to serve. Eat and enjoy even if you aren’t eating gluten free!

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