Momma Lew and her blogger buddies are having a Holiday Cookie Swap Party and you are all invited! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the cookies that each blogger has prepared for you!
from Lidia Bastianich
2 1/2 sticks butter, cut into pieces and softened, plus more for the pans
2 cups AP flour, plus more for the pans
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
red and green food coloring (gel preferred)
1 (15 ounce) jar smooth apricot jam
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Butter and flour three 9×12 jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets and line with parchment paper. Combine almond paste and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium until mixture is in fine crumbles.
Beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, until combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth. Sift 2 cups flour onto a sheet of parchment and sprinkle the salt on top. Add to mixer bowl and beat until just combined.
In another bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy, then while whisking slowly add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about 1/3 of egg white mixture into batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. Batter should be fluffy.
Divide batter evenly among 3 bowls. Stir enough red food coloring into one bowl to make a deep salmon color. Stir enough green food coloring into another bowl to make a medium green color. Leave third bowl uncolored.
Transfer batter to prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.
Spread half of the jam evenly over the green cake layer almost to edges. Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto another pan or cutting board, then peel off parchment. Slide the plain layer onto the green layer (use a wide offset spatula to help you if needed). Spread remaining jam on top of the plain layer.
Unmold the red cake layer and slide it onto the plain layer. Cover cake with plastic wrap and top with one of the empty pans; place several heavy cans on top to weigh down layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto cutting board. Remove parchment from the top of the green layer. Trim sides with a knife to make straight edges. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray, then set rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack.
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then pour over the cake. Dip an offset spatula in the hot water and smooth the top and sides. Let set slightly. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork. Let cool a few more minutes until the chocolate is mostly set but still slightly tacky (If the lines in the chocolate don’t hold their shape, let the chocolate set a little longer and try again)
Slide cake back onto cutting board. Slice crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
When you are finished enjoying your cookies, we have a great giveaway for you to enter! One lucky reader will win a prize of $100 PayPal Cash to help with your holiday shopping!