A few substitutions to traditional rainbow cookies will have you ready for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day celebrations. These red white and blue rainbow cookies are layered with raspberry preserves and topped with white chocolate for a festive treat that will feed a crowd.
If you've been reading My Sequined Life for a little while, a) thank you! and b) you might have caught on that I have a thing for rainbow cookies.
They've been my hands-down favorite cookie for as long as I can remember. Something about their dense, spongy layers bursting with almond flavor, held together with raspberry preserves and covered in chocolate speaks to me big time.
When I was younger I'd request a rainbow cookie cake (a.k.a. one batch of rainbow cookies not cut into slices) for my birthdays, and would have an eagle eye for those precious rainbow cookies in an Italian bakery white-with-red-twine box of the BEST variety of cookies.
I will admit that rainbow cookies are not the quickest or easiest batch of cookies to make, but I find the end result worth the effort.
It also helps that a lot of the recipe time is inactive, and that each batch makes a ton of cookies. I seem to have fallen into the routine of making them for holidays (or, at least that's my excuse!), so I stick some in the freezer to nibble on in the months in between.
To date for the blog, I've made pastel Easter egg rainbow cookies, a Christmas-tree shaped rainbow cookie cake, and now these.
Just switching up the food coloring with red and blue sure is easy enough to amp up the festive factor, don't you think?
The procedure for these patriotic rainbow cookies is relatively straight-forward, though a little tedious.
You'll mix up the cookie batter and separate it into three bowls, two of which will be colored (with red and blue, respectively).
Each layer is baked and cooled, and then the real fun begins. Raspberry preserves are heated on the stove top and pressed through a strainer to remove the seeds. Alternatively I've seen these cookies made with apricot preserves, but I have a sweet spot for raspberry so that's what I used.
In all honesty I have skipped the straining step in the past and haven't found the seeds to be a problem at all. For this batch I strained, so you decide. Do whatever you're up to.
You'll invert the blue layer onto a baking sheet, and then spread half of the preserves over top. Next the white layer is inverted, then the remaining preserves, and then the red layer. After the cake spends some time in the refrigerator, I trimmed the sides into an even rectangle like this:
Then I hoovered the scraps. I'm surprised I didn't get those crumbs in the foreground. Then all that's left is to spread a layer of white chocolate over top and sprinkle with red sanding sugar or your preferred sprinkles, let harden, and then slice!
A slicing tip
Cutting from the chocolate layer down sometimes will cause the chocolate to break unevenly. Does it impact the taste? No! But if you're bordering on type-A you'll be a little annoyed the edges aren't straight.
To combat this, I flip the cookie slab over (so the blue layer is on the top) and slice that way, giving the knife a nice, firm push when it hits the white chocolate layer, which is right next to the cutting board. This should provide cleaner slices.
Whichever way you slice it (literally), these delicious and patriotic cookies will brighten up your Fourth of July or Memorial Day dessert table.
P.S. If you're reading this recipe, you may be a big fan of almond-flavored cookies like I am. If so, do check out my classic pignoli cookies, which also uses almond paste. They're much less complicated to make. 😉
- Almond paste can be found in the baking aisle of the grocery store, usually near the canned pie fillings (in my experience).
- Use almond paste here and not marzipan, which is sweetened.
Red White and Blue Rainbow Cookies
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 8-oz container almond paste
- 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Red and blue food coloring
- 1 cup raspberry preserves
- 8 oz white chocolate chips
- Red sanding sugar or other sprinkles for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 13" rectangular pan with butter or cooking spray, then press parchment paper to bottom of pan, leaving enough excess paper sticking up along the 9" sides so that you can lift out the cookie layer by them after baking. Grease top side of parchment paper, and set pan aside.
- Beat egg whites on medium-high speed using a mixer for several minutes until peaks form. Gradually add ¼ cup of the sugar to the egg whites until mixture holds stiff peaks, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, add almond paste and remaining ¾ cup sugar and mix on medium speed until almond paste is broken up and both ingredients are well combined. Add butter and mix for a few minutes until light and creamy.
- Pour in egg yolks and almond extract and mix for another few minutes. Lower mixer speed to low and add flour and salt. Beat until dry ingredients are just mixed in.
- Pour half of egg white mixture into butter mixture and fold in. Repeat with remaining half of egg white mixture.
- Separate dough into three equal sections and place each in a separate bowl. Add red coloring to one bowl, blue coloring to another, and leave one bowl as-is. Stir coloring into the batter in the two bowls.
- Spread dough from one of the bowls into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. The batter layer will be very thinly-spread. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until batter has just set and a toothpick comes out clean. Using excess parchment paper sticking out from beneath the cookie layer, lift layer out of pan and place on wire rack to cool.
- Press new parchment paper into pan and grease top, leaving excess on two sides as before. Bake next layer in the same manner as the first. Once done, repeat steps with the remaining layer.
- Heat the raspberry preserves in a small saucepan set over low heat until mixture is slightly heated throughout. You may strain preserves once heated if desired, but it's not mandatory
- Once cookies layers have cooled, invert the blue layer onto a sheet of parchment paper, and peel off parchment paper that used to be on the bottom of the layer. Spread half of raspberry preserves evenly over blue layer, then invert white layer on top.
- Peel parchment paper from the top side of the white layer and evenly spread second half of the raspberry preserves over it. Invert the red layer on top and peel off its parchment paper.
- Place a new layer of parchment paper over top of red layer, and wrap cookie layers with plastic wrap. Place a baking sheet on top of the cookie layers to weigh it down slightly and refrigerate at least four hours, or ideally overnight.
- Once the cookie layers have chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Trim the sides to form an even rectangular shape.
- Melt white chocolate using a double boiler or in twenty-second intervals in the microwave, stirring after each interval. Spread a thin layer on top of the cookie "plank". Sprinkle sanding sugar or other sprinkles/decorations on top of melted chocolate and place the pan back in the refrigerator until chocolate has set. Once chocolate has hardened, slice (see note) and serve.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Seven-Layer Cookies
Perfect for any patriotic holiday! Love it!
Thanks Nellie! I love switching up the colors of these rainbow cookies to be festive for holidays. 🙂
Love this!! If my family sees this, I will surely get not so subtle requests! : )
I've never eaten rainbow cookies before! How fun though! I love how colorful they are! I'm not great at making 4th of July desserts, so you will just have to send me a big pan of these 🙂
Kelly - Life Made Sweeter says
You make the prettiest rainbow cookies! I am still too scared to try making them because I have a feeling they won't turn out. Yours always look perfect 🙂 Love these beautiful red, white and blue ones! So fun and patriotic!
Of wow! All those layers look so pretty! What a festive treat. 🙂
Dear Alyssa, these cookies look so pretty and festive. I love your twist on the classic rainbow cookie. xo, Catherine
Catherine, that's sweet - thank you! Dressing rainbow cookies up for holidays is just a delicious excuse to get to eat them more often. 🙂
Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel says
Oooh I've never had this type of cookie before, but I LOVE the raspberry and almond combo! And these are so cute all dressed up for the holiday. 🙂
They're amazing Jess! I definitely took for granted how popular and all over the place they are in the NYC-area where I grew up. A batch of these isn't safe around me. 🙂
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely says
These are just too fun! Perfect for 4th of July : )
Whoa these are seriously gorgeous!! I feel like I HAVE to make these for the 4th of July...
Thanks Sues! I have to admit just about all of this batch is long gone...guess I have to make them again for the actual 4th!
Alyssa, these cookies are soooooo awesome! They look so perfect and who doesn't love colorful themed desserts? Love these!
Thanks Danielle! Really I'm just looking for ANY and all excuses to make rainbow cookies - they're my favorite! They make a ton of cookies though so they're a great one to make for a crowd.
Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says
These cookies are gorgeous! I love how fun and festive they are for the summer holidays!
Thanks so much Shelby! I'm all about a festive theme. 🙂
Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen says
These cookies are so fun and patriotic! I've never tried a rainbow cookie, but you make them sound delicious! I love that they are flavored with almond!
They're amazing Kristine! We had them all the time when I was growing up. Moving away from the NYC area now I realize they're not super popular everywhere! Thank goodness for recipes. 🙂
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says
Wow these cookies are gorgeous, Alyssa! I've never made a rainbow cookie before, but you are totally inspiring me to do so. I love the red white and blue cookies! And they look so delish, too!
Thanks Gayle! Ugh they are my faaaaavorite. I definitely took for granted how prevalent they were up in NJ where I'm from! Soooo good.
Rachelle Belloit says
I just finished the final stage of these cookies (put the white chocolate and red sprinkle sugar on top) and the cookies are back in the frig. My last step is to cut them. I am very nervous to invert the entire cake (white chocolate face down??) and then cut them that way? Won't it mess up the white chocolate topping???
Hi Rachelle, I'm sorry if this is too late! I've cut the cake in two pieces (with the white chocolate side up), and then inverted a smaller section at a time if all at once seems a little daunting. Once the chocolate has hardened completely, inverting the sections wasn't an issue (the chocolate didn't get smushed). You can also cut everything with the white chocolate side up, though the chocolate edges most likely won't be exactly even - the chocolate edges won't be perfectly straight. Still delicious though! 🙂