The best italian ribbon cookies recipe delishably electricity video ks2

Italian ribbon cookies, rainbow cookies, Venetians, Neapolitan slices… whatever you call them, these delicious holiday treats are impressive and taste fabulous! Imagine three thin layers of moist, rich almond cake tinted the colors of the Italian flag, stacked with a jam filling, and coated in semisweet chocolate. You’ve probably seen them in fancy bakeries, where they cost a pretty penny and fly off the shelves as soon as they’re put out. They’re especially popular around Christmas because of the festive colors. This recipe has been a traditional part of my family’s Christmas cookie assortment for more than 40 years, along with my Grandmother’s amazing rugelach cookies.

This recipe originally came from Party Cookies Only, a little known but wonderful cookbook published in 1972 to benefit a nonprofit environmental group called GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution), thanks to the sponsorship of the H. J. Heinz Company. It was written by GASP member Jeannette Widom, who was an Allegheny County Fair Champion in Baking for many years. I have made most of the cookie recipes and they’re all superb, but the Neapolitan Slices recipe is my favorite. It’s also the recipe most often requested by the recipients of my homemade assorted holiday cookies.

I highly recommend using gel or paste food color to tint the batter for these cookies (and any other baking recipes). For many years, I used the same grocery store liquid food coloring my mother and grandmother had used. It wasn’t until my sister, a talented home baker, told me about the advantages of the gel paste type that I finally tried it. What a difference!

The color of tinted batter or frosting is far superior to what liquid food coloring produces. You need only a tiny amount (I usually just dip the tip of a toothpick into the gel paste to pick up the right amount of color) compared to the amount of liquid food coloring needed to create the same shade. That means you can you get a very bright or dark shade without thinning out your batter or frosting, as would happen with with liquid coloring. It also means that even a small bottle lasts for a very long time. I particularly like Americolor gel paste food color because, unlike some other brands, it doesn’t affect the taste of the finished cookies, cakes, icing, etc.

• In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage, i.e., soft peaks form when the beaters are raised slowly. This can be done with the same electric mixer you used for the almond paste mixture if you have an extra mixing bowl for it (just wash and dry the beaters well), or you can use an electric hand mixer or whisk and a medium size mixing bowl. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly blended.

• Remove one-third of the batter (approximately 1 1/2 cups), put it in a medium bowl and blend in red food coloring a very small amount at a time to tint the batter a pretty shade of pink. (I prefer a fairly pale pink, but you can tint it whatever shade of pink you prefer.) Scrape the pink tinted batter into one of the prepared pans and spread it evenly all the way to the corners. Repeat with another third of the batter, tinting this portion an attractive green shade and spreading it evenly in another of the prepared pan. Leave the remaining third of the batter untinted and spread it evenly in the third pan.

• Bake the layers just until the edges are golden brown (approximately 10-12 minutes). Do not overbake – the cake layers will be dry! Invert the layers on large wire racks. Lift off each pan, carefully peel off the parchment, and turn the cake layer right side up to cool on another rack. (This is why you need four cooling racks for 3 cake layers.)

• When the cake layers have cooled completely, place the green cake layer on the cutting board and spread the top with half the seedless raspberry jam. (I like to warm the jam slightly in a small saucepan and stir it to thin it out a bit; I find that it makes spreading the jam easier.) Stack the untinted cake layer on top, spread it with the remaining jam and top the stack with the pink cake layer.

• Cover the cake layers with plastic wrap and weight them down with a large, heavy cutting board (I’ve also used a large, flat pan topped with some books or cans of food spread out evenly over the surface of the pan).Refrigerate the weighted, plastic wrapped cake overnight.

• The next day, prepare the chocolate coating by melting the chocolate bits and shortening in the top of a small double boiler (or in a bowl set on top of a saucepan half-filled with hot water; the water should NOT touch the bottom of the mixing bowl). Stir the coating until very smooth. I’ve also made the coating successfully by microwaving the chocolate bits and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power for 90 seconds, stirring well, and then heating at 50% for another 30 seconds and stirring well again, and repeating as needed just until the chocolate is fully melted. Don’t be tempted to rush the process or you risk scorching the chocolate and having to start from scratch with more chocolate and shortening.

• Place two cooling racks over sheets of wax paper. Use a long, thin, sharp knife to cut the cake into four equal strips (roughly 2 1/4" x 13" each). Place two cake strips on each cooling rack, spacing them well apart. Using a large offset spatula (the type used for frosting cakes), coat the top and sides of each strip with the chocolate coating. (If you prefer, you can coat just the tops of the cake strips; both are traditional.) Allow the chocolate coating to dry completely.

• Lift the layered cake strips onto the cutting board and cut each strip into 1/2" slices with a thin, sharp knife. Place the cookies in a plastic food storage container (I use a freezer storage container, which tends to be sturdier and more air-tight) in single layers, separated by cut-to-fit sheets of wax paper) and allow them to sit at room temperature for at least one day before serving. I like to freeze some so I have a delicious sweet treat to serve unexpected guests during the holidays. The cookies defrost quickly.