Hanukkah Rainbow Cookies

Hanukkah Rainbow Cookies

I made beautiful ombré holiday cookies a couple of years back, taking inspiration from Bon Appetit.  This year I made Hanukkah Rainbow Cookies!  And they are possibly the most beautiful cookies I’ve ever made, receiving lots of social media love.  So here is a lot of pictures of them and the recipe (adapted from this) I used with my notes. Now you go make them and let me know how it goes!

Materials/Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line three 8″ baking pans with parchment paper. I cut my parchment exactly 8″ wide so I wouldn’t have parchment crinkles invading the edges.  You want the parchment to overhang a set of opposite sides.  This will help you move layers easily.
  • If you get disposable foil pans for this, be mindful that most have weird perforations on the bottom.  Use them in a bind, but buy three 8″ pans for next time.
  • I used a kitchen scale to measure/divide the batter, because I have one and I like a reason to use it.

Batter:
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 plus 1/8 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp Salt
1 and 1/2 cups Sugar
2 oz. Almond Paste
1 and 1/4 cups Earth Balance
3/8 cup Silken Tofu
1 and 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons Almond Milk

1.) Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2.) With an hand mixer, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the almond paste*, silken tofu and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. [*: You need fresh almond paste, so check the expiration date. When you put the paste in, squeeze it between your fingers to help start breaking it down. My first batch I used old almond paste that never fully incorporated into the batter, despite my attacking it with the hand mixer. The cookies were still yummy, but I had some of these big marzipan bites that took away from the presentation. (Picture below)]

3.) Add the flour and milk to the batter, alternating between wet and dry. Let it beat a minute or so after all is incorporated.

4.) Next, divide the batter into three bowls. I used a kitchen scale to check weight after dividing it and was pretty darn accurate.  So a scale is not a must if you can eyeball it well.

5.) Use Wilton gel food coloring (Royal Blue) for vibrant coloring. Start with making the medium center layer with just a slither of gel coloring.  This way you have a baseline to double for the darker layer.  Well, probably triple to quadruple for a deep, dark Hanukkah blue.  One bowl will get no coloring.

6.) Transfer batter to waiting pans.  Batter is a bit thick, so use an offset spatula to smooth it in the pan evenly.  Be careful with the parchment shifting and getting on top of batter.  You may want to secure it before hand with a spritz of cooking spray.  I didn’t have any on hand, so I used a smear of Earth Balance.

7.) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let layers cool completely on a rack.

8.) Sieve some jam in a bowl.  Use whatever you got.  I used Bonne Maman Four Fruits, my fave. Spread evenly onto first layer uncolored layer, making sure you have still got that parchment underneath for easy handling later.  The original recipe calls for a 15 oz. jar, but I used less.  This is something you can tweak for your specific taste.

9.) Peel the light blue layer off the parchment and place it on top of the jellied first layer.  Then jelly that layer up and place the final dark blue layer on top. Put a sheet of parchment on top of the top layer and place an empty pan on top of that. Fill that pan with heavy stuff (I used some canned goods and a hardcover of Homer’s Odyssey. ) This goes in the fridge for pressing overnight. 

10.) Rise and shine, day two! Pull the parchment to move the pressed cookie layers to a cutting board.  Use a serrated knife to trim the uneven and not so pretty sides.  Give these long strips to whomever is near, maybe the same person who watched with anticipation as you toiled in the kitchen. They’ve earned it.

11.) Melt 1/2 pound of vegan chocolate chips with a double boiler on low heat.  Mix until smooth and delicious-looking.

12.) Use an offset spatula to smooth on top of the dark blue layer.  Smooth your desired thickness to the edges. Feel free to make fancy fork patterns on top if that is your thing. Let it dry a few minutes.

13.) So I mistakenly returned the chocolate-coated cookies to the fridge. When I pulled it out to cut into cookies, you can see how it impacted the chocolate edges’ texture.  Don’t do that.  Allow it to firm up, but cut it soon thereafter while it is still slightly tacky. First lengthwise, then cut each long strip into the size you want them to be. Clean your knife in between slices. Don’t get sloppy at this last step; you’ve put too much effort into this than to hastily slice them without wiping the knife each time.

Bask in their beauty.

Make yourself an army.

Pack some up to share.

Happy HanuKkah!