Fire up your ovens again, we’re baking up some classic Italian-style cookies next. These can be customized to whatever color suits your fancy, as long as you don’t try to color the chocolate layer. Posting date is September 22!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces almond paste (recipe follows)
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 3⁄4 cup (11⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Orange food coloring (liquid or gel)
- 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 2⁄3 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
- 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch square baking pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess flour.
- Sift the flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste, sugar, and almond extract together until small crumbs form. Add the butter and beat on high speed until the mixture is combined. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the orange zest and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in three parts, beating on low speed after each additon until combined.
- Divide the batter among three small mixing bowls.
- In the first bowl, add a few drops of orange food coloring to the batter, and mix well. Continue to add a few drops of food coloring and mixing until the batter is medium orange in color.
- In the second bowl, add the cocoa powder to the batter and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Leave the third bowl plain.
- Pour each batter into a prepared pan and smooth the tops. Bake the layers for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean.
- Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, stir the jam and amaretto until warmed through and completely blended, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place the chocolate layer on a serving rack and evenly spread half of the apricot jam over the top. Top with the plain (or white) layer and spread with the remaining apricot filling. Top with the orange layer and let the layers sit in the refrigerator for 5 minutes (or while you make the chocolate glaze).
- In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly.
- Spread the glaze over the top of the bar cookies, completely covering the orange layer (some glaze may spill down the sides of the cake). Place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolate topping completely sets (about 1 hour). Remove the tray from the refrigerator, wait 30 minutes for the chocolate to warm up, and cut into 20 individual squares or use a small cookie cutter to create your own shapes.
How to make almond paste:
11⁄2 cups finely ground almonds
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1⁄2 teaspoon pure almond extract
Put all the ingredients in a food processor with 2 tablespoons water and process until a paste forms. Remove from the food processor, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use. Extra almond paste, tightly wrapped, keeps well in the freezer.