Venetian Christmas Cookies

by Jeanne Benedict

Post image for Venetian Christmas Cookies

For the longest time growing up, I didn’t know what these cookies were called; I just knew that I adored them.  Traditional Venetians have brilliantly layered colors of red, yellow, and green. For the holidays, I decided to go with green and red layers to create exquisitely cute Christmas cookies!  There are a few steps involved in making Venetians, but their construction is relatively easy (just a bit time consuming), and absolutely worth it!

8 oz. almond paste ( 3/4 cup, packed )
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Red and green food coloring
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup White Chocolate Candy Melts

Preheat oven to 350F (175C).  Line a cookie sheet that has @1/2-inch high sides with wax paper. Grease paper heavily with butter.

Break up almond paste with a fork in a mixing bowl. Add butter to almond paste and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Separate egg yolks from whites.  Add egg yolks, sugar, almond extract and flour to mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.  Beat egg whites in another mixing bowl into stiff peaks and gently fold into mixture.

Divide dough in half. Tint half of dough green and the other half red using food coloring. Spread each color dough in the cookie sheet so the red dough fills one half of the pan and the green dough is in the other half of the pan. (The dough is stiff enough to where it shouldn’t run into the other during baking.) Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.

Microwave melt raspberry preserves in a small bowl for about 20 seconds; stir until smooth.

Gently place green layer right side up on top of a wax paper lined pan. Spread with a generous layer of preserves. Lay red layer right side up on top of preserves. Cover stacked layers entirely with plastic wrap and place a cutting board or heavy book on top. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Microwave melt white chocolate Candy Melts per package instructions. Stir until smooth.  Cool for 5 minutes.

Place chilled stacked layers on a new piece of wax paper and neatly trim off browned sides.  Spread a sheer layer of white chocolate over top surface of cookie rectangle.  Place another sheet of wax paper on top of chocolate and set a cookie sheet on top of paper. Using pan for support, flip rectangle over on to cookie sheet. Spread a sheer layer of white chocolate over new top surface. Allow chocolate to set.  Cut into 1 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch squares.  If chocolate cracks as you cut into cookies, dip knife in a bowl of warm water and then cut. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 24 cookies

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