snowy mountain

Tricolors: Italian Rainbow Cookies

Who likes rainbows? Sometimes I wish I could just make one… and then realize I can! Sometimes also called “Neapolitan cookies,” these are beautiful cookies enriched with almond paste and jam. It might seem a daunting endeavor to make them, but aren’t we all looking for adventures? Fair warning, this recipe requires overnight refrigeration. Also, I got this recipe from my mom, who got it from her Sicilian grandmother.

Looking for more Italian holiday treats? Check out the Soft Biscotti, Grandma’s Biscotti, and Chocolate Sambuca Cookies recipes!

Total time (including baking): 2 hours (then 4 hours to overnight refrigeration). Makes about 30 diamond-shaped cookies.

Materials: Mixing bowls; measuring vessels; beaters; high-edged ~12x9x2″ baking pan. Missing materials or ingredients? Look here.

Ingredients (Substitutions):


  • 7 oz almond paste
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 200 grams (~1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 260 grams (~2 cups) all purpose flour
  • ~20 drops red food coloring
  • ~15 drops yellow food coloring
  • ~12 drops green food coloring


  • ¼ cup raspberry jam
  • ¼ cup apricot jam
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Butter the pan well (if you have 3 pans, feel free to butter all of them, but if you have one you’ll use it 3 times)
  2. In a mixing bowl, break apart 7 oz almond paste into very small pieces and beat with 2 sticks butter, 200 grams sugar, and 4 yolks for ~15 minutes. It’s ok if there are still some almond paste lumps. With wooden spoon or low speed mixer, add 260 grams flour until well combined.
  3. In another bowl, whip 4 egg whites to soft peaks.
  4. Fold egg whites into almond mixture until blended.
  5. Separate batter into three ~370-gram or ~1 ½-cup portions. To one portion, add red food coloring, to another add yellow, and to the last add green.
  6. Spread one portion in the pan (if you’re using a large cookie sheet, it will take up about ⅔ of the pan, depending on how thick you like your layers) and bake 8-10 minutes at 350˚F. Make sure not to overcook! Remove the pan from the oven when the edges are just slightly browned. Immediately flip onto a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining portions.
  7. Spread raspberry jam on the green layer and apricot jam on the yellow layer. Transfer red layer onto a baking sheet. Place the yellow layer onto the red one, and the green onto the yellow one. Cover with plastic wrap, put a weight on top (to help the layers meld together, I use books), and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  8. Melt 4 oz chocolate in the microwave (or on the stove). Spread as icing. Allow to cool (it should be quick because the cookies were already cold), then cut the large rectangle into diamonds.

Greetings from our kitchen!

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