Vegan Italian Rainbow Cookies

Francesca Bonadonna

Vegan Italian Rainbow Cookies

These classic Italian cookies, resembling the country’s flag, are a staple dessert delicately blending the flavors of almond, fruit, and chocolate. 

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Serves: 16
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Colorful layers of almond cake are sandwiched with sweet apricot preserves and a layer of decadent dark chocolate in this recipe from the Plantiful cookbook. Bake up a batch for a gift-ready baked treat for friends and family. 

What you need:

½ cup aquafaba
1 (8-ounce) tube almond paste
1 cup sugar
3 flax eggs (9 tablespoons water + 3 tablespoons ground flax)
1¼ cups vegan butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
Green vegan food coloring
Red vegan food coloring
½ cup apricot preserves, divided
½ cup vegan dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegan milk

What you do:

  1. Place one oven rack in top third of oven and second rack in bottom third. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch square baking pans with parchment paper. 
  2. Into a large bowl, pour chickpea liquid. Use an electric mixer to whip on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. 
  3. Into a second large bowl, using hands, crumble almond paste, then use an electric mixer to break up paste further for 1 minute. Add sugar and mix until small crumbles form, resembling sand. In a small bowl, combine flax and water. 
  4. Add vegan butter and whip on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour in flax and vanilla extract and gently mix on low speed for 30 seconds until just incorporated.
  5. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour. After all flour is added, increase speed to medium and continue to mix batter until combined. 
  6. Add a third of whipped aquafaba and mix with a spatula to loosen batter slightly. Then add remaining aquafaba and gently fold in so batter doesn’t lose airiness.
  7. Divide batter into thirds. Dye one batch green and one batch red, leaving third batch as is. 
  8. Into prepared baking pans, add batters and use an offset spatula to spread and make tops flat and even. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden and dry on top. Allow layers to cool in pans for 1 hour. Before assembling, remove white and green layers from pans and peel off parchment paper; leave red layer in pan.
  9. To assemble, use offset spatula to thinly spread half of apricot preserves over red layer. Place white layer on top. Spread remaining preserves over white layer, then set green layer on top. Place a clean 8-inch square baking pan on top of green layer, and weight down with heavy cans of food to compress and adhere layers. Place pan in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  10. After cookie layers have chilled, melt chocolate chips with vegan milk in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. 
  11. Remove pan from refrigerator, remove top pan, and carefully remove layered dessert from pan. Remove parchment paper from bottom red layer and place stack on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over layers. Place baking sheet in refrigerator to chill for 1 hour, or until chocolate is set.
  12. Using a serrated knife, cut chocolate-topped layers into 16 squares and serve. 
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