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Rainbow Cookies
Rainbow Cookies

Gluten Free Tricolor Rainbow Cookies

I made you rainbow cookies. And I l-o-v-e rainbow cookies. They’re my absolute favorite. And I haven’t had them in years. They’re multicolored. That sounded like too much work.

Boy was I wrong. They’re super easy. And if you made some, and I could smell them baking, I’d introduce myself and pretend I had to talk to you about something really important. So I could end up having to sit down. And wait for you to offer me a cookie. And when you turned away, I’d sneak some into my pockets. For later. I’d wear cargo pants for the occasion. For all the pockets.

I really, really love these babies. The almond flavor. That dense sweetness that isn’t cloying. The colored layers.

Here’s how simple. Cream some almond paste, butter (okay, a lot of butter), sugar, and eggs. Add some flour. You’re almost home. Separate the dough into thirds. Dye one green. One red (pink?). The dough will be springy, almost. But don’t worry. It spreads easily in a greased pan when you use wet fingers. And a wet spatula. Bake for 10 minutes. Layer the layers with seedless raspberry jam, refrigerate overnight, top with ganache, chill again and slice. Here’s how little the dough changes when it’s baked. It’s a bit shiny when it’s unbaked, and a little bumpy and lightly brown around the edge when baked.

Gluten Free Tricolor Rainbow Cookies
Then layer it up, put an elephant on top of the layers in the refrig overnight, top with ganache…
Gluten Free Tricolor Rainbow Cookies
Then slice …
Gluten Free Tricolor Rainbow Cookies

And enjoy!

Rainbow Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 16 to 25
Gluten-Free Rainbow Cookies
  • 8 ounces almond paste (Love ‘n’ Bake brand is gluten-free), broken up with a fork
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I use Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
  • red food coloring (6 to 8 drops liquid)
  • green food coloring (6 to 8 drops liquid)
  • 1/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam (I like Polaner all-fruit, but any will do)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk or cream (not nonfat)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 3 rectangular pans (I used 11 inch x 7 inch, but 9 inch x 12 inch work well, too) with unsalted butter and set them aside. Avoid using glass, if possible. If you do use glass pans, lower the baking temperature to about 335 degrees Fahrenheit, and monitor carefully during baking to prevent burning.
  2. In a large bowl (or, ideally, the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream the almond paste, 1 cup butter, sugar, and eggs until well combined and very smooth. Add the flour and xanthan gum, and mix until the dough comes together and is smooth. It will be thick and shiny (see the photo).
  3. Divide the dough into three parts. Add the green food coloring to one part, and mix to combine. Add the red food coloring to another part, and mix to combine. Divide the 3 parts of dough among the three prepared pans. Stretch and press the dough into an even layer in each pan, using wet fingers and a wet spatula.
  4. Place each pan, one at a time, into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the dough just begins to brown around the edges. It may puff up, but it will cave. We want it flat, and it will be flat. Not to worry.
  5. Allow the layers to cool slightly in the pans. Place the green layer on a piece of parchment paper, spread evenly with one half of the jam, top with the plain layer, spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer, and top with the red (okay, pink) layer. Cover the whole thing in plastic wrap, top with a pan that is the same size as what you baked them in. Place something heavy (I used 3 pounds of raw chicken. seriously. it was really well sealed) atop the pan to compress the layers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  6. Once the cookies are chilled, make the ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup cream and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until the butter is melted and the cream is just beginning to simmer. Pour the hot cream and butter mixture over the chocolate, mixing to combine. The chocolate should be smooth and shiny. If the chocolate is not pourable, stir in as much of the remaining cream as necessary to make it shiny and pourable. Pour the ganache over the top of the chilled cookies, and spread with a spoon or offset spatula in an even layer.
  7. Chill once more until the ganache is set (in the refrigerator for an hour, or the freezer for about 15 minutes). Slice with a large serrated knife into squares.
  8. Serve chilled. To me. Serve them chilled to me.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

  • Ashlea Cutlack via Facebook

    I love the Printable recipe! great addition!

  • Angie Benoit via Facebook

    Well look at you, you shared your favorite!! How sweet of you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.wixon Rebecca Wixon via Facebook


  • Lisa Edreich Therrien via Facebook

    I just realized today as I was driving the kids to school that I was not able to have Rainbow cookies anymore :( Imagine my surprise and delight when I get on FB today and see this!!

  • Cheri Saeger

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Using it in a birthday party for my 38 year old adult child. It is going to add a lot to my party!!!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Cheri,
      I remember you posted on Facebook that you were going to use the recipe for a party! I’m truly honored to help. I’m a 38 year old adult child, and I know I would most definitely appreciate these. If I were your child, you could just make these for me, no need to round out the rest of the party, no need to get me any other gift. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.glutenfreecanteen.com Lisa @ GF Canteen

    Oh, be still my heart. I am a fan of rainbow cookies from back when I could toddle into the bakery with my mom. I mourned the loss of that bakery when I was all grown up and 3K miles away, but I never forgot rainbows. I’ve made them (GF) before, but I like yours much better. And I love your blog. I am a (new) huge fan. Thanks for making my day! I’m leaving the window open so I can come visit the rainbows… Thanks, Nicole.

    • Nicole

      Hi, Lisa,
      Thanks for visiting. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! I just clicked through to your blog, and I am super jealous of those Apple Butter Maple Syrup Donuts. They look a-maz-ing. I don’t have doughnut pans. You apparently have TWO doughnut pans. Jealous of the doughnuts. And the pans. So glad we got a chance to chat about rainbows. And that you’re a fellow GF blogger who seems to not dislike me! That means it’s a big day for me. :) Thank you, Lisa! Hope you’ll come back.
      xoxo Nicole

      • http://www.glutenfreecanteen.com Lisa @ GF Canteen

        Dislike you? Never. I love your blog (and you). Actually I only have one donut pan (being frugal!) and I made two batches. I’ll trade you a donut for a rainbow. : )

        • Nicole

          Hi, Lisa,
          I’m not down with the whole GF blogging community. I don’t fit in, I’m afraid. But I like your style. So happy to ‘meet’ you. :)
          I love that you have only one donut pan. Love the frugal in you. Rainbows are free for the asking. They’re rainbows! ;)
          xoxo Nicole

  • Darlene

    You so niiiice for sharing cooookies! :D That’s my best Cookie Monster impression.
    What you need on this blog is a way for you to make some money off the links for us buying the stuff you recommend. A little shopping area for us and for you. All kinds of cooking gadgets. Since coming out of my 20+ year gluten daze I found your blog and have bought TONS of cooking supplies so I could try out your recipes. I think you should have received a spiffy for all of those goodies. Can you link Williams Sonoma, ALL of Amazon, and Better Batter and get spiffies? I think you should. I know it’s gauche to talk money in public but I’m the one at the dinner table trying my darndest to remove that piece of meat that always seems to get stuck between those two back teeth. I do it as discreetly as possible. I never go in to the elbow. But anyway.. spiffies for you.. yeah.

    • Nicole

      Darlene, you made me laugh out loud. I’ve never even seen you, but yet I’m able to imagine you at the dinner table, your hand in your mouth up to the elbow. So glad you’re here.
      Is it gauche to talk money in public? I thought that was what we did here on the blog! I am so grateful that you brought this up, and that you are in my corner, as I would love to be in yours. That is basically why I am readying the blog for potential advertisers. With a lot of luck, I will be able to secure advertising from companies like you mentioned, so that you can click on paid ads in the sidebar to purchase supplies from companies that I use myself and really believe in. I won’t make money on the purchases, really, but rather monthly on ads (again, with luck). I promise I’m working on it! You’ve been so encouraging with this, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. As you know, I have some cognitive dissonance about all of this, but I think individual ads (as opposed to an ad network, where I’d have no control) are the right way to go – for me, for the potential sponsors, and even ultimately for readers so I am able to keep blogging for, like, ever. Thank you, Darlene. It helps. A lot.
      xoxo xo (extra) Nicole

  • Tara S.

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I plan on making these this coming weekend! Cannot wait to try them:)

    • Nicole

      Hi, Tara,
      I’d love to hear how they turn out. I have them stashed away in my basement freezer, but I can’t stop thinking about them!
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.handdeliverpress.com Samantha

    Oh! My HANDS-DOWN favorite cookie of all time. Once, for my birthday, my friend brought me an entire 5 pound bakery box full of them. So please, PLEASE tell me I can do this recipe with egg replacer and non-dairy milk…please?

    • Nicole

      Hi, Samantha,
      Nondairy milk is no big deal for the ganache. Egg replacer …. that’s a tougher one. But as long as you’re not trying to make it almond-free, I think everything else is up for discussion. I never bake with egg replacer of any kind, so I can’t promise anything, but from what I understand, a flax seed/hot water slurry is the best replacer for eggs in baking. I would definitely give it a shot with that. Maybe cut the recipe in half, straight down the middle (easy to halve) when you try it the first time, in case you need to tweak it. Be sure to use smaller pans, too. I would go with square pans. Pay close attention to the consistency of the dough, and I think you’ll be fine. I wish I could give you a more ironclad answer! Definitely pulling for you! I know the feeling of needing these in your life.
      xoxo Nicole

      • http://www.handdeliverpress.com Samantha

        Thank you so much, Nicole! I will let you know how it turns out, veganized. I’m not even vegan by choice. Milk and eggs and I just don’t get along. Sigh…

        • Nicole

          Hi, Samantha,
          Please do keep us posted! Baking without milk and eggs is so much harder than baking without gluten, but you are motivated. You can do it!
          xoxo Nicole

      • Christin Holt

        Nicole, I think you could use hazelnuts as a replacer for the almonds…just make the paste the same way, having taken the skin off of the nuts first.

        • Nicole

          Hi, Christin,
          You think so? I would really love to hear how that turns out. It sounds perfectly reasonable. (By the way, commercially bought almond paste is almonds + sugar, not just almonds – just FYI). If you give it a try, would you post back?
          xoxo Nicole

  • Robin Novotny via Facebook


  • Peggy

    Quick, get a towel, I’m drooling………. Oh my!!!
    Looking forward to the blog changes…I would love to have a link to click for all the cooking goodies at my fingertips! Especially if it helps you with your sugar! lol
    I can’t imagine life without dairy or eggs so I’ll count my blessing that I just have to eliminate gluten from my diet. Keep the tips coming though because one never knows when one will need to bake for someone who is unable to eat dairy or eggs. :)

    • Nicole

      Hi, Peggy,
      Thanks for looking out for my sugar. :)
      Every time someone asks about making something dairy free – or egg free (even more so – I think the same thing. But we’ll get ’em through!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kadren

    Hmmmm, I have thought and thought and I just can’t think of much you can do to improve. :) Just love the blog!!! I can see where sugar is important and I think your ideas sound like good ones. Do what you gotta do and we’re all here to cheer you on! Is it a sin that I have never heard of rainbow cookies? I know, really, never. I can’t wait to make these for my girls. They are going to FLIP! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your wonderful recipes that have made my girls so utterly happy. I sent them PB&J on french bread today for lunch and they were ecstatic! Oh to be like the other kids for once.

    • Nicole

      Hi, Kadren,
      Thank you so much for the encouragement, Kadren! I think it’s probably the best thing ever that you’d never heard of rainbow cookies. Lucky you, in fact! You get to experience them for the first time. I’m so glad you were successful with the french bread recipe – and how wonderful that your girls are so happy and feel so “normal.” That’s what I strive for with my son. Your girls are so lucky to have you! Oh, and you’re so welcome, of course. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kadren

        So on the 30th, one of our very good friends has a birthday. My girls want to throw her a surprise party so I’m making a 3 layer cake for the party and I’m going to surprise the girls with this. They are going to be sooooo excited!!!!! I can’t wait!

        • Nicole

          Oh, Kadren, That sounds perfect! I love food surprises. :)
          xoxo Nicole

  • http://howtobakeacrocodile.blogspot.com KK @ How To Bake A Crocodile

    I don’t have a suggestion of what I do like but will tell you something I really really do not like on blogs. Two things actually that I find to be a big turn off. First is the “read more” feature. Where you have to click yet another thing of you want to read a full post. The other thing I totally dislike is when blogs only let you view one post per page. I don’t like to have to work hard to read your blog posts. I read blogs for fun- not to treasure hunt down a recipe.

    • Nicole

      Hi, KK,
      The reason I don’t put everything on one page is to make it easier to scan a few different posts at once, rather than forcing people to read through what just happens to be the most recent post. I’m sorry you are turned off, but I find that structuring the blog this way makes it easier for most people to scan.

  • http://www.americanalmond.com Priscilla Martel

    Hi Nicole,
    Nice recipe. So many people ask about gluten-free recipes we’re happy you choose Love’n Bake Almond Paste for it. Happy Baking, Priscilla, Culinary Director, American Almond Products CO.

    • Nicole

      Hi, Priscilla,
      You’re the Love’n Bake people? Exciting. :) Great product. So happy that your website was so clear about GF status. Thanks for reaching out.
      xoxo Nicole

      • http://www.americanalmond.com Priscilla

        Yes, Love’n Bake is the consumer line from American Almond Products. (The company has been makign almond paste, marzipan and nut ingredients for professionals since 1924.)
        We’re gald that the Gluten Free tagging was helpful to you.

  • http://texassisterscook.blogspot.com Pam

    I can’t wait to make these!! Chocolate, almond, jam, cake!!!! So delicious and very creative!!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Pam,
      You summed it up perfectly. Chocolate, almond, jam, cake. The four most beautiful words in the English language. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.linnplocher Susan Linn Plocher via Facebook

    This looks fab! I’m a big fan of sparkles and rainbows. They make me happy. I’ll give it a whirl!

  • Allison Mills

    Hi Nicole! These Rainbow Cookies look amazing (everything you make looks amazing)!! I have everything I need to make them, except for the “elephant on top”…not sure what that means….

    Allison :)

    • Nicole

      Hi, Allison,
      I just mean that you need to put something heavy on top of them as they chill overnight in the refrigerator. My ‘elephant’ was a few pounds of chicken. :)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Christin Holt

        Can’t wait to try these for our GF/DF birthday party this weekend! Daughter turns 12, and many other family members are also GF. Absolutely love your recipes…am asking for your cookbook for Christmas. I can’t think of anything else that could improve your blog…except if maybe you sent out samples as you post a recipe. ;)

        • Nicole

          Hi, Christin,
          How lucky all your family members are to have you to bake for them! I’m honored to be a tiny part of what sounds like a great family party.
          Samples, huh? Got it. I’ll put that one in the R&D file. ;)
          Thank you for the kind words. It really means a lot to me.
          xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomihaberpoe Naomi Haber Poe via Facebook

    mmmm maple icing and cream filling….

  • Kait De Luna Sea via Facebook

    I love you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gfshoestring Gluten Free on a Shoestring via Facebook

    I love you back, Kait. :)

  • Judy

    awesome recipe- ty for sharing! just diagnosed 3 mo ago with Celiac Disease

    • Nicole

      Hi, Judy,
      Welcome to the community, then. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you can tell that celiac disease shouldn’t stop you from being able to eat really really well. Keep reading!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Allyssa

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been browsing your recipes for a few months now after going GF to help with my fibromyalgia. I realized recently while at an Italian supermarket, drooling over pastries, that the thing I am going to struggle with the most this year with my new diet is holidays. As an Italian, I look forward to my aunt and grandma making tre-colore/venetian/rainbow cookies every year (let’s not get started on the loss of the homemade manicotti! haha) around the holidays.
    When I saw this on the front of your website today, I just wanted to let you know that I literally said out loud, to no one but my cat, “Shut. Up.” I am so excited. Thank you so much for this!

    • Nicole

      Hi, Allyssa,
      How great is that (including the part about talking to your cat — I talk to my dogs frequently; I find they’re rather good listeners)? Maybe your aunt and grandmother will make them gluten-free this year? I hope so. :) You’re so welcome. Thank you for posting.
      xoxo Nicole

  • http://www.facebook.com/betterbattergf Better Batter | Gluten Free Flour on Facebook

    they’re like Shabtai, only they taste better….:-)

  • Bea Oliver on Facebook

    My family has allergies to red and yellow (tartrazine)food dye… What brand do you use?

  • Pingback: Pastel Rainbow Cookies, Gluten Free | Gluten Free Canteen()

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