Traditions, Stories and Three-Color Cookies

So I wrapped up Cookiepocalypse today. If you haven’t been following me long, you may not have experienced a Cookiepocalypse yet. It’s the time of year when I bake for a solid week, making all the traditional cookies that my mother made, and that her mother made. Pictures go up on my social media, and this year there were process videos in my Tiktok.

Now, why do I do this?

Part of it is tradition — this what we do because this is what we’ve always done. But most of it is connection. These recipes are part of the story of me. This is my history, and it’s a story that I’m passing on to my son, and that I share with you every year.

Let me show you:


This is the recipe card for the Three Color cookies that I make every year. I copied this recipe from my mother’s recipe book. Now, if you look at that, you can see it makes NO sense to someone who has never made them before. But I know exactly what this means.

So allow me to translate:

Three Color Cookies

1 can of Solo Almond filling OR 1 box of Solo Almond Paste.*
1 1/2 cup butter (dairy or plant based) softened.
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free One-to-One flour)
pinch of salt.
Red, Green and Yellow food coloring
Jam (your choice)
Dark or white chocolate chips 1-2 bags

*If you have a stand mixer, use the almond paste. If you have a hand mixer or no mixer at all, use the almond filling. Trust me on this.

Set your oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C.

Put your almond filling or paste into a bowl with your softened butter. Add sugar and mix until fluffy. If using the almond paste, make sure there are no lumps of almond paste left. Mixture should be smooth..

Add eggs one at the time.

Add almond extract.

Slowly add flour and salt. Mix to combine. It will be sticky.

Separate your dough into three equal parts. Color each one — one red, one green, one yellow. I use gel coloring to get a better color, but you can use what you have on hand. I don’t recommend natural colorings, because the color won’t stay when the layers are baked.

Take three 9x13x1 foil pans. (They don’t need to be fancy — I use EZ Foil pans that I got three for a dollar at the Dollar Store maybe ten years ago. Why? Because they work the best.) Line each pan with piece of parchment. Spread your dough evenly in each pan. I find an offset spatula helps for this.

The recipe card says bake until done. Done depends on how thick your layers are, and your oven, but it’s usually about 30 minutes. I rotate the trays at ten minutes, and start testing at 20.

You end up with this:

Let them cool completely, then start the sandwich.

You have your choice of jam here. The very traditional jam is apricot, but you don’t have to use that. I use strawberry. Starting with the green layer, cover with the thin coat of jam. Put the yellow layer on top of the green, and add more jam. Top with the red layer. Yes, in that order. Why? It won’t taste right if you change them. No, I’m not kidding. Also, the layers may crack when you move them. That’s fine.

Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap, and put into the refrigerator under weights overnight.

The next day, unwrap your layers and melt your chocolate. What chocolate you use and how you melt it is up to you. You don’t want to go too thick, because that makes it harder to cut. (A mistake I make EVERY YEAR!!!!)

Pour your melted chocolate over the top and smooth it down the sides. Use that offset spatula, if you have one. Let the chocolate set until it’s no longer runny, then cut. If you let it set to the point it’s hard, it will crack. Again, mistake I make every year.

Cut into squares. The corners WILL fall apart — those are the cook’s treat.

Keeps in the refrigerator for… well, we always finish them before they go off, so I’m not sure just how long they will keep. They also freeze beautifully.

Three Color Cookies are Love.

If you decide to try these in your house, let me know how they come out!

Now, I’m going to be taking the rest of the year off, so my next blog will be in 2023. Whatever you celebrate this time of year, make it a happy one.

What do you think?

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