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by hungryrabbit on June 28, 2010

Liberty Squares

When my Chinese doctor of Chinese Medicine told me I had to cut out dairy, eggs, and sugar to test for possible allergic reactions for a few weeks, I was mortified. I’ve done vegan baked goods before, but the minute I was told of the banned foods, I craved them even more. Still, the most difficult part was not leaving behind the consumption of goodies as much as taking a vacation from the creative part of baking.  I could still play and follow the rules, however, as long as I didn’t inhale.

There’s so much to celebrate this time of year—the bountiful produce of the Farmer’s Market, the excitement of the World Cup, the cornucopia of endless foodie events,  and of course, the outdoor cuisine of Independence Day.  This recipe is a spin on the colors of the traditional Italian Rainbow Cookies. Instead of pink, green, and yellow, I switch the palette to patriotic red, white and blue—plus chocolate, of course.  (If this version of the cookies were served in the Congressional dining rooms, they’d probably change the name to Freedom Cookies.)

I always wanted to try this treat, and my friend Linda makes terrific ones with just the right sweetness, so I wanted to follow her lead with some modifications for this version. You can bake them for a fun hostess gift, a potluck barbecue, or your own July 4th celebration. With Red, White, and Blue stripes, the cookies could double for Bastille Day. (You could bake a second batch on July 14 and be French for the day, as well.)

Happy 4th of July and Bastille Day!

Liberty Squares

Recipe by hungryrabbitnyc, 2010
Make 36-40 1-1/4 inch squares

For the Cake
6 ounces almond paste
3/4 cups (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons almond flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspooon table salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoons red soft gel-paste food coloring, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoons blue soft gel-paste food coloring, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon white soft gel-paste food coloring, or more as needed

1 cup Simple Syrup (simmer 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water until slightly thickened)
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1-1/2 cups raspberry jam

For the Chocolate Glaze
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2-1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

1. Place rack in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Line three 1/4 sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Secure parchment with a touch of cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Place almond paste in a food processor fitted with steel blade and blend for 1 minute. Add sugar and pulse until mixture comes together. Add 6 tablespoons of softened butter and pulse until evenly blended. Blend in another 6 tablespoons. Continue until all butter are incorporated and smoothly blended.

4. Scrape bowl once and add egg yolks, pulse to blend. Pulse in almond flour, then all-purpose flour and salt until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

5. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gently fold egg whites into almond mixture. Divide batter evenly into 3 bowls. Add food coloring accordingly and stir well to incorporate. Pour into prepared pans.

5. Place two pans on upper rack and one on lower rack of oven. Bake for 9 minutes. Switch pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for another 8-10 minutes. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on cooling racks.

Assemble the Cake:
1. Place the blue layer on a parchment lined pan or plate. Combine simple syrup and Grand Marnier. Brush one third of the syrup mixture evenly on cake layer. Spread a thin layer of Raspberry Jam evenly over the cake. Top with white cake layer, repeat syrup and jam, you might not use up all of the jam) Top with red cake layer and brush with remaining syrup mixture. Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

2. Combine chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt at 50% power for 1 minutes. Stir and repeat until melted. Stirring will determine if the mixture has fully melted. Add corn syrup and Grand Marnier, stir to combine. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes. Pour glaze over cake and spread evenly with an off-set spatula. No need to go all the way to the edge for you will be trimming off the edges later. Cover assembled cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Cut cake into 1-1/4 inch squares or whatever size you prefer. Be mindful not to cut cake too large, it does not have the structure of a bar cookie.

NOTE: Even though you want strong colors, caution not to use too much food coloring, or the cake will have an artificial taste.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Avril June 28, 2010 at 7:43 am

Ken, these look beautiful, and tasted GREAT!! Thanks!

KENNECTED June 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

How patriotic! No Sugar?? Wow. I would die without my sweets!

Chris June 28, 2010 at 8:52 am

These are perfect squares of goodness!

Jen June 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

Being an American abroad and with the 4th, this was really nice to see. So vivid and almost to pretty to eat.

polwig June 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Not only do these look amazing (nice photos btw) they sound incredible too… Grand Marnier.. can I say more please… I love the addition of almond flour.. yummy

Steph June 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I love these!!! So patriotic!

Amanda June 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Wow, the colors are great. So bright and colorful.

A Bowl Of Mush June 29, 2010 at 1:09 pm

These are adorable! They look so striking!

Flyingroo June 29, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Oh c’mon, should’ve used white choc glaze! :-D

Valerie Williams June 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Would like to feature your cookies in a post I am doing about pretty food for Independence Day, but you have no contact info on your site! Can you please email me and let me know if it’s okay to use your image (with credit & link back, of course)? Thanks!

Jessica June 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm

These look amazing! Would it be patriotic of me to eat the whole cake?

disneypal June 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I love these ! – they are so pretty and the name is very clever – perfect to take to a weekend BBQ

Michelle June 29, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Absolutely awesome. Such a creative twist on a favorite. Great job!

Victoria June 29, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I feel so patriotic looking at these cakes!! I want to come to YOUR 4th of July party, haha.

catty June 30, 2010 at 10:42 am

STUNNING patriotic cakes, Ken! LOVE the colours… have you been tested yet? I hope you’re not allergic to anything :(

the constant hunger June 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm

These look beautiful. I’m new to your blog and I love the photography. The recipe seems simple enough. I think I’ll make a red and white version to celebrate Canada Day tomorrow.

MercuryPDX June 30, 2010 at 11:50 pm

I’m making a test/rehearsal batch of these tomorrow, and then a batch for a BBQ on Sunday.

I couldn’t find “white food coloring”, so hopefully the un-dyed batter won’t detract from the presentation. I also went with White Chocolate for the glaze.

Thanks for posting this. :)

hungryrabbit July 1, 2010 at 7:13 am

Thank you for visiting my blog. The white coloring is not crucial, you’ll still have contrasting color you want. If you are making this for a really large crowd, you can double the recipe and make them in half-sheet pan, one at a time. The baking time might be a minute or two longer. Have a wonderful holiday.

Nicole @ Making Good Choices July 1, 2010 at 7:32 am

I love making these during the winter holidays and taking them places, but I never thought to change the colors to fit the holiday. That is such a good idea! :)

bunkycooks July 1, 2010 at 7:34 am

These are so fun! Perfect for the holiday weekend.

Heather July 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm

So pretty! Love it!

CC Recipe July 2, 2010 at 8:38 am

How awesome are these…great idea, love it!

Cristina July 2, 2010 at 10:39 am

Oh! These Liberty Squares are sweet decadent perfections! So beautifully presented too. Is your allergic reaction testing over on time for the holiday weekend? Have a great holiday weekend and Congrats on the Top 9 today! =)

kim July 2, 2010 at 10:46 am

Good luck with the allergy test. So no added sugar, but fruits are ok, right?

Happy 4th of July!

Kenna July 2, 2010 at 11:00 am

Wow, great photos and very festive, too! Fun recipe.

emily July 2, 2010 at 11:10 am

beautiful design! would be even more fabulous if there were a way to color w/o using artificial food dyes.

Annie July 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

Now I know what I am making for the 4th. Very nice!

hungryrabbit July 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Thanks, doc said to keep sugar intake to a minimum. I’ve been eating lots of watermelon. ;-)

Kim July 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I love these! I am going to have to pass these along to my readers!

hugs! Kim

gwen July 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm

How fun! Very pretty. love that you use Almond flour. If I can find a way to colour the cake w/out artificial additives I will def be trying this weekend. Howabout using Raw sugar or Agave instead of granulated? ;-) good luck!

hungryrabbit July 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm

You can try it with natural food coloring. Raw sugar will work, not sure about agave, it might change the consistency of the batter.

CJ July 3, 2010 at 1:02 am

I could play all day eating these. They make a festive presentation!

Jamie July 6, 2010 at 11:15 am

These are beautiful! And I want to taste to make sure they are as delicious as perfect!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake July 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

These look wonderful! Fabulous stripes!

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