I don’t watch Bertinelli’s show on the Food Network. No reason, I watch Pioneer Woman and Southern at Heart and that’s enough time spent watching food on television. Evidently Bertinelli cooked these cookies on a recent holiday show so I intend to watch the video sometime. I checked out her cookbook – the name of the cookbook is upstairs, please don’t ask me to go and get the name – and thought her picture for Neopolitan Holiday Cookies was just lovely.
It’s not a difficult recipe but it takes a little time and you must use some care to assemble and cut the cookies, which are really tiny pieces of a 3-layer cake. The cake is tinted Christmas colors. Since it’s an almond paste-whipped egg whites cake, it’s not a fluffy, moist of creaminess. My best advice is to watch the cooking time very carefully because the layers will dry out and harden very easily, even a minute or so too long will affect the texture.
After the layers cool, you put preserves – apricot and seedless raspberry – between layers and let the flavors mingle overnight by weighing down the layers. The top layer is bare at this point. The next day, you frost the top layer with melted chocolate. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, which I found not quite sweet enough for my American taste. Now the Italians, yes. I cheated and melted some milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate and spread that atop the dark chocolate layer. It helped a lot, too. You have to take some care to cut the layers into little pieces; I dampened the knives just a bit and instead of using the recommended serrated knife, I used a sharp little paring knife.
I took this to a choir party and it was a big hit. It’s beautiful, festive and very tasty. Worth your while. My layers are quite as even as Bertinelli but people don’t care, they really do appreciate that you went to some trouble and tried something different. That’s what I tell myself anyway. I did use “Southern Cooking” as an identifying category because well, it’s southern Italy, after all.