Valentine’s Day is in 11 days. Normally I don’t really care about the whole romantic part of this holiday, and I usually focus on the kid part. This year however, I am counting down the days. You see, this will be the first year that I have actually procured a babysitter and my husband and I will actually be going out. Now that is something to be excited about in my home because date night is a rare thing.
I am looking forward to a nice dinner with my husband, but what I am most excited for is the movie after! I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to see 50 Shades of Grey! A few years ago I started the series of books and literally could not sleep or do anything else for about 5 days. All I did was read. I can’t wait to see if the movie is as good as the books!
So in celebration of my impeding date night, I bring you one of my family’s favorite treats Valentine’s Day 7 Layer Italian Bars. Now, like many recipes, it looks long, but it is not. It is originally from Gourmet Magazine, 2005. The batter is a cinch to put together. If you have an extra 5 minutes, I urge you to make the almond paste from scratch. It is easy and cheaper (you get a lot more for your money). Here is the recipe.
Instead of just putting the chocolate on the top and bottom, I actually dipped the whole square into white chocolate to make it look more like a petit four. I think they came out pretty cute!
So tell me, do you do anything special for Valentine’s Day?
- 4 large eggs , separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 8- oz can almond paste or homemade
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 different gel food coloring (measure with the tip of a knife)
- 1 (12-oz) jar raspberry preserves, heated and strained
- White chocolate coating (I use candiquik)
- 1 tablespoon shortening or coconut oil
- Pink food coloring
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 ends, then spray the paper.
- Beat whites in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks. Transfer to another bowl.
- Switch to paddle attachment, then beat together almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes.
- Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
- Fold half of egg white mixture into almond mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
- Divide batter among 3 bowls. Stir food coloring into each bowl.
- Pour 1st colored batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with offset spatula (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick).
- Bake each layer 8 to 10 minutes, until just set. (It is important to undercook.)
- Transfer to a rack to cool.
- When all layers are cool, invert 1 layer onto a wax-paper-lined large baking sheet. Discard paper from layer and spread with half of preserves.
- Invert next on top of 1st layer, discarding paper. Spread with remaining preserves.
- Invert final layer on top of previous layer and discard wax paper.
- Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large baking pan. Chill at least 8 hours.
- Remove weight and plastic wrap.
- Bring layers to room temperature.
- Melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. If chocolate needs to be melted more, place in microwave and heat for increments of 10 seconds until it is smooth.
- Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife.
- Cut into 2 inch squares then carefully dip into chocolate to coat.
- Once all of the squares have been coated, melt about 1/3 cup of white chocolate coating with shortening and pink food gel.
- When melted and smooth, place in a ziplock bag and snip the corner.
- Drizzle pink chocolate onto the squares and top with you favorite sprinkles.