2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 5 medium pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
small splash pure almond extract (optional)
3/4 cup (about 4 large eggs) (190 grams without shell), at room temperature
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the Filling
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
For the Glaze
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
1/2 cup hot water, divided
2 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
pink food coloring
For the Decorative Royal Icing
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 inch (44 x 32 x 2.5 cm) baking pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Butter or spray the top of the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
Place the almond paste in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat until broken up. Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be crumbly.
Gradually add the butter, in 5 or 6 pieces, and continue to beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to thoroughly combine.
Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract (if using). Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition until well combined.
Lastly, beat in the flour and salt. Use a spatula to finish incorporating the batter.
Evenly spread the batter into your pan and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife or spatula along the sides of the pan and then gently slide the cake, along with the parchment paper, onto a cutting board. Allow to cool completely.
Use a ruler to measure and divide the cake into three equal pieces.
Take the first layer and flip it top side down onto a clean baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
Peel off the parchment paper and spread the peanut butter evenly over the top of the cake. Take a second layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the peanut butter, lining up evenly. Peel off the parchment paper and spread the raspberry or strawberry preserves evenly on the top of the cake. Finally take the last layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the preserves. Cover the whole cake with plastic wrap loosely and then place a baking pan and large can of something (tomatoes or something) on top of the pan as a weight. This will compact the cake layers. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours, or overnight.
Once the cake is firm, remove from refrigerator, and use a serrated knife to evenly trim the edges of the cake.
Again use a ruler to measure out even rectangles and then squares and slice as evenly as possible.
Place the mini cakes on a baking rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet that;s been lined with parchment paper. Next, make the glaze.
We’re making two batches of glaze: one white chocolate glaze tinted pink, and one semi-sweet chocolate glaze. In a saucepan set over medium heat, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Place a heatproof bowl over the simmering water – add and melt the white chocolate, stirring until smooth.
Sift in 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/4 cupcorn syrup and 1/4 cup hot water, stirring until smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and a small amount of pink food coloring and stir in.
Do the same for the semi sweet chocolate batch of glaze in a separate bowl.
If the mixture is too thick to pour, reheat it briefly over the double boiler, and stir in 1 to 3 tablespoons additional water. The mixture is easiest to work with, and pours smoothly, at about 100°F.
Generously pour one glaze at a time over half of the cakes, one at a time. The corners are the hardest to cover to concentrate your efforts. You can scoop the unused glaze from the parchment paper back into the bowl, reheat it oner the double boiler, and continue to glaze each cake.
Change out the parchment paper and do the same with the chocolate glaze, generously pouring warmed chocolate glaze over the remaining half of the cakes, one at a time. Recycle the glaze as you need.
To make the royal icing, place the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixerand whisk until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add a pinch of salt. If needed, add a few drops of water until you get the correct piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a narrow round tip. Decorate the tops of the cakes with dots and stripes.
Store the Petit Fours in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. They can also be frozen for about a month. (If freezing, do not decorate with the royal icing.) To defrost, place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.