James Beard Foundation Honors Chef Dan Barber at Upcoming JBF Food Summit

What’s Your Consuming Power?

Each year the James Beard Foundation hosts the JBF Leadership Awards as part of the annual JBF Food Summit. The awards aim to shine a light on the importance and complexities of sustainability, food access, and public health.

This year the foundation celebrates ICC Alumna, Chef Dan Barber, as one such visionary “for his work in blending the dining and educational experience to reduce waste, improve food taste and sustainability, and promote a soil-to-table approach.” Dan Barber, chef/owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, is best known for his innovations in the dining experience that promotes a more sustainable food world. But what many don’t know is that his collaboration with ICC’s Farm-to-Table extension of the Professional Culinary Arts program is actively training the next generation of chefs to cook responsibly. Through the program, Chef Dan Barber is challenging the chefs of tomorrow to make sustainable choices in their kitchens that create a healthier and safer food world.

Ready to join the conversation? Attend the two-day JBF Food Summit: Consuming Power October 23-24 in NYC. This year JBF is bringing together a diverse group of experts, including Chef Dan Barber, from across disciplines to look into the genesis and changing dynamics of consumer power and apply that knowledge to various food-system issues we’re facing today. Learn what Americans want from their food, the challenges and opportunities for a sustainable food system in our new political landscape, and the role chefs and other culinary leaders can play.

For more information & registration, visit jamesbeard.org/foodsummit.

Recipe: Chocolate Fig Cake Using Callebaut Chocolate

Our inaugural Pastryland charity bake sale, benefiting City Harvest, commenced on Saturday, September 9 as a part of the school’s Pastry Plus weekend. The generous Callebaut Chocolate brand held the Platinum Sponsor title throughout the weekend, providing delicious variants of the finest Belgium chocolate. Making their product accessible to attendees, our bake sale also featured a chocolate luge where those who wanted to indulge chose between white and dark chocolate tastings.

Using Callebaut Dark Couverture Chocolate, the International Culinary Center’s Director of Pastry Operations, Jansen Chan, created an exclusive dessert for the bake sale alongside ICC’s Pastry Chef-Instructor, Chef Cynthia Peithman, to sell to patrons of the Pastryland festivities.

My collaboration with Chef Cynthia Peithman was a celebration of two loves: chocolate and fig. We focused on creating textures with Callebaut’s dark chocolate – a tender chocolate sponge and a luscious chocolate buttercream – and pairing its flavor against the higher, sweeter notes of late summer figs.” – Jansen Chan, ICC’s Director of Pastry Operations

Watch the highlights from the weekend below and view the recipe to see how you could recreate this chocolate dessert at home.


Yield: 14 – 3” cakes

Components:

Chocolate Biscuit Dacquoise
Plain & Chocolate Buttercream
Fig Jam, about 250 grams
Port Gelée
Chocolate Décor, 3” discs
Black Mission Figs, 7 pieces


CHOCOLATE BISCUIT DACQUOISE
Yield: One half-sheet pan
Ingredients:

100 g. Callebaut Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
130 g. Almond Flour
115 g. Sugar
115 g. Whites
¼ t. Salt
Powdered sugar, as needed

Procedures:

– Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
– Prepare a half-sheet pan by applying pan release and parchment paper to the bottom.
– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In a bowl, sift the almond flour and reserve.
– Prepare a French meringue: Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
– Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, until soft peaks form. Continue to whip the mixture to stiff peaks.
– Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the almond flour into the meringue in three additions.
– Add about a quarter of the batter to the melted chocolate and stir vigorously to incorporate.
– Return the chocolate mixer to the remaining meringue and fold gently.
– Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
– Dust with powdered sugar.
– Bake the dacquoise in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or springy to the touch.
– Let the dacquoise cool completely before unmolding.
– Release the dacquoise from the pan by running a paring knife along the edges.


SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Yield: 1050 grams 

Ingredients:

150 g. Callebaut Dark Couverture Chocolate, 60.6%
165 g. Egg whites*
285 g. Sugar
¼ t. Salt
450 g. Butter, cut into cubes
½ t. Vanilla extract

Procedure

– Place the chocolate in a bain-marie over low heat and stir to melt. Remove from heat when completely melted, and allow to cool slightly.
– In the bowl of an electric mixer, lightly whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt and place over a pot of simmering water.
– Lightly whisk the mixture over the simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch or a candy thermometer reads 140° F.
– Place the bowl on the electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until doubled in volume.
– Whisk until the mixture reaches medium stiff peaks and has cooled down.
– Remove the whisk and replace with the paddle attachment.
– Begin adding the butter a few pieces at a time as it beats into the meringue.
– Add vanilla extract.
– Raise the speed of the mixture and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy
– Remove about 1/3 of the buttercream and reserve on the side.
– With the remaining buttercream, pour in cooled, melted chocolate and stir quickly to incorporate.

*pasteurized egg whites may be used, if desired


PORT GELÉE

Yield: 250 grams
Ingredients:
4 shts. Gelatin, silver
50 g. Sugar
200 g. Port wine

Procedures:

– Soak the gelatin sheets in ice-cold water for about 5 mins. Drain well and reserve.
– In a small pot, bring 50 grams of water and sugar to a boil.
– Remove from heat, and add drained gelatin.
– Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in port.
– Allow mixture to set in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
– Using a whisk or a pair of forks, break the gelée into coarse, snow-like consistency.

Reserve chilled.

ASSEMBLY:

– Trim the chocolate dacquoise into 3” circles.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with chocolate buttercream. Pipe a border of teardrops just within the edge of each cut cake.
– Fill the center generously with fig jam and ½ tsp. of port gelé
– Top each cake with a 3” chocolate disc.
– Fill a pastry bag, outfitted with a star tip, with plain buttercream. Pipe a small rosette on top of the center of each cake.
– Place black mission figs, cut in half*, on top of plain buttercream.
– Just to the right of the fig, garnish with additional port gelé

*If preparing in advance, brush the cut side of the fig with warmed apricot glaze prior to using.


For more information on Callebaut, click here.

Remembering Dorothy Cann Hamilton

Almost one year ago, the International Culinary Center tragically lost the school’s Founder, Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Shortly after her untimely passing, ICC was faced with the task of memorializing such an immense spirit who inspired and changed the lives of countless culinary luminaries. Dorothy was one-of-a-kind. To honor the life of Dorothy Cann Hamilton, ICC reached out to several friends of both the school and Dorothy to share how their lives were touched by the late visionary. Culinary icons and professionals such as Daniel Boulud, Alain Sailhac, Jacques Torres, Danny Meyer, Judy Joo, Claus Meyer, and more all shared stories of their admiration for the fearless food aficionado through a touching video shown during her memorial service.

Today, August 25, we remember the life and spirit of the late Dorothy Cann Hamilton on her birthday by sharing this video with the world, for the students, faculty, and the culinary community that never had the opportunity of knowing such a guiding light. The International Culinary Center will continue to honor Dorothy’s spirit and vision in all that we do.

 

To continue Dorothy’s drive for inspiring the next generation of culinary professionals and passion for hunger prevention, please consider making a donation to Friends of the ICC or Feeding America in her name.

  • Donations to the Dorothy Cann Hamilton Scholarship can be made through Friends of the ICC here. Please direct gifts In Memory of Dorothy Cann Hamilton.
  • Donations to Feeding America, an organization that Dorothy was very passionate about, can be made here.

Hard Work Tastes Like Miso, A Friday Evening at Hachi ju Hachi

By Savannah Sharrett,
Communications Liaison

For a refreshing, crash-course in what it means to have passion, spend a little time with Chef Suzuki and his team.

Recently, I spent a Friday evening at Hachi ju Hachi, located in downtown Saratoga, CA. Entering the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was a sense of calm to the dimly lit space. Looking in from the front door, the sun light reveals long walls lined with small tables. Straight ahead is a sushi bar with a clear view of the open kitchen.

This understated gem has been open for 8 years and has many loyal, regular customers. Looking up at the ceiling and around the walls, there is clear evidence of appreciation. Written in Sharpie, you’ll find hundreds of comments of praise. Beaming with pride, Owner & Chef, Jin Suzuki says of the walls, “You’ll notice that there is not one celebrity and only ordinary people”. The restaurant is open for regular business hours but every two weeks, the doors close to the general public to host a special sushi night where they invite a small group of people for a carefully curated tasting menu.

From time to time, students from the ICC have had the opportunity to work under the apprenticeship of Chef Suzuki. Currently, you can find two of our alumni working alongside each other in his kitchen. Working under Chef Suzuki’s guidance and training in the art of Japanese Cuisine, EJ, a 2013 culinary graduate and Kristen, a 2016 culinary graduate are cultivating qualities like patience and respect for their craft. There is something to be said about the precision and attention to detail this team of 3 is able to maintain consistency.

In an effort to understand the success of HJH, I asked EJ to share his thoughts on the restaurant’s philosophy on food. He said, “Chef Suzuki is not just a mentor. It is not just food; its philosophy and life. To survive in this kitchen you must have the mindset that this isn’t just food or recipes, it’s a lifestyle. You have to respect that”. He added, “Techniques are done correctly. Make your mistakes but don’t do it again.” In reference to the passion that has grown within him over time, EJ asks himself, “Do you want to cut cucumbers every day? Yes! Do you want to crack eggs every day? Yes! I want to.”

Although they were given a foundation in French Techniques from their schooling at the ICC, I appreciated that both EJ and Kirsten had an ease using Japanese terms. When I asked them if that was a requirement for working at HJH, EJ said, “Learning the proper words shows respect”.  Working with Chef Suzuki has certainly added to their culinary repertoire and given them versatility.

When I had first arrived that evening, EJ had been working on Saba mackerel, preparing them to be marinated at room temperature and then overnight in the fridge. I asked him if there were certain techniques he had especially enjoyed learning at HJH and he mentioned something called San Mai Oroshi– a 3 part technique used to open a fish that results in 2 full fillets with the spine still intact. He was also very proud to show me and let me taste his frozen sweet potato puree that was served like an ice cream.

I then asked Kirsten to share her thoughts on the restaurant’s philosophy. She was quick to say that, “It all starts and ends with respect”. Throughout the evening, I was impressed to hear her call Chef Suzuki, Itacho, which means in Japanese, “head of the cutting board”. Having now worked at HJH for a year, she has gained many new skills from her mentor. She was kind enough to give me a demonstration on the difference between Japanese and French knife techniques. She also mentioned that she was currently learning something called, Katsuramuki. This term refers to the ability to slice a vegetable such as a cucumber or a daikon into one long, thin sheet. For this technique, she was taught to use a Usuba, a “single-bevel knife used for cutting veggies”. Initially feeling like this task was daunting, Kerstin describes the learning process as a practical lesson in discipline and now feels driven to do it every day. She notes that her constant goal is, “doing better than the last time. I did this today and I’ll do it tomorrow”. Comparing her limited year of experience to her mentor, Chef Suzuki, she happily exclaimed, “I’ll meet you there in 30 years”!  Being the newest to the kitchen, Kirsten benefits from the experience of not only Chef Suzuki but also her fellow apprentice, EJ. In regards to her training under both of them, she noted, “They never go easy on me but I know it’s because they care and that in turn makes me care as much as them”.

Even with his 30 years of experience, Chef Suzuki doesn’t hesitate to point out that he is still learning and feels that it is his responsibility to pass on the knowledge he does have. He comments, “Most people are looking for an instant result but cooking isn’t about that.  It takes patience and discipline. The journey is not 6 months, it takes years”. Chef made sure to note that he will never claim to a master chef. Explaining that personal joy is essential, he expresses, “ I just like what I do and that’s enough”.  I asked him how he received his own training and he explained that throughout his early career in Japan, he had 3 different mentors. With that attitude in mind, the ICC is looking forward to hosting Chef Suzuki on our campus this August for a class on the history and usage of miso. (Click here to learn more.

Later that evening, Chef Suzuki asked me to stay for dinner and was very generous. I left the restaurant that evening feeling peaceful and energized. If you ever find yourself in the Bay Area, Hachi ju Hachi should definitely be on your itinerary.

 

 

 

Discover The May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy

Calling all culinary professionals – May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy is launching a new, modern Culinary Institute for the hospitality industry, young professionals, culinary institutions and Italian cuisine enthusiasts around the world. Beginning this year, May-Mei will offer intensive short courses for individuals, with limited time availability, who wish to learn or refresh their knowledge of Italian cooking techniques, Italian food products, the flavors, the traditions and culture of the Italian table.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Founded by Tony May, Sergio Mei and Bruno Libralon, May-Mei Italian Culinary Academy offers a five-day short intensive course, arriving in Italy on Sunday and returning home on Saturday. Perfect for young students and professional development, this course combines theory and practical lessons with hands-on experience and field trips to local producers. Each day culminates in the kitchen where students cook what they learned during the day.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR ICC ALUMNI

The board of the May-Mei is extending an exclusive offer to ICC Alumni for the initial course, September 17-23, 2017 at Gambero Rosso in Rome, of 25% off the published website price.


 

Interested in attending? Please contact Tony May at tonymayitaliancuisine@gmail.com.

To review the course program at Gambero Rosso, price, studies, and visits to producers for this inaugural class, please visit https://www.may-mei.org/en/schools/#rosso for details about the offer.

For more information and a schedule of the 2017-2018 dates, please visit www.may-mei.org or www.may-meiitalianculinaryacademy.com.

 

Photo Gallery: Highlights from The NY Cake Show 2017 at Pier 36

The International Culinary Center hosted a demonstration stage at The NY Cake Show 2017 throughout June 10th and 11th at Pier 36. The stage featured 45-minute lessons with ICC Pastry Chef-Instructors including the school’s Director of Pastry Operations, Chef Jansen Chan, Senior Coordinator (Pastry), Chef Jurgen David, and Chef Michael Zebrowski, Chef-Instructor and ICC Alumni. Additional ICC alumni on the roster included Justine MacNeil, Executive Pastry Chef of Del Posto, Chef Pietro Aletto, Executive Pastry Chef at Boutrous, and various other established pastry professionals.

As a returning Education Partner of the New York Cake Show, we were excited to be part of one of the country’s premier cake competition. We were especially proud to feature our outstanding alumni chefs and pastry chef-instructors throughout the weekend at our very own demonstration theater. Amazing pastries, such as rhubarb pie, baklava sticky buns, and gluten-free chocolate cakes, were on the menu – a very exciting weekend for all our attendees! I was especially proud of our The Cookie Games V winners showcasing how to make their Browned Butter Masala Chai cookies.” – Chef Jansen Chan, Director of Pastry Operations at ICC.

 

Photo Gallery: The Cookie Games 2017

Thank you to all student participants in the 5-year anniversary of The Cookie Games, as well as our fabulous judges. The roster of judges included Angie Mar (Chef/Owner at Beatrice Inn), Dorie Greenspan (Cookbook Author), Florian Bellanger (Executive Pastry Chef at MadMac), Robb Riedel (Managing Editor of Food Network Magazine) and Erik Murnighan (President of the International Culinary Center).

Congratulations to this year’s 1st place winners, Madeline Dudek and Clara Lim, students in ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program for their India-inspired Browned Butter Masala Chai cookie. To check out their recipe to try at home, click here.  In addition to prizes furnished from our sponsors, including KitchenAid, the ladies were awarded with the opportunity to demonstrate their award-winning cookies at the New York Cake Show at Pier 36 on Sunday, June 11.

Library Notes: June 2017 [New York]

As the weather turns warmer I find myself craving fresh fruits and vegetables more than any other time of the year, and I am always looking for ways to avoid turning on the oven and heating up the kitchen! If you’re like me, you will find plenty of recipe options to do just that right here in the ICC library!

Alice Waters is probably the undisputed queen of highlighting the beauty of seasonal produce. She was smuggling baby greens into the US before they were available in supermarkets and was the first to serve a simple piece of fresh fruit for dessert after a multi-course meal; who better to turn to for fruit advice? Chez Panisse Fruit includes not just recipes but encyclopedic coverage of everything from Apples to Quinces. Each section highlights Waters’ favorite varieties and multiple ways to prepare them. As a bonus, the book also includes some basic recipes you can enhance with your fruit of choice. Try the Chez Panisse take on galette or frangipane then top with your favorite fresh summer fruit. As a bonus, familiarize yourself with Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse story in preparation for her forthcoming memoir, due out this fall!

In Season by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld is the hyper-local source you have always looked for. This compilation of the column by the same name highlights various unique ingredients that can be sourced from New York City Farmers Markets along with flavor profiles, growing season and a recipe contributed by a celebrity chef. So pick up this book to try Daniel Humm’s Strawberry Gazpacho, Jody Williams’s Raw Artichoke Salad or Alex Raij’s Stuffed Avocado Squash.

Instead of being organized by the classic headings of appetizers, entrées and desserts, The Love & Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio is divided up by fruit or vegetable! This is ideal for if you receive a CSA share, stop by the Greenmarket to pick up whatever catches your eye or find yourself unexpectedly gifted with a friends’ garden spoils. Simply flip to the section for berries, peppers or summer squash and see what Donofrio recommends. The back contains a great section of recipe variations which offers substitutions and changes depending what you have on hand, for instance, if you are craving pesto but only have mint on hand or if you’re cooking tacos but have some fresh peaches to use up.

If you are a fan of The Smile café, you will love the book Modern Mediterranean by Melia Marden, ICC Alum. If you’re not, then you have probably never been there – and what are you waiting for? It is right down the street from school! Modern Mediterranean is a beautifully designed and photographed book with lots of fresh ideas for how to use produce perfect for summer. Try the tomato, nectarine & mozzarella salad for a modern take on the caprese, grilled corn with lime butter or the rosemary and honey roasted quince. This book is not exclusively fruit and vegetable recipes, but you will find a produce focus in all the recipes included.

So whether you’re planning a fresh summer garden party or just looking to incorporate more produce in your daily dining, check out these books from the ICC library for some new and creative ideas.  To see what ICC is reading, follow us on Instagram: @intlcullibrary.

The Exploration of Tea with Rishi Tea

Written by: Vanessa Da Silva
ICC Wine Studies Coordinator
Certified Sommelier

Justin, a self-described crazy person (when it comes to tea) has spent the last 2 decades not only sourcing some of the finest teas in the world but also, painstakingly retracing the historic roots & practices which have shaped the tea trade over the last 1,200 years! Justin, along with Keiko Nicolini & an entourage (truly) of trained tea enthusiasts, walked us through the cultivars & techniques of these rare & artisanal teas at a recent demo in ICC’s New York campus.

There are so many things we overlook when considering tea. Here are 5 teas that will make you thirsty:

Woojun Green Tea, South Korea – This tea is crafted in South Korea by Mr. Lee Chang Yung & his family. This is the first young leaves that are picked for the season, and Mr. Yung hand fires the tea leaves in a wok in small batches to bring out all of their beautiful fresh aromas. This tea, picked just in mid-April, was bursting with fresh spring flavors of grass & just bloomed fresh white flowers.

White Peony King Organic White Tea, Fujian province, China – Rishi was Organic, long before the USDA Organic seal came into play in 2002. They have built their career on sourcing from environmentally responsible tea farms across Asia. This White Peony King was described as the “Grand Cru of tea” and it well delivered. The tea was smooth & delicate with aromas of magnolia, hints of honey, and a savory saline quality full of umami.  It’s a generally overlooked fact that white tea is the ‘freshest’ of teas. With very minimal processing, most white teas are just allowed to dry out to fully express their pure & delicate flavors.

Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea– As the name suggests, this tea produces leaves at least 4 times yearly always offering a fresh ‘spring’ taste.  Within this category, we tasted two teas of the same cultivar (variety), made in the same way, but one grown in Taiwan & the other in Thailand. Now, we wine-enthusiasts are very familiar with tasting notes in wine & the idea of ‘terroir’; however, I had no idea that Tea could show similar variations based on where they are grown. These two blew me away. The Taiwan-grown tea (where this variety originated) was incredibly fresh reminding me of hydrangeas, fresh lychee fruit, and white raspberries.  In contrast, its Thai counterpart, showed a distinct nuttiness of toasted almond skin, along with bright sweet basil & sage. The comparison was a big eye opener & finding two Oolongs to compare could be a lot of fun!

Vintage Ancient Pu-erh Palace Organic Pu-erh Tea, Yunnan province, China – This tea was another eye-opener as the concept of vintage tea is completely new to me. Pu-erh teas are among the few that benefit from long-term aging, a minimum of 2-years is required before they are suitable for drinking as the teas are fermented and need to mellow out. These teas were from the Menghai Broad Leaf cultivar and we tasted the 2012 and 2009 vintage. The 2012 (just 5 years old) was strong and tannic with notes of bittersweet chocolate; whereas, the 2009 (now over 8 years old) was smooth and luxurious with notes of dark roasted coffee, cocoa, and black cherry.

Flowery Jin Xuan, Organic Oolong Tea, Doi Mae Salong, Thailand – There were so many dynamic Tea throughout the day, it was difficult to narrow down to just 5, but this was a personal favorite. This ball-rolled Oolong is oxidized to give a greenish-golden hue. It has a beautifully silky mouth-feel that made it seem almost milky (which is why this cultivar is often referred to as ‘Milk Oolong’. The tea was pleasant & smooth and smelled exactly of fresh blooming lilacs, which brought me right back to my childhood in rural Maine.

In addition to all of this, we learned that it takes around 35,000 tea leaves (each plucked by hand) to make just 1 kilo of dried tea!

The passion & expertise from the team at Rishi was infectious around the room, I heard question after question from our graduates being met with enthusiasm. It is clear that this is merely scratching the surface in what is becoming an area of interest in more & more restaurants.

 

The Cookie Games 2017 Winners: Browned Butter Masala Chai Cookies

This year’s first place winner of The Cookie Games at the International Culinary Center’s New York City campus came from Professional Culinary Arts students. The duo of Madeline Dudek and Clara Lim chose the country of India as their main inspiration for their original cookie recipe. Creating Browned Butter Masala Chai Cookies, the duo received the highest score among the 10 competitors judged by the likes of Dorie Greenspan (Cookbook Author), Angie Mar (ICC Alumni and Chef/Owner of Beatrice Inn), renowned pastry chef Florian Bellanger, Robb Riedel of Food Network Magazine, and ICC’s President, Erik Murnighan.

The following recipe yields 48 cookies. Try them out for yourself today!


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups butter, unsalted, divided
  • 1-2 star anise
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. chai spices
  • -2 parts EACH ground cardamom and ground ginger
  • -1 part EACH ground fennel seed, ground coriander and ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
  • 4 ½ cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. molasses
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pecans, ground and toasted

For garnish:

  • 1 red beet, peeled and cubed
  • Coconut chips, unsweetened
  • 2 cups white chocolate, chopped
  • Ground cardamom, as needed
  • Ground cinnamon, as needed

    PROCEDURES

Prepare the browned butter by melting 1 cup of butter in a saucepan placed over medium heat with 1-2 star anise to infuse. Stir until nutty and light brown. Remove immediately from the heat and add the chai spices and Chinese five spice. Set aside to cool. While still liquid, strain the butter through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the spices.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the cooled browned butter, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add one egg or egg yolk at a time, scraping the sides occasionally. Add vanilla and molasses and mix. Add all dry ingredients and pecans and mix until just incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out and cut into diamond shapes. Place onto baking trays, lined with parchment paper. Return the portions to the refrigerator until chilled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow cooling before decorating.


For garnish:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a blender, process beet pieces with a small amount of water. Transfer the puree to a cheesecloth lined bowl, and squeeze the juice out. Discard the beet products.

Mix coconut chips with some of the beet juice to dye them red and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes. Allow cooling before decorating.

Melt 3/4 white chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring constantly. When completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add remaining white chocolate, stirring to cool the chocolate. When completely melted, add cardamom and cinnamon, as desired. Drizzle the tempered white chocolate over the cooled cookies.

Before the chocolate sets, finish with a piece of cooled, coconut chip in the center of each cookie.