Last-Minute Gift Ideas


1. Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories by Christina Tosi. Join ICC alumna Christina and her friends as they cook their way through “weaknights,” sleepovers, and late-night snack attacks to make mind-blowingly delicious meals with whatever is in the pantry.

2. The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking by Samantha Seneviratne. Our grad’s new book is filled with fascinating histories, origin stories, and innovative uses for the world’s most enticing spices.

3. Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. It’s an intimate look at the celebrity ICC Dean and the food he cooks at home with family and friends—200 recipes in all.

4. Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by the editors of Lucky Peach. These recipes hit the sweet spot between craveworthy and incredibly simple and are destined to become favorites.

5. Brunch at Bobby’s: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend by Bobby Flay. ICC alumnus Bobby shares his simplest, most sought-after recipes—while still delivering his signature intense flavors.

6. Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto by Marc Vetri. ICC graduate shares his vast knowledge of pasta, gnocchi, and risotto in this inspiring, informative primer featuring expert tips and techniques, and more than 100 recipes.

7. ICC apparel: t-shirts, hoodies, hats with “Hard Work Tastes Good” and “I Can Cook” designs.

8. Jacques Torres Chocolate. ICC’s Dean of Pastry Arts, Jacques Torres combines traditional French techniques with his vast knowledge and passion for the culinary arts to produce luxe, creative and edgy chocolate treats inspired by the innovative spirit and energy of the city.

9. ICC Gift Certificates. Food gifts are always a hit, but a cooking class from the International Culinary Center will give family and friends valuable skills and techniques to last a lifetime! Check out ICC’s upcoming Culinary and Wine classes.

Gingerbread Cookies with a Fresh Ginger Glaze

By Julia Johnson,
Professional Culinary Arts student

Twinkling lights, crackling fires, the fragrant aroma of gingerbread baking in the oven – these are all things I associate with the holidays. And, seeing that Christmas is only just over a week away (how is that possible??), I wanted to share my go-to gingerbread cookie recipe with you. Please note that these cookies are heavy on the molasses, as I love its rich, deep flavor. This year, I drizzled the cookies with a fresh ginger glaze, which I feel adds a nice spiciness, but they are also delicious just plain. And, unlike most cookies, these are even better the day after they are made – making it even easier for you to get ahead of the game this holiday season. Hope you enjoy!

Gingerbread with ginger glaze

Gingerbread Cookies with a Fresh Ginger Glaze

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1 large egg

For the glaze:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the molasses and egg and beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the spiced flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until about 1/8 of an inch thick (making sure to move the dough frequently so it doesn’t stick. Using a biscuit cutter or small glass about 2-inches in diameter, cut circles from the dough and arrange on parchment-lined sheet pans. (Excess dough can be re-rolled and cut, but may need to be refrigerated again before rolling if it gets too warm).

Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, depending on desired texture – 10 minutes will yield a chewy cookie, while 15 will yield a crunchier texture (make sure to keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn). Transfer to wire racks to cool.

While cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the ginger pieces with the heavy cream. Heat over medium-high heat until the cream just begins to bubble. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to steep for 20-30 minutes. Once steeped, transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

Gingerbread cookie recipe

Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the ginger and cream mixture. Whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick, but pourable. If too thick, add more of the ginger and cream mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Once cookies have completely cooled, drizzle with ginger glaze and allow to rest on parchment paper or a wire rack until the glaze has hardened, about 30 minutes – 1 hour.

– Julia
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Library Notes // Life is one long sheet of pasta

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

Marc Vetri is 1998 alum of the ICC Art of International Bread Baking program and an Outstanding Alumni award winner of 2005. Marc is the Chef and Founder of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Family of Restaurants. Marc is also known for his extensive charity work and writing.

In 1998, he and his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, opened the eponymous, fine-dining restaurant, Vetri, which propelled Marc to the culinary forefront. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, Marc was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating.

Inspired by traditional Northern Italian osterias, Marc launched Osteria in 2007 which now boasts two locations. Amis is a Roman style trattoria, which was named one of the top 10 places for pasta in the US by Bon Appétit, features share plates of hand rolled pasta and house cured meats.

Marc Vetri at International Culinary Center FCI

Following these successes, Marc opened Alla Spina (Italian for “from the tap”) in 2012. An Italian gastro pub, the restaurant boasts 20 beers on tap including both Italian and local brews as well as pub fare. The following year, the group further expanded by opening Pizzeria Vertis which was named one of the Top 25 Best New Restaurants by GQ Magazine. This was followed by the opening of Lo Speedo, a casual eatery with an emphasis on flame cooked food in October 2014.

But Marc is not content with being a wildly successful chef. He is also passionate about giving back to his community and educating children on healthy eating. The Vetri Foundation, founded in 2009, works on several initiatives with a goal of helping the children of Philadelphia to develop healthy eating habits.

Eatiquette is a revolution for school lunch. The Vetri Foundation helps public schools to plan and execute healthy seasonal meals using fresh ingredients. Students sit at small round tables, serve each other and assist with clean up. They learn about portion control and meal preparation.

Another initiative, My Daughter’s Kitchen provides weekly after-school cooking classes to students. For middle school and high school students inspired to continue in the culinary world, the Vetri Foundation provides a thirteen-week Culinary Arts training program hosted at the public library.

Marc Vetri also writes. He is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has published three cookbooks. Marc released Il Viaggio di Vetri: A Culinary Journey in 2008 and Rustic Italian Food in 2011.

Marc Vetri pasta cookbook

Il Viaggio includes recipes for appetizers, pasta, fish, meat and more, along with wine pairings. The book is also interspersed with Marc’s own stories and recollections of Italy. Rustic Italian Food is what Marc calls “A return to real cooking”, which includes a wide range of bread recipes, pasta, salumi, pickles and preserves among others all focused on the theme.

His most recent book, Mastering Pasta: the Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto was published just this past March. Marc opens with, “Sometimes I feel like my life is one long sheet of pasta,” and that certainly shows in Mastering Pasta. Much more than a collection of recipes, it includes his philosophy of life and the kitchen, a lengthy explanation of variations in flour and the anatomy of wheat and, of course, recipes for preparing pasta flour and instructions for shaping the final product.

Mastering Pasta

Marc decided to do the book after seeing Dr. Steven Jones of the bread lab speak on flour and wheat. He then heard similar sentiments echoed throughout Northern Italy while researching the book – fresh wheat is essential to good pasta. Marc discovered that wheat starts to lose its flavor after 48 hours. He now has a mill in his restaurant Vetri, and they are milling their own wheat.

The book also includes “Pasta Swaps” suggesting which shapes will go well with similar sauce and ingredient sets. While the book is probably ideal for a serious home cook with some pasta making experience, the background and explanations are so thorough yet easy to follow that even a complete novice could use Mastering Pasta to get started.

All three of Marcs books are available at the ICC library. Stop by and have a look!

Library Notes // Top Cookbooks of 2015

By Sara Medlicott,
ICC Librarian

One of the best parts about being a culinary librarian is getting the chance to spend time with all the great new cookbooks. I’m getting to know our staff and students well enough that as I make a new acquisition I can guess who will be the first to check it out. Everyone is looking for something different in a cookbook whether it’s new recipes, a great story or pure inspiration. Cookbooks also make great gifts. You can wrap one in an apron, pair it with recommended kitchen tools or wrap it in a basket with the necessary ingredients for a recipe. Here are my top picks for the year, and judging by the circulation records and the ICC community suggestions.

For the adventurous home cook

Do you know someone who is constantly venturing to the outer boroughs to taste cuisine from distant lands? They prefer Siracha, Valentina and sesame oil over ketchup, mustard and olive oil and they probably love Mind of a Chef. These cookbooks are for adventurous home cooks or anyone who is stuck in a culinary rut ready to try something new.

Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook
You might already be familiar with Maangchi from her channel on YouTube, you will find the book has the same tone and feel; though of course it includes much more content. It’s as if a good friend is teaching you how to cook. All the content is conversational and easy to follow.

Mamushka: A Cookbook by Olia Hercules
Olia includes recipes from all over Eastern Europe. This is a great book for someone who likes an involved project in the kitchen, whether it is baking bread, making sweet conserves or fermentation, Olia covers it all.

The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island by Cathy Erway
I have been a huge fan of Cathy ever since I read The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove (check it out!) so I was thrilled to see she had published a cookbook. This book includes a little bit of everything, great information and history as well as all you need to get started cooking Taiwanese food.

Best Cookbooks of 2015

For the foodie who loves a story

I find that there are two camps about wordy cookbooks, people either love the backstory or they just want recipes and photos.

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
Ruth has a lot of fans already, just seeing her name on the cover is enough for most people. Fans of Garlic and Sapphires and Tender at the Bone will be pleased with the memoir aspect of the book, but unlike her other memoirs, My Kitchen Year features recipes much more prominently. New Yorkers will also love all her interpretations of city favorites and the anecdotes about the changing city interwoven in her narrative.

For the lover of classics with a twist

Two of my favorite cookbooks this year also happened to be written by ICC alumni. These selections focus on classic, traditional recipes but not in any way you are used to! Fresh new takes on pasta and deserts, perfect for those who crave comfort food but want a new interpretation.

Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri is perfect for anyone who loves pasta. This book contains enough science, history and detail for people who really geek out in the kitchen but clear, concise instructions and plenty of pictures for newbies.

The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne includes many of the classics you are used to, like rice pudding, gingerbread and brownies but all with a twist. Instead of categorizing the recipes by type or season, they are divided by spice from cardamom to ginger to pepper. If you are getting bored with your baking repertoire, this book is the perfect way to spice it up – literally.

Book Gifts 2015 Food

For the dinner party hostess

This book is for that perfect hostess, looking to try something new. Inspired by a supper club, it’s all about the essentials of an excellent dinner party; great food, great drinks and great company.

The Groundnut Cookbook by Duval Timothy, Jacob Fodio Todd and Folayemi Brown tells the story of the supper club they started in London in 2012 with a goal of bringing the traditions and flavors of Africa to Britian. The book is divided into menus, and each section includes not just the recipes but the story of how each menu developed.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Stop by the library and our librarian, Sara Medlicott, can give you a personalized recommendation. All selections are available in the library and available for purchase very close to school in the McNally Jackson bookstore at 52 Prince St.

Interview with Gary Chan from Bibble & Sip

My name is Gary Chan, I’m the founder & main proprietor of Bibble & Sip, and a 2014 graduate of ICC’s Pastry Techniques Program.

Last week was Bibble & Sip’s 1-year anniversary. Hard to believe it’s been a whole year already. Coming up with the cafe name took some efforts, but at one point Bibble & Sip just fell into place and stuck. “Bibble” is an archaic word that means to eat indulgently; “sip” implies cultured enjoyment. I wanted my cafe to be a casual and fancy experience at the same time, a relaxed environment offering sophisticated flavors.


– What did you do before attending ICC?

I graduated with a degree in Communication Arts, aiming to take part in the family electronics/film business. But very soon I realized it wasn’t a choice of passion. So I detoured from that prescribed route and started my own design company. After many years of hard work that didn’t quite pay off, I reevaluated my life and decided that design was just another safe route devised from the foundation of my former education. If I were to completely abandon what I should logically be doing with my life, where would my passion take me? And that’s how I ended up in ICC.


– What is your best memory from ICC?

There are many great memories, but if I must name the foremost, I would say the train ride home each day. That feeling is so nostalgic, where after a long and tiring day, my body would collapse on the train seat and everything I learned and did during the day got processed through my head. And the best part was, I would be holding the end product of the day, still warm on my lap, with its aroma filling the surrounding, and I just couldn’t wait to share it with my family.

– What inspired you to open Bibble & Sip?

Baking has always been a passion. Running my own business is a personal endeavor. With all the knowledge learned from ICC, I had so many flavor and recipe ideas that needed physical shaping. Thanks to my supportive family, teachers, and mentors (Chef Michael Zebrowski, Chef Michael Brock), those ideas not only took shape, but also shaped my dream cafe.


– What was the greatest challenge in opening your business?

The greatest challenge was overcoming the initial discouragement of an open but empty cafe. The first week when we opened, we pretty much watched skeptical passers-by day after day. All those pastry items (and hard work!) were thrown away at the end of the day, that heartache is indescribable. But we’re quite lucky that business picked up very quickly.

– What is the most rewarding part of running Bibble & Sip?

The most rewarding is seeing our regular customers come back time after time. It gives me so much confidence and gratitude to see the familiar faces. I love the feeling of looking down the line and knowing exactly what the next person is about to order. Of course, it’s also a different type of rewarding feeling to see excited new visitors snapping photos. It means they’re here from good word of mouth.

– Describe a day in your life.

I live about 2 minutes away from the cafe, so my day pretty much starts, progresses, and ends within the few hundred feet radius. I go in early in the morning, check that the kitchen prep is on its way. I make sure all the shifts of the day are covered. Once the cafe door opens, it’s all business with a short lunch break. By now everyone is familiar with the flow of the day so all the tasks are pretty routine. We have a wonderful team that works together seamlessly. My work day ends after the cafe closes, and all the cleaning work is done, which is late, but at least I’m only 2 minutes from home.


– What is your personal favorite drink and food at Bibble & Sip?

My personal favorite drink is just a simple cappuccino. My favorite food is the recently introduced Black Sesame Mousse Hazelnut Chocolate Cake. It’s been a successful new item so far. I’m glad the customers like it as much as I do.

– How do you come up with the new menu items?

It takes me quite some time to push out a new menu item. There is a long journey between the time an idea is formed and when a finished product finally gets put into the display case. It takes experimenting and re-experimenting, changes after changes, giving up then being picked back up again, tasting and reevaluating to finally be satisfactory.

It’s hard to say where inspirations come from, though the basis is generally French techniques and Asian flavors. But some of our best selling items are actually very personal recipes from home. My wife plays a huge role in the filtering process of what ends up on the menu. She was the one that gave me the confidence to sell our cream puffs despite it being such a simple item that I used to make for her as treats.


– What would you tell someone who is looking into starting a career or business in pastry?

I would say, make sure you’re ready to devote 95% of your life into this business. Brush aside all other priorities for this commitment, and make sure that people around you understand. There are so many details that I wish someone had told me about, but every business differs. I mean things like which brand appliance is better than another. Or warnings like, never use this design company for your display case. It was one of my biggest investments I’ve made that turned into my currently biggest headache with all its malfunctions and the manufacturer’s negligence.

– What are your dreams for the future?

My dream isn’t very vast. I’m just constantly reminding myself not to take the current progress for granted, and that I still need to work hard to maintain and improve the good qualities that brought us the well acceptance. If fortunate enough, perhaps Bibble & Sip will one day have other locations!

Bibble & Sip
Bakery cafe
253 W 51 St New York, NY 10019
(646) 649-5116

Green Is The New Me

By Rachel Green
Professional Culinary Arts student

Have you ever changed . . . willingly, yet unexpectedly? I mean really, really worked hard toward something – full speed ahead in one direction (for more than 17 years, to be exact); achieved “success,” made money, earned academic degrees, experienced being “the boss,” saw light at the end of the retirement tunnel . . . and then, without rhyme or reason, other than momentary courage (or “insanity,” according to some), you changed your mind? Who does that? Well, I did! And because I did, I have an amazing opportunity to live my dream and share my story!

My name is Rachel Green and I am still in awe of what happened when I stepped out on faith, embraced change, and challenged my own definition of success. In shifting what I know as an educator and a Southerner to once again become a student and a Northerner, I realize it’s impossible to simply erase a lifespan of knowledge and even harder to change some ole’ habits that used to work . So instead, I find myself tabling what “used-to-be” for memory lane, sopping up the new . . . well, everything, and facing vulnerabilities that will only make me stronger. Alas, to be “green” again and as inquisitive and full of joy as my 2 ½ year-old niece, Navi!

While life as an administrator in higher education ended for me in February 2015, life as a budding entrepreneur and hungry culinary professional began in March 2015 with a homemade video submission to the Rachael Ray Show in New York City! Who knew, other than my mom (Madonna), auntie (Mary), sister (Ruth) and my friend (Courtney), that my salmon patties and grits would be life changing? I do have a very supportive crew who KNEW that if I’d just got out of my own way, great things would happen! But, I still had doubt.

Rachael Ray Show Culinary School Competition

After multiple rounds of competition, including two culinary “cook-offs” judged by Chef Jaques Pepin, I was crowned the grand winner and awarded a few sweet prizes, including full-tuition for a 6-month Professional Culinary Arts program! At the prestigious International Culinary Center (ICC), formerly The French Culinary Institute, in Manhattan, NY, is where I now spend my days butchering chicken, filleting fish, rolling dough, and being made “painfully” aware of just how imperfect I really am . . . how perfect!

Doubt removed, I’ve completed my first term with an “A.” More importantly, I’ve survived my first real look at food as more than a hobby or passion – but as an art-form and industry in which only the best thrive. Make no mistake; peeling away many layers of comfort and familiarity and replacing them with a “large” and “inexpensive” apartment, an “easy-breezy, no one’s ever sneezing” subway commute, and “yes, Chef” (just a few of the many perks I’ve discovered since arriving in NYC), is no cakewalk! Nevertheless, as I inhale the wonderful city of New York and ICC’s 6-month fast-track culinary program, I am enjoying the opportunity, in the moment, to simply be “green.”

I realize that my journey is not just about me. My journey is about reaching people like me – people that know there is more to life than what they’re currently experiencing – people that do not know where to start and when they start, do not know how to keep going! Although I’ve been told that anything and everything is possible in New York City, I know too, that anything is possible for anyone – everywhere – as long as we are inquisitive enough to ask “Why not?” and courageous enough to answer “Let’s go for it”!

Join me as I continue to explore the risks and rewards hidden in “all things new” in NYC! Who knows, someday, you too may wish to be “green” again!

– Rachel

Roasted Parsnips with Macadamia Nut Gremolata

By Julia Johnson,
Professional Culinary Arts student

As Thanksgiving nears, I wanted to share this simple and delicious side dish for your holiday table. It is inspired by a recipe for glazed carrots with hazelnut gremolata from the Level 3 curriculum of the Professional Culinary Arts program.

When I first had the dish I was immediately hooked. The hazelnuts added such a nice crunchy texture to the otherwise traditional gremolata, which paired beautifully with the sweet, tender carrots.

At home, I decided to make my own spin on it – substituting earthy, roasted parsnips for the glazed carrots, and sweet macadamia nuts for the hazelnuts. I also chose to sauté my garlic and parsley quickly in a bit of olive oil to release their flavors, and played around a bit with the proportions of the gremolata. When finished, it turned out to be a dish that I would be proud to serve, and one that I am confident you would enjoy as well.

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, or traveling somewhere else, I hope you give this dish a try.

Roasted parsnips recipe

Yield: serves 6 as a side (with extra gremolata)

For the parsnips:

  • 2 pounds parsnips (about 6), peeled, ends trimmed, and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt

For the gremolata:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole, raw macadamia nuts (a little less than 1/2 a pound)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt (or to taste)
  • zest of 1 lemon

For garnish:

  • 7 ounces full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the quartered parsnips on a sheet pan in one layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven, tossing the parsnips occasionally, until tender, about 30 – 40 minutes.

While the parsnips are roasting, prepare the gremolata: arrange the macadamia nuts in one layer on a small sheet pan. Transfer to the oven with the parsnips and allow to toast, shaking the pan a few times, until golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. (Be careful as they burn easily)! Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop and transfer to a medium bowl.

Thanksgiving side dish parsnips

Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped parsley and sauté, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to drain the excess oil and add the parsley and garlic to the bowl with the macadamia nuts. (The excess oil can be reserved for another use — it is delicious drizzled as a garnish on just about anything: pasta, crostini, hummus, mashed potatoes, you name it). Add the salt and lemon zest to the bowl and stir to combine well.

To plate: in a small bowl, mix the Greek yogurt with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Dollop onto a plate, and arrange the parsnips on top. Sprinkle the gremolata over the parsnips, and serve any extra on the side.

– Julia
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GINGERBREAD Pastry-Ville 2015

Led by Chef Jansen Chan, the Professional Pastry Arts chef-instructors and students at International Culinary Center became kitchen elves this past week, building this year’s gingerbread showpiece.

From the brioche apartment buildings to the doughnut lighthouse to the cracked egg waterfall forming the town river, Pastry-Ville is a sweet lovers’ paradise. The Garden District’s asparagus houses and carrot row houses are made of fondant, while the upside down ice-cream cones turn waffle cones into cozy homes.

With its charming candy cane bridge, jellybean pathways and classic gingerbread house, transporting the 4-foot structure was the morning’s entertainment for passersby in Soho, as chefs and students navigated the long block at a snail’s pace. Says Chef Chan, “Taking a large, complex and detailed sugar showpiece through the streets of Soho on a cart to Bloomingdale’s was risky and a little insane.”

Watch the behind the scenes video by Food&Wine:


  • Éclair Log Cabin (Pate a Choux)
  • Egg Water Tower: it is cracked and is the source for the river and lake (Pastillage)
  • Egg River, Waterfall & Lake (Sugar)
  • Birthday Cake Bakery Store (Fondant)
  • Candy Cane Bridge (Candy Canes)
  • Eggplant Diner (Fondant)
  • Asparagus Trees (Fondant)
  • Carrot Row Houses (Fondant)
  • Cupcake Cottages (White Cake & Frosting)
  • Cheese Wedge Office Building (Fondant)
  • Upside-down Ice Cream Cone Homes (Fondant & Sugar Waffle Cones)
  • Brioche Apartments (Brioche)
  • Doughnut Lighthouse (Pastillage)
  • “Ginger” Statue (Pastillage & Gingerbread)
  • Classic Gingerbread house (Gingerbread & Pasta)
  • Christmas Tree (Gingerbread & Pasta)
  • Palmier Fence (Palmier)
  • Marshmallow Wall (Marshmallow)
  • Ice Sugar Wall (Sugar)
  • Pathways (Jellybeans)
  • Trees (Gingerbread & Pasta)
  • Snowflake Gingerbread (Gingerbread)


Intrigued by a career in Pastry Arts? While gingerbread sculptures is not part of the award-winning school’s Professional Pastry Arts program, the techniques and ingredients used are. To find out more, attend an Open House or arrange a personal tour.

Lavender + Violet Shortbread Cookies

Recipe by Julia Johnson and Elena Ubeda,
ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts students,
Second Place Winners of the ICC 2015 Cookie Games

Yield: 48 cookies


For the Shortbread Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

For the Grapefruit Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • pinch of salt
  • dried lavender, for garnish
  • violet candies, crushed, for garnish
International Culinary Center Bloomingdales demo
Above, ICC’s Director of Pastry Jansen Chan and “The Cookie Games” winners Julia Johnson and Elena Ubeda during their baking demonstration of the Lavender + Violet Shortbread Cookie at Bloomingdale’s.


In a medium bowl combine the sugar, crushed dried lavender, and grapefruit zest. Using your fingers, rub the lavender and zest into the sugar until well combined. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium high until light in color and airy, about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the sugar, lavender, and zest mixture. Increase the mixer’s speed to medium high and beat, scraping down the sides as needed to cream the butter and sugar, about 3-4 additional minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour, followed by the salt. Mix until just combined. Remove dough from bowl and divide into four portions. Shape the portions into fat logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm: at least 1 hour.

International Culinary Center students at Bloomingdales

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, heavy cream, grapefruit juice, and zest. Add a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper. Once dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and unwrap the logs. Working quickly (so the dough stays chilled), roll the logs until they are approximately 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter. Slice 1/4-inch-thick medallions and arrange on the parchment lined sheet pans, making sure to leave a bit of room in between each cookie. Transfer to the oven and bake just until cookies are lightly golden around the edges, 15 – 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Once cookies are completely cool, dip the top of each one into the glaze and set back on the wire racks to dry. While glaze is still wet, sprinkle cookies with dried lavender and crushed violet candies for garnish. Allow to sit until glaze has completely hardened, and enjoy!

Beet Tortellini

By Julia Johnson,
Professional Culinary Arts student

In Level 2 of the professional culinary arts program, we made pasta. I remember being surprised by how simple it was to prepare, and how special it felt to eat. Given a little love and patience, it was remarkable to me what eggs, flour, and olive oil could become.

That day, we made a few different pasta doughs — one basic, that we used to create ravioli and tortellini, and one that we flavored with spinach for a lasagna. While both were delicious, I was especially drawn to the spinach pasta and its speckled vivid green color. Feeling inspired, I asked our chef if other foods could dye pasta dough so brilliantly, to which he replied, “Beets would be nice.”

I have always loved the dramatic color of beets – that deep, magnificent purple hue that seems more fitting of a jewel than of a vegetable. The idea of using them to color a pasta dough made perfect sense.

I went to work on developing a recipe – one that would be simple to prepare, but just as special to eat. The result is a four ingredient pasta dough, dyed a soft pink from pureed beets, and filled with creamy ricotta cheese, toasted almonds, and bright, lemony thyme leaves. The dish is finished with the same ingredients that fill the tortellini, along with a generous drizzle of fruity olive oil. Thank you, Chef Dominique, for the inspiration.

Beet Tortellini recipe

For the pasta dough:

  • 4 medium to large beets, greens removed and peeled [some will be reserved for garnish]
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Yield: 1 1/2 pounds of dough

For the tortellini filling:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry pan until golden
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • flaked or coarse salt
  • sliced almonds, toasted
  • ricotta cheese
  • reserved beets from pasta dough

Cut the peeled beets into large chunks and add to a stockpot. Fill with enough water to cover the beets by 1/2 of an inch. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 40-45 minutes. Remove beets and reserve the water for cooking the pasta later.

Reserve about half of the beets and set aside [these will be used for garnish when plating]. Place the other half in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, add ¾ cup of the beet puree, egg, egg yolks, and olive oil to a medium bowl. Whisk gently until everything is completely combined.

Add the flour to a large work surface and form a mound. Make a well in the center, and carefully pour the beet and egg mixture into it (making sure it is completely surrounded by the flour). Using a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the wet mixture, starting with the inner edges and working outward, until a shaggy, sticky dough starts to form. At this point, knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes, until completely smooth, dusting your work surface lightly with flour if it sticks [be careful not to add too much flour, as it will make the dough too dry]. Once your dough is completely smooth, wrap it tightly in plastic and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.

Once rested, divide the dough into four equal parts. Working with one section of dough at a time, run through a pasta roller, starting on the widest setting. Fold the dough in half, dust lightly in flour, and run through the widest setting once more. Change to the next setting and run the dough through again. Continue to run the dough through each setting one time, dusting the outside of the dough as needed, ending with the lowest, thinnest setting.


Alternatively, if you do not have a pasta roller, you can roll the dough by hand on a floured work surface, moving the dough frequently to avoid sticking, until it is about 1 – 2 millimeters thick. Work with very small portions, and keep in mind that it will take some patience and muscle.

Transfer the rolled dough to a parchment lined sheet pan, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Once you have filled the pan with one layer of dough, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and continue to layer the dough, until you’ve finished rolling.

To form the tortellini, cut the rolled dough into 2 1/2 to 3 inch squares and transfer back to the parchment lined sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap while you prepare the filling.

Beet Tortellini simple recipe

For the filling: in a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, almonds, thyme, salt and pepper. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each square of dough. Working with one square at a time, wet your finger with water and moisten the two adjacent sides of the square. Fold the square in half so that two opposite points meet and form a triangle, making sure to press the dry sides to the moistened sides. Press the sides to seal. Moisten the two far points of the triangle and bring them together, overlapping, to form a tortellini shape. Press together to seal. Repeat with the rest of the tortellini. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook to avoid them drying out. About 10 tortellini per person should be enough – any extra tortellini can be frozen on a separate sheet pan until hardened and then kept in a sealed container. Frozen tortellini can be placed directly into boiling water to cook, just add a few extra minutes of cooking time.

To cook: bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat (you can include the reserved beet water for additional color and flavor). Season with salt. Add the tortellini and cook until just al dente [about 2 – 3 minutes]. Tortellini will float as they finish cooking. Drain and toss immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

To plate: arrange the tortellini on a plate and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, coarse salt, and toasted almonds. Serve each plate with a spoonful of ricotta cheese and the reserved cooked beets.

– Julia
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