Tukwila’s Le Cordon Bleu shares holiday cookies with community

Tukwila culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, was one of 20 Seattle-area bakeries and culinary schools to participate in CookieFest 2012 earlier this month. Chef Richard Carpenter shares some of his recipes in this article.

Mexican Wedding Cookies become Snowball Cookies for the holiday season

Tukwila culinary school Le Cordon Bleu was one of the 20 Seattle-area bakeries and culinary schools to participate in CookieFest 2012.

The event, put on by the Seattle Milk Fund, took place at the downtown Seattle Macy’s store earlier this month.

The cookies raise money for families and the community who are in need of childcare and education grants.

It is one of the many charities Le Cordon Bleu participates in every year.

“As far as charitable donations and things, we do many in the year,” said Chef Richard Carpenter of the school. “But, just in the fall before the holidays, I’ve participated in about 10 of them.”

The school has been involved with all sorts of community organizations from the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network to Ronald McDonald House charity events.

At Le Cordon Bleu, cookie-making is part of the required curriculum for culinary and pastry students.

On the first day of classes, students learn the basics of creaming with a chocolate chip cookie or biscuit recipe. As the year progresses the recipes get harder. The most difficult cookie recipe the students encounter is probably the French Macaron, according to Carpenter.

By the time the holidays roll around, the students are ready to help the school’s chefs create the cookies for CookieFest.

“Every chef here in the school, we’re each going to make at least two dozen cookies,” said Carpenter. “So, with about 14, 15 chefs participating we’ll have 30 dozen. Some of us we always go overboard, so we’ll probably make quite a bit more than that.”

Carpenter has been baking cookies for 26 years. Some of his favorites are the hazelnut, shortbread Linzer Cookie, filled with strawberry jam and the Mexican Wedding Cookie.

Both were included in this year’s batch of CookieFest cookies, which were sold at Macy’s for $15 a dozen.

“I chose cookies that I’ve been making since the beginning of my career,” he said. “These are cookies that are very classic and they really never go out of style.”

Included in that bunch are French Lace Cookies, Macarons with passion fruit buttercream and Amarettis.

“We try to hit on a lot of different countries as well when we do the holiday cookies,” Carpenter said.

This year’s batch of cookies are not only used in tea service and at fine dining restaurants after dinner, but some are used as decorations for the holidays.

The Linzer Cookie can be made as a full-sized tart and served as a dessert.

The recipes

Snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cookies

• 2 cups butter

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

• 4 cups flour, all-purpose

• 1 cup pecans, chopped

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Using the creaming method, blend together butter powdered sugar, and vanilla till light and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and blend just till incorporated. Scoop one ounce onto baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool, then roll in powdered sugar.

Amoretti Cookies

• 1 pound almond paste

• 1 pound sugar

• 1/3 pound egg whites

• 1 tablespoon amaretto liquor

Blend together the almond paste and sugar till all lumps are gone. Add a little egg white at a time, scrapping often to eliminate lumps. Then blend in the amaretto liquor. Pipe onto greased and floured sheet pans and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned. Now dust with powdered sugar and serve.



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