Hello bridal beauties! Is anyone else ready for spring yet? I've spent the day working from home due to the ice-pocalypse that is currently upon the lucky of us in the Midwest. Since I didn't have the 2+ hours of commute time today, I got to spend the evening doing a little extra fun research. First, of course was honeymoon planning (because I so desperately want it to be summer.) But, thats for another day. What I also was thinking about was my COOKIE TABLE!
Of course we are having cake. And, as you probably remember, we're also having cupcakes. But cookie tables… Cookie tables are a tradition in my neck of the woods. Some say it is an immigrant tradition that took hold in the Depression-era, when people did not have money for big elaborate weddings and cakes. Wikipedia says “cookie table” is an Italian/Catholic tradition, (however I am neither, I guess I fall into that “industrial center” category they discuss). In that case, guests would bring cookies to share with others as the dessert for the nuptials. Check it out, the NYT even wrote about it, it's legit.
Until I came to college, I did not know this was not normal. I thought everyone had a cookie table. Actually, I can remember one wedding from within our church that didn't have a cookie table and what talk it was! “Did you hear they aren't having a cookie table?” “What will we snack on after dinner?” “I offered to make cookies but she said they aren't having a table?!” I'm not kidding. These are all real comments I can remember. Now, they are in vogue, and people call them “dessert bars,” or “sweets tables.” But, I'm a traditionalist when it comes to this, and it will always be a cookie table.
See a cookie table is great because nothing can hit the spot when you want a little something late in the evening like a cookie. I also want to set out some bags for people to take a few with them. The main complaint with cookie tables is that there are always a lot left over at the end of the night. I'm thinking that I will include some plain old inexpensive brown paper lunch sacks for cookie “doggie bags.”
If you looked at the NYT article, you will now know that a lot of planning goes into the cookie table scene. You have to make sure you have an adequate array of flavors – which will please a large amount of people. You also want some variety in texture, shape and size to be visually appealing. MOST important is the inclusion of particular family favorites or cookies with special meaning. The best part: cookies can be made ahead and frozen! Granted you shouldn't start until about 3 months before ( so for me, I'm way early), but if you figure 3 months before your wedding, you probably have about 12 weekends, spend one day a weekend baking, you can get a LOT done. Another great thing about cookie table: you don't need to worry so much about having “enough.” You have what you have, and that's all you have!
So for my cookie table, I must include family favorites including:
- Great Great Aunt Nan's Sugar Cookies (this is the “family secret” recipe which cannot be divulged).
- Mom's Chocolate Chip (gotta have the originals)
- NanNan's Date Pinwheels (my favorite christmas cookie that ever was made).
I also desperately want to attempt tackling French Macarons. That blessed angel of domesticity, Martha, has a recipe that looks SOMEWHAT manageable (as opposed to most of the others that use weight instead of volume measure, which just makes me look at the recipe and say… nothanks). Check out Martha's recipe.
I love these Macaron Trees that people make, and I think with a styrofoam cone and some royal icing, this is totally tackle-able. A fairly easy to follow How-To is available from Project Wedding
(P.S. Is it “macaron” or “macaroon”? I've seen it both ways, who knows?: you people know what I'm talking about.) If you live anywhere near Columbus, OH and you haven't had a Macaroon (macaron?), get thee to a Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream near you and get a delicious ice cream sandwich, and you too will fall in love with the wonder of french macaroons.
And if you aren't lucky enough to live in Columbus, go get some of their ice cream through mail order at their website. I'm serious, it is that good and that worth it. If not for my dedication to my fitness for the wedding, I would stop everyday and get one!
Then, I want to do some “theme-y” cookies. So, I have some news. we are having a cool Derby theme yes, but…not mint juleps. See Mint Juleps are pretty expensive (not only are they liquor but it takes a LOT of liquor to make them!) and honestly, they aren't the best “drink” to serve. They are heavy and HARD, man. So, since we aren't having the DRINK, I want to make some mint julep cookies!
Thank you Maker's Mark for this lovely CHOCOLATE mint julep cookie. Hell ya.
Bourbon Balls are also a necessity. I think I like this recipe for Coconut Ganache ones which will be a little more unique than just plain old chocolate Kentucky Bourbon Balls.
Martha also had these wedding cake sugar cookies, which are adorable…
However they look a little labor intensive for cookie buffet material. Whoopie Pies are a necessity though, despite their labor intensive-ness, or maybe I will just send Ryan a box for a little wedding day present since they are his favorites. This recipe uses a box cake mix, so its fairly easy AND cheap (because box cake mix is on sale a lot of times for $10/10).
I'm sure I will think of lots more that need to be included before the day actually comes around. I probably need to find a few bar cookies (because obviously they are the easiest/least labor intensive to make) so that I have some squares in with all these round cookies. Cookie table, Dessert Bar, whatever you call it, it's one of my favorite parts!!