I have something like 802 nieces. They are all lovely girls. Diverse, beautiful, talented and spirited - a bevy of bodacious babes. One of my very favorite nieces, Renee, just got married Saturday. Cousin Bubba TORE UP the dance floor.
When Renee and Dave were planning their wedding, I barged right in and “we” (meaning me – the big mouthed, bossy Aunt) came up with the idea of a “dessert table” – rather than one big,(expensive!) wedding cake. And because they were keeping an eye on their budget and because this family includes some great bakers, I "suggested" (insisted) they have a “potluck” table of desserts. Each family member or friend would bring their favorite or best dessert, enough to serve 12-24 (depending on dessert) people. I "offered" (took over) to coordinate this effort – which, at times, was like trying to herd cats. But everyone was enthusiastic and jumped right in, creating some very wonderful and memorable desserts. I made cards to be displayed in front of each dessert, naming the sweet treat and who contributed it. It was a great success – everyone loved the idea and the guests got to sample many different desserts. Renee and Dave also had a small, beautiful “personal” wedding cake and matching cupcakes made by one of their supremely talented friends that were the centerpiece of the table. The dessert table had such a warm, personal, and fun feeling. I’d definitely do this again.
The suggestion I made to family and friends was to try to keep their desserts easy to handle in a buffet line – no pies, messy cakes, etc. Brownies, cupcakes, cookies, bars, fudges, fruits, anything that could be easily picked up and carried away worked best.
Family and friends brought their desserts right to the reception, and we displayed them on the table, which was already decorated with the cards, candles, flowers and platters. So many people commented on how much they loved the idea and that they were going to “steal” the idea! Knock yourselves out – this isn’t rocket science or patented! Just figure out the number of guests, calculate about 2-3 pieces of dessert for each guest, and send out mass email to friends and family laying it out. Have them RSVP what they are bringing, how many it will serve, and then have fun figuring out weddingish names…”Nana’s Perfect Love Pizzelles”, etc.
Here’s a recipe for some very awesome soft gingersnaps with a buttercream frosting that I made…so easy to make and they went fast! I didn’t even get a picture of them at the wedding…but you can imagine pretty much what gingersnaps look like, with a creamy frosting, can’t you??? There IS a picture of some Barbie cupcakes, made just for the tiny flower girls, which, naturally threw them into a tizzy as they tried to pick out their own personal favorite. Flower girl fight!!!
“Going to the Chapel of Love” Frosted Gingersnaps
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon orange juice
¼ cup dark molasses
Sugar to roll the dough balls in (about ½ cup)
1. Sift together (for me that means tossing with a fork!), the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the orange juice and molasses. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Shape dough into slightly larger than a walnut size balls. Place the “rolling” sugar on a plate and roll the dough in the sugar. Place on ungreased (I definitely would use parchment paper) baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press down dough balls with the back of spoon, flattening slightly.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes (slightly browned and cracked). Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely before frosting. Store in airtight container.
1 box confectioners’ sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup whipping cream
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Beat all ingredients together in bowl until light and fluffy.