March 10, 2008

Love Fest

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.

Buttercream Frosting
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.


Anj said...

What a fabulous idea. I love weddings!

Emiline said...

Congrats the newly wedded couple.

This is a great idea! I love it. I love the cute cards with the cute dessert names on them.

Those Barbie cupcakes look good. I would steal them away from the little girls.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

and very fun for everyone too! It truly was a hit with the guests.

making up names was the best part...and those little girls would take you DOWN if you messed with their cupcakes!

Jenny said...

I love that idea Catherine,
Much more personal, I love the note cards saying who the dessert is from. The table looked beautiful.

Have a great day girl!!

Julie said...

What a great idea, I have only been to one wedding that did a dessert table rather than a cake and I have to say I liked it much better.Wedding cakes are so expensive and even though they are pretty they don't always taste very good.

Deborah said...

I love, love, love this idea! I wish I would have done this at my wedding, but now I have the idea for the future!

Tracy said...

Awww.... the couple looks so happy.
I have a jillion cousins and do whatever I can to get to all of their weddings. The weddings seem to be getting more personal and less "cookie cutter" than when I got married. I love it.

The dessert table looks incredible. What a great idea. The writing on the cards is exquisite. I wish I could write like that.

Heather said...

Did you change your avatard to keep the gentleman callers at bay?

I love that dessert idea. We had a croquembouche at our wedding to be different and save a buck. It worked!

Rhea said...

I love the dessert table idea for the wedding reception! I'd be touched to know all those relatives contributed to my reception. Very sweet.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

I think the cards were great...the bride is keeping all of them!

I so agree! Most wedding cakes are beautiful but bland and boring tasting.

I have 801 nieces to go! And they want the same idea! And my son is getting married in June and we'll do it there too.

hey, those cards looked a bit crazy! I have no handwriting skills! But thanks!

what are you talkin' about? That IS me! What's a croquembouche?

it was fun to hear why they choose the desserts they did...some were their own family's faves, or some history to it...

Toni said...

What a great idea! I've never heard of guests bringing desserts to a wedding before - but it's so much more fun and engaging to do it that way!

Birdie said...

What a great great idea! I just love it! Did you have the recipes written for the bride to keep?

Sue said...

That is the greatest idea! The fact that you volunteered to "help" should put you in the best aunt category. One less thing for the bride and mom to have to worry about. How many desserts did you end up with?

You're a smart cookie, and your recipe looks good too.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea and it looks like it was a beautiful wedding!
Looks like you have a fun family!

Now hand over the cupcakes!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

we had 17 different desserts! A couple of repeats (brownies), but each unique.

Tartelette said...

Absolutely genius! The spread of dessert is wonderful!

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