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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cookie Buffet: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I totally dropped the ball on taking pictures of these while baking. Even though I make them all the time, this is the only picture I seem to have:

White chocolate macadamia nut cookies are one of those cookies that I make pretty often. It was the very first recipe I considered "mine" because I just threw it together one day, and it worked great.

The Cookie Buffet: Pierniczki

Because I had included Greek cookies in my cookie buffet, I figured it was only fair to include some Polish ones too -- the only problem was that I didn't know of any! A little research online, and I found what seemed to be the perfect cookie choice: pierniczki, a Polish ginger-honey cookie. These are traditional Christmas cookies. They are also traditionally rolled out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, but I decided to bypass that and convert the recipe into a drop cookie dough. In order to do that, I adapted the flour to fat ratio of one of Paula Deen's ginger cookie recipes, and tweaked it into a pierniczki dough that could be dropped by a cookie scoop.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cookie Buffet: The Greek Cookies

When I finally decided to do the cookie buffet for my bridal shower, I knew that I had to include some Greek cookies to honor my heritage. My favorite Greek cookie of all time, finikia, is a honey-dipped spice cookie perfect for autumn, but believe it or not, I've never gotten around to making them before. I usually just make the rounds of local Greek festivals to get my fill. So, because I didn't feel like debuting yet another new recipe (I already had 2 other new cookie recipes planned), I decided to stick with what I know.

In my house, we make two kinds of Greek cookies, mostly around the holidays: koulourakia and kourambiedes. I forgot to take pictures while baking, so I included a later pic of koulourakia as an example of the traditional shape. The pictures of the cookies in the basket below are the ones from my shower.

The Cookie Buffet: Details

I knew fairly early on that I wanted a sweets buffet as part of my bridal shower. Well-coordinated candy buffets have such a stunning effect, that I fell in love with the idea of a Halloween or autumn themed candy buffet, something gorgeous like this or these. But, budgets are always an issue, so I downgraded to the idea of a Halloween candy buffet, for the reason that there would be plenty of Halloween candy around in the middle of October, so it would be easier and more economical. I was right on this point, it would have been cheap (relatively) and easy, but something about the concept of a Halloween candy buffet 2 weeks before Halloween still wasn't sitting right with me. And then I hit upon a great idea, and I have no clue why I didn't think of it earlier: a cookie buffet filled with homemade cookies!

This had all the elements I wanted: homey, rustic, baked, etc etc. And although I love baking anything and everything, cookies make me especially happy. So I chose my cookie types and got to baking, starting about 3 weeks before my shower. And I had to figure out a way to turn this: into the cookie buffet of my dreams!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bridal Shower Preparations: Little Details

As a scientist, I am very detail-oriented. I love details. Big details, little details, any minute way to tie together a theme: I'm there. The great thing about fall is that there are so many little ways to incorporate an autumn-theme into what you are doing. But be careful, not to overdo it, or it might end up looking like this:
This was my house prior to leaving to go set up for my shower. Yes, all those boxes on the floor were just to set up for the shower. It was a lot of work to put together, but I wouldn't change it, I loved how it turned out!
The flowers below I bought the year before, on sale. I bought up all of the flowers that I thought would make nice centerpieces, and then my mom and I arranged them into awesome copper pails I found at A.C. Moore for $1 each (just as awesome for the price as for the look)! In the below pic, they are in the boxes already in their pails, so you can get a feel for how the arrangements were put together. I have a picture of a table a little further down, so you can see the pail too.

Bridal Shower Preparations: Favors and Prizes

As a December bride who also dearly loves autumn, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to plan my October Bridal Shower! The next several blog posts will be bridal shower-related, and although there will be a few which are not directly baking-related, most of them eventually come around to baked goodies in the end (or at least are related to baking).

My shower was this past October 11th of '09, not even two weeks have gone by yet. I hatched on the idea of a fall themed bridal shower pretty early on, in the fall of '08 in fact, which made it a lot easier since I was able to buy a lot of my items last year after the season, at a pretty steep discount. If you have the time to plan, I highly recommend doing the same.