Saturday, November 17, 2007

you can't have an italian wedding without a cookie table

among the first thoughts my mom had when the husband and i got engaged was "i'll make cookies!" and it's true, you can't have a (real) italian wedding without a large cookie table. *all of the photographs in this post are the beautiful work of adam lowe, our incredible photographer. he captured our wedding perfectly (including the food!) and we really enjoyed having him be a part of our day. to anyone looking for a photographer, please email me and i'll be happy to gush at length about what a wonderful job adam did. i love our wedding photographs.

now, back to cookies. for months before the wedding my mother was slaving in the kitchen, trying to find the best version of all the classic italian cookies. and to my father's credit, he spent months taste testing every batch. we all sacrificed for this wedding! my grandfather was the final word on authenticity and taste. issuing the highest praise when my mom got a recipe right: "tastes just like my mother made".
when the final recipes were decided on, my mother began baking in earnest and socking away dozens upon dozens of cookies, filling her freezer and leasing space from neighbors when needed.
not only did she bake all these cookies but she and my dad drove from new york to columbus with them and assembled them all on trays the night before the wedding.
the future in-laws chipped in too and soon we had enough cookies to feed the largest army of italian wedding guests one could imagine.
it was so special to have that cookie table for the wedding. to think of all of the hard work, care and love that went into those cookies is really emotional. and to see our relatives dive in with such enthusiasm when those cookies were uncovered was truly priceless.
(photo credit: adam lowe photography)

one of my most cherished wedding gifts is a small recipe book my mom gave me, filled with all of the recipes she used to make our cookies. here are a few of my favorites:

italian fig cookies

2 1/2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 c shortening
2 tbs butter
1/2 c milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c dried figs
3/4 c golden raisins
1/4 c slivered almonds
1/4 c hot water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/4 c white sugar

in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 c sugar and baking powder. cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles small peas. stir in the milk and egg until the dough comes together. divide dough into two pieces, wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until easy to handle.
in a food processor, grind the figs, raisins and almonds until they are coarsely chopped. in a medium bowl, stir together 1/4 c sugar, cinnamon and pepper. add hot water and stir until sugar dissolves. stir in fruit mixture, cover and set aside until the dough is ready.
preheat oven to 350 degrees.
on a floured works surface, roll each piece of dough out to a 12 inch square. cut each 12 inch square into twelve 3 X 4 inch rectangles. using a tablespoon of filling for each rectangle, spread filling long one of the short sides of the rectangle. roll up from that side. place the rolls seam side down onto a cookie sheet. curve each roll slightly.
bake for 20 to 25 min until golden brown.
let cool and drizzle with confectioners icing.

wedding knot cookies

1/2 c butter
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour
3 tsp baking powder

preheat oven to 350 degrees. cream the butter. addin eggs, sugar and vanilla. mix well.
in a separate bowl, stire together flour and baking powder. add flour mixture to butter mixture. use hands to shape pieces of dough into loose knots. bake 8-10 mins. frost with almond icing when cool.

almond confectioners icing

2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbs almond extract
8 tsp water
2 tbs melted butter

mix all ingredients together until smooth. color as desired.

chocolate spice balls

1 devils food cake mix
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 c oil
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

mix above ingredients together and add:
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mini chocolate chips

mix thoroughly and roll into 1 inch balls. it's helpful to use a small amount of oil on your hands.
bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 mins. frost with confectioners icing.
(photo credit: adam lowe photography)


Ben said...

Wow! So many cookies and they all look delicious. I want to try the almond confectioners icing for christmas.

SRH said...

Wow, you did get some great pics of the wedding if those were just samples of his cookie work.

Mom said...

Never did I feel I was "slaving in the kitchen." This was truly a labor of love, which was a pure joy, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat for the love of my life - my daughter!

heather said...

proof positive i have the best mom in the world.