I’m currently sitting in a library near my mom’s place by the Jersey shore, since she doesn’t have wireless, trying to type very quietly. I just got back from a weekend in Connecticut for a friend’s wedding, though I forgot my camera and have zero pictures. I’d have much rather shared pictures of the scenery at the wedding rather than cookies.
Just for kicks, here’s our trip up there: Started out well enough, swinging by the Triumph brewery in Princeton, NJ for a great lunch (I recommend a visit if you are in Princeton). We sailed along through NJ enjoying the kid free quiet. Then the gas light came on some time outside of NY. No sweat, we thought, we’ll get some after we cruise through NY. About 30 seconds after making that declaration, 95 turned into a parking lot. We were stuck with no exit until after the George Washington Bridge, with the gas light glaring. As we inched along, literally inched, and passed cars stranded without gas, we made the bold move to pull off into Harlem the first chance we had to exit. Now picture my husband combat driving through the crazy traffic in Harlem while I banged on and cursed at the GPS, unable to figure out how to search for gas stations, and griped about the hour-long line of cars waiting to get on the clogged highway we just left. I finally spotted a gas station and was determined to master the GPS in the few minutes I had while my husband pumped gas to find us an alternate way out of the traffic insanity. I pause now to thank Tom Tom. You led us from the streets of Harlem, past the massive jungle of cars, onto a nearly empty alternative highway. And by the way, we were mere blocks from my friend’s apartment, my friend, the bride, who of course was not there as she was in Connecticut for her wedding. We then arrived late in Connecticut for the night-before-party, threw on fresh clothes, and roamed the dark, rainy streets straddling Rhode Island and Connecticut, once again lost. We arrived with about ten minutes left to the event, bid the bride well wishes and downed some wine, beer and chicken tenders.
This is a friend from college, which means I’ve known her for–eek–twenty years. Am I that old? Ow, hand cramp. Yep. I’m that old. After the first day’s travel, thankfully the wedding was gorgeous and fun. The bride and groom designed their own ceremony (held outdoors, because despite the day of gray, gloomy skies and sideways rain, miraculously, the world cleared and the sun came out for the wedding) that incorporated the groom’s Jewish heritage, their own vows, a tree planting ceremony, words for those in attendance, and many other touching touches. One of the best-designed weddings I’ve ever attended. Not to mention, the grounds of the Saltwater Farm Vineyard in Stonington, CT were the perfect setting. And this couple has somehow managed to surround themselves with friends who are all smart, hilariously funny, and just plain fun. And I must mention the groom, his brother, some friends, a friend of the bride’s with a voice of gold and even the groom’s unbelievably adorable little boy took over the band and played a few numbers. They were freakin’ amazing.
I made the cookie favors for all the guests. Given I no longer have the resources of a professional kitchen when I worked at a cookie store, and that I mix up one batch at a time with my little KitchenAid, and I bake one tray at a time, and I’m forced to do my cookie baking post-kid-bedtime-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-night, making 160 or so cookies in a home kitchen is a challenge, to be sure. I don’t do this often In the past, I’ve stuck with crazy simple designs when decorating in bulk. A little circle with polka dots, for example. So wine bottles took things up a notch.
My wine bottle cutter is about 7-inches tall, so only four or five fit on a tray at a time. Imagine how long that’d take just to bake, at about twenty minutes a pop. Not to mention the dough and icing needed for such a feat, mixed one batch at a time. No way. Even for a friend of twenty years. Maybe in my energetic youth. So I downsized. I made my own, smaller wine bottle cookie cutter from a strip of aluminum. And I took a mini carrot cookie cutter and spread apart the bottom. Done and done. Wine bottle and grapes. They were packaged as a set in a cellophane bag with purple and green ribbon. Sure, the cork is now totally disproportional to the shrunken wine bottle, but only geeks like me would notice that. Right?
So this very long post is primarily to ask for your forgiveness if my posting and replying to email is spotty this week, as I’m out of town and relying on the kindness of the local library for wireless. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!!