Wedding planning is never a piece of cake. No matter when you start, there always seems be be a crunch for time. Details slip through the cracks until the last minute and you wonder how you could have overlooked them. It can be a messy business.
Planning always works best when people come together. Ideas begin to take shape and beautiful things happen. This spirit of teamwork reminds me of my favorite wedding tradition from Western Pennsylvania: the Cookie Table.
You might have no idea what I'm talking about or you may have seen pictures of this phenomenon on Pinterest. Sometimes called a "Cookie Bar," the Cookie Table is a (multi-table) buffet of cookies and other treats (truffles, chocolates etc) that has always been a staple of weddings in the Pittsburgh area. I've even seen them at baby showers, bridal showers, graduation parties, holiday gatherings... you name it! It seems that Western Pennsylvanians will take any chance they can to incorporate a Cookie Table in every celebration.
What really makes this tradition special is that family members and friends often contribute freely to this table, volunteering to make and bake the treats themselves. Sometimes invited guests even call to ask what they can contribute!
So, if you're planning your first Cookie Table, whether you're baking, buying or praying for cookie donations, here are some tasty treats and staples to consider!
1. Peanut Butter Blossoms
It's a family favorite! Trying to avoid peanuts? Substitute the peanut butter cookie dough for something more allergy-friendly like sugar cookie dough.
2. Pecan Tassies
They're like bite-sized pecan pies with cream cheese dough as the crusts, and they're nothing less than amazing. Not everything at the Cookie Table has to be a cookie, after all, but bite-sized goodies are preferred to whole slices of pie.
3. Date Balls
Growing up, I used to call these no-bake morsels "skillet cookies," but these days, with cast iron making a comeback, skillet cookies are something entirely different. Date Balls are sweet, crispy and everything you could want in a no-bake.
Most people call them whoopie pies, but in Pittsburgh, they're gobs. What's not to love about these cake-like sandwich cookies? The flavor combinations are endless. Pick a cookie. Pick a filling. Go crazy!
5. Crinkle Cookies
Crinkles look fancy, but they are so simple to make. I can't sing their praises enough! While only chocolate is pictured here, you can make any flavor you like, as long as you've got a box of cake mix. Strawberry and lemon are my favorites!
6. Sugar Cookies
Fun to make and versatile, sugar cookies can come in any shape or color you prefer. This recipe is fantastic for cut-out cookies. Top them however you like!
7. Chocolate Chip Cookies
It's hard to find someone who will say no to a chocolate chip cookie. Everyone has a secret family recipe (my family prefers Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies), but if you can't find yours, just check out the instructions on the back of your bag of semi-sweet (or special dark, or white chocolate) chips!
8. Cherry Cream Cheese Almond Cookies
While I'm not a big fan of rolling cookies in walnuts (you can leave that part out if you like), this cookie is a delight. If you don't like cherries, you could always press your thumb on the top to make an indentation and bake with a tiny dollop of jam in the crevice. Bonus!
Cinnamon + sugar = deliciousness! These always bring back fond memories for me.
10. Seven Layer Bars
11. Lady Locks
While I've never tried to make these myself, I was lucky to have a family friend who was skilled enough to make some for my Cookie Table. From what I understand, they require a lot of work, and it shows! Also known as "clothespin cookies," these filled cookies are light, airy and lovely.
12. Oatmeal Cookies
Oatmeal cookies are great, but I'm not crazy about raisins. Lucky for me, you can use any dried fruit you like when making these cookies. Try cranberries or apricots... or go crazy and skip the fruit (and add butterscotch chips instead)!
13. Lemon Coolers
Who doesn't love a good powdered cookie? Or a good lemon cookie? This is the best of both!