Mom Turner even bought the cookie cutter sometime last October and I remember Jenny describing to me then how she really wanted different colors so the cookies would look like real Autumn leaves on the tables. One of the things about projects like this is I always wonder ahead of time if I'll really be able to pull off such specific requests. Technically, I know it's doable because you see artsy people doing things like that all the time; but I don't feel particularly artistic and often have to think really hard about how to get something to work. Thankfully, I had a few basic elements in place: I knew what recipes to use to get the job done. Soft Sugar Cookies, Royal Icing, Almond Chocolate Chiffon Cake, Wedding Buttercream and some very tasty purchased raspberry filling from Miles Cake and Candy Store. After that, I just needed to work out how many batches we'd need and how long it was going to take me to complete.
I've made cookies for two other weddings now and I've made one other wedding cake. Not a ton of experience, but enough to know that I needed to block off way more time than you might think for each task. If you've ever baked and decorated sugar cookies, you know they're always way more time-consuming than you might think at the outset. The average batch of sugar cookies yields about two dozen and takes all afternoon to finish; multiply that by six and you've got the requirements for this particular baking project. I figured for the cookies it would take one afternoon to mix the dough, one to roll and bake the cookies, one to do all the glazing, one to do the decorating, and one to wrap and finish. For the cake, it was going to take a day to mix and bake, one to fill and first-coat frost, and a third to finish-frost and assemble. That all turned out to be pretty much accurate, except that so many other things came up this last week that it took me all my "project time" (time in the afternoon after usual morning chores) from Monday to Friday to finish the cake.
Looking at the calender, I decided the cookies needed to be completely finished by October 6 (one week before the wedding). When I was thinking this over in August I didn't know I was making a cake, but I did remember from other weddings that some big project usually crops up during that last week and I didn't want to be tied up making cookies at that point. Knowing this was the case, I field tested some cookies in September by leaving them out on the counter for three weeks, tasting them about once a week. By the third week, they were getting a little stale but were still fairly good, so I knew it was safe to have them finished a week ahead of time and still have them taste good for wedding guests.
What I hadn't counted on was that pregnancy really has slowed me down...and how many people on both sides of my family were ready to lend a hand and fill in that energy gap for me! My sisters and mom helped me bake all those cookies - and Leah and Benjamin lent us the kitchen and the freezer for that stage, which I realized about halfway through the baking process would've presented a huge challenge to me in our current kitchen. And Ben single-handedly rolled and cut at least half of the cookie dough. He got so covered in flour and he just kept going like a champ for four or five hours that Sunday afternoon. Kim and Jenny and Grandma and Mom and Jenny's mother-in-law Chris wrapped up and tied them all.
Then there was the cake. Some fun moments: when Jenny showed up unexpectedly as I was putting the cakes in the oven so she got to taste the batter; Katherine coming over for the day and helping me put all the layers together; cutting the center dowel through the layers with a big pair of branch clippers; and getting the cake finally all set up and with it's decorative flowers on it just as Jenny came into the reception room to see it for the first time.
When we got to the reception room yesterday and I saw it all decorated and got the cake assembled, I was very content with how everything came out, especially when I saw Jenny's reaction. I think she and Ken very much enjoyed their wedding yesterday and we got to be a part of making the details work.
Grandma brought her cookie carefully home from the reception and told me today she's not sure she wants to eat it. "Because they're so beautiful and especially I know how much work they were," she said. "Lots of people worked on them. It seems a shame to eat them so soon."
That's a very pleasant compliment.
I'm glad the projects are successfully over, but I've definitely enjoyed all the company it's brought me and being part of getting this big event all ready. It's going to seem pretty quiet around here the next few weeks!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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