Cookie Weekend [ An Annual Baking Extravaganza ]
I believe this was year #13 for my attendance at Cookie Weekend in Wisconsin.
This yearly weekend ranks up there as one of my faves.
Here's the history:
Years ago and years before I was on the scene,
my dear friend Denise, her sisters and mom started getting together the weekend before
(or actually originally might have been the week of)
Thanksgiving to do all their Christmas baking in one shot.
That way, they were together, sharing the load of all that baking,
just gettin' it done.
And then somehow, magically, Michelle and I [another dear friend] were jumbled into the 'sister' category and were invited to come.
So you might be thinking, "That's fine, Alysa, but really, a whole post about baking cookies? I mean, everyone bakes cookies with their friends and families so what's the big deal."
I'm so glad you ask.
we have this secret wildcard that takes our cookie baking
to a whole 'nother level.
The secret wildcard you ask?
Denise's oldest sister Dawn works at a camp outside of Madison, Wisconsin.
And THAT means
we have unlimited access to an industrial-sized kitchen
with huge baking trays
and cooling racks
and a lodge
and, well, just think DREAMY.
We're talking hundreds of dozens of cookies.
[ Not exaggerating. At all. ]
Thirty plus different types of cookies,
including all sorts of fancy candies and
homemade caramels and such.
It really is a sight to behold.
Through the years we try to step it up a notch.
Why wouldn't we?
We've incorporated cookie pj's and aprons some years.
In recent years we've added a huge movie screen in view of the kitchen
so that we can watch "Elf" and all sorts of other Christmas movies.
Laughter aplenty. NO shortage of belly-splitting laughter.
It's dreamy is what it is.
We leave Friday and come back late Sunday evening.
A kid-free weekend full of Christmas shopping
with no responsibility other than
to not burn the cookies.
It's my one weekend that I actually do Christmas shopping, so now that the kids are in school, I drop them off and race out, just as fast as I can, to Denise's, where we begin Christmas shopping our way to Madison!
And on a non-cookie-related side-note,
this year I borrowed my friend Cindy's delicious macro lens;
the first time ever playing with a macro lens.
In short? I want to own one too.
Perhaps a visual of Cookie Weekend would be something you'd enjoy?
Well, okie doke.
To the lodge we go, where all the magic happens.
Mix in a little bit of lifelong friendship.
|Bitter cold weekend but couldn't resist running outside for a wee little bit to play with the macro||.|
|The kitchen. Yes. We're lucky. We know.|
Just a fraction of the actual cookies we bake below:::
|White Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies [ or some such name. ]|
|Raspberry Punch Cookies, yearly baked and perfected by Lois, the matriarch of the family.|
|Oh boy. I'm forgetting the name. Someone help me. I know we dip these in white chocolate, too.|
|Chocolate chip. Every platter's gotta have chocolate chip cookies right? We tend to fancy ours up a bit by dipping in chocolate. Why wouldn't we?|
|Crinkle Cookies. Their crinkle is so lovely. Yes?|
|Nut Rocca. Need we say more?|
|One more glass candy image. Had to take it outside to photograph it so it wouldn't knock us all over dead.|
|Peanut Butter Candy Kisses. Heavenly. And, these particular cookies MIGHT be the brunt of some significant inside jokes. Just sayin'.|
|Oh, Raspberry Swirl Cookies how I do love thee. Let me count the ways. Our very own Denise tackles these every year.|
|Are these White Chocolate Ginger Cookies? I should know this by now but I'm simply forgetting. Shame on me.|
|Spritz Cookies of all colors and shapes. Again, Gabe at her finest!|
The little girls do some sprinklin' and decoratin'.
Lemon Poppyseed Cookies below.
|And they decorate a few of the sugar cookies!|
And while we're on the subject of sugar cookies,
we have yet ANOTHER secret weapon.
A personal sugar-cookie-painter.
I mean, with real paint people. And a real paint brush that she dips in water and such.
Diana feverishly creates sugar cookie masterpieces with that brush.
Take a looksy.
|Diana tried her had at rose-maling (no idea how to spell this lovely word) and did a mighty fine job!|
|I have to say I love all the designs, but I'm smitten by the trees.|
|Oh, and the mittens, too.|
|And I'm wild over the snowmen. Aren't these just the cutest cookies you EVER did see?|
And there are dozens of other types (think stars and Christmas lights and candy canes and winter hats and on and on and on) that I didn't even photograph.
Gonna be honest. It got late into the night,
and quite frankly, I got a tad bit lazy.
Didn't wanna go up to the lodge
to get my camera.
Now I wish I would have so you could see more samples of her work.
But I didn't.
You're just gonna have to
trust me that all the rest are JUST as amazing.
You can't borrow her.
She needs to save up all her
strength for our Cookie Weekend.
She does have one other responsibility for Cookie Weekend, and that is to come up with
a new comedian for us to listen to late into the night on Saturday night while she
finishes up her sugar cookies and we sit around and watch her work.
So this year, we lit the lodge afire
and had everything boxed and labeled
and distributed to the nine of us by Saturday night.
That NEVER happens.
We rocked Cookie Weekend this year.
Just ask us.
|Only a very small fraction of the cookies.|
Found these old photos BELOW [from years ago]
My professional disclaimer:
All are prior to me being a photographer,
when I was going a little crazy with editing features!
A girl's gotta start somewhere, right?
|Pecan balls and brownies and spritz on this table.|
|Candy canes are so pretty ya know.|
|Snickerdoodles above. With a LOVELY dark black border. =)|
|Huge cookie trays where we just keep cycling them through.|
|Video screen with Christmas movies.|
|Diana hard at work.|
|Lovely nails, Diana.|
|Pre-painted sugar cookies by the trayloads.|
|Dawn, the queen of caramel making, hard at it. Not gonna lie. Caramel making is the WORST job of the weekend. We're gonna buy you a life-time supply of ice tea with extra lemon for your efforts, Dawn.|
|Crinkle Cookies resting 'til they cool.|
And speaking of resting.
This little lady needs a rest after that lengthy post.
Hope you enjoyed the visual tour through our Annual Cookie Weekend.
I really must go find me a cookie.