Sunday, February 8, 2009

Singing Telegram

Mr. Bruschetta and I agreed we would prefer to have a friend cantor our ceremony. (The alternative would be selecting the church-designated male or female singer.) We even had the perfect person in mind: Gianmarc (or simply, G), who is married to my bridesmaid Kris. Music is so integral to G's life, we knew asking him to sing during our nuptial mass would be a perfect fit.

Mr. Bruschetta and G, from one of our first double dates several years ago.

With permission from the church music director, to use an "outside" cantor, I brainstormed a way to connect food and music in a neat little package. Although I'd never baked them, I was intrigued by black and white cookies (great minds bake alike, right Miss Stiletto?); something about them even reminds me of music notes.

The dough, with a consistency like a cross between cake batter and "whipped" yogurt, came out surprisingly well. Icing the cookies proved to be the biggest challenge, as each had a little humpback, allowing the vanilla or chocolate side to drip down or roll to the underside of the cookie. Admittedly, they lacked the perfection of authentic black and whites -- but the taste was spot-on. Cakey, with a slight citrus note in the vanilla icing and rich chocolate undertones coming from the other half-moon -- best a day or two after baking, along with a glass of cold milk.

With a box full of treats, I crafted a card, incorporating a quote from Twelfth Night: "If music be the food of love, play on." Kris delivered the package, and a delighted G agreed, then called Mr. Bruschetta to talk it out -- while polishing off the goodies.

We're so happy you'll be singing at our wedding, G!

(No, you're not seeing blurry. I tried to make the fuzzed-out picture [the only one I have of the four of us at Kris and G's wedding!] seem like it's supposed to be like that -- but I really should just get a camera people other than me can use!)

Mini Black and White Cookies

Cookie ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

Icing ingredients

2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Cookie preparation

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

To ice cookies, use offset spatula, and spread white icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Icing preparation

Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If icing is not easily spreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as vanilla icing. Cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.

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