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The Wedding, Part I

When my mother suggested that we run an extension cord from the barn to the field where I was to to be married, and plug the extension cord into her karaoke machine, and use the karaoke microphone to amplify the ceremony, I knew we had a problem.  I must have winced, because she added hastily, “Well, it would be cheaper than renting a sound system.”

She was right about that.  The estimate I’d gotten for a sound system was a whopping $700, and that was in addition to the cost of the band that would be setting up its own sound system in the barn.  The band, of course, was in addition to the cost of renting the barn in the first place, and getting our guests out there by bus, and hiring the caterer, and buying the wine, and renting the chairs and tables and forks and spoons.

But a karaoke machine?  I didn’t expect my wedding to appear in an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, but I also didn’t want it to run in a trashy magazine opposite a story about, say, a drunk groom who ran over himself with his own tractor.  My mother must have sensed my hesitation, because she leaned in confidentially and said, “We could cover the karaoke machine with a doily.  That way, the guests wouldn’t notice if any lyrics scrolled across the screen by accident . . ”

I scratched my head, which was killing me.  The wedding was in five days, and I’d been to a salon that morning where a stylist had shown me what my hair would look like twisted into an updo and solidified with a pound of hairspray.  I yanked out an offending bobbypin and wandered off toward the lake.

The lake posed another problem.  In the pictures I’d seen online it was a smooth emerald green, surrounded by trees and wild flowers and framed by rolling hills in the background.  It was perfect.  We would get married in front of the water, we decided, and have cocktails on the grass before heading into the barn for dinner and dancing.

And now–four days before the wedding–the lake was filled with loud, honking Canadian geese, many of whom appeared to be in various stages of mating.

“Well,” my mother began, “think of it this way.  Canadian geese mate for life, right?  It’s kind of. . . appropriate under the circumstances.”

The male geese arched their backs and jabbed at each other with their beaks.  The lady geese honked.  “I think I’m getting a migraine,” I announced.

“My main concern about the lake,” my mother continued, “is whether the dog will run into it with your wedding rings.”

She had a point.  Scott and I wanted to involve Thunder in the festivities, and had talked about tying our rings to her collar.  If someone unleashed her at the back of the aisle, we could probably count on her to waddle up to the makeshift altar–a farm table with hydrangeas on it–where we could give her a treat and collect the rings.  We weren’t worried about the lake initially, as bulldogs aren’t natural-born swimmers.  But then, a month before the wedding, we took her to Lake Michigan for the first time.  And she loved it.

Thunder at Lake MichiganSo we had a problem.

thunder with gogglesPossibly a big problem.


rosemaryI’ll be back soon with more on the wedding (and other things–oh, how I’ve missed writing to you!) but in the meantime, I must give you this recipe for rosemary shortbread cookies.

rosemary cookiesWe didn’t have a wedding cake; instead, we had a dessert table stocked with homemade pies and cakes and cookies, including these rosemary ones.

They’re easy to make–I was able to churn out three batches two days before the wedding because the recipe is simple and the dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  They have just the right balance of salty and sweet, and they’ve got the classic shortbread consistency—on the dry side but still tender and buttery.

rosemary cookiesHappy weekend, everyone!

Rosemary Shortbread Buttons {Download & Print Recipe}
from the December, 2002 issue of Gourmet magazine.  I didn’t change the ingredients but made a lot of changes to the instructions.


2 c. flour

1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (don’t skimp unless you have to)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 sticks butter (preferably unsalted)

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 to 3 tsp. granulated sugar


In a medium bowl, combine the flour, rosemary, salt, and baking powder.  In a mixer, mix the butter, honey and powdered sugar together until it’s smooth.  Add the flour mixture to the mixer and mix for 10-15 seconds, until the dough is evenly moistened but still dry and hasn’t totally come together.  Flour a work surface and dump the dough onto it.  Gather the pieces together into a round shape with your hands.  Push the shape together a few times and turn the shape over and press down again so that it comes together into a dry but coherent dough.  (The original recipe says “knead 8 times” but I found that excessive.)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

If you have parchment paper or wax paper, lay a piece down on your work surface and then put the dough on top of it.  Put another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out with a rolling pin (into any shape) until it’s about 1/3″ thick.  Remove the top piece of parchment paper.

If you don’t have parchment paper or wax paper, it’s not a big deal.  Generously flour your rolling pin and your work surface and roll the dough out (into any shape) until it’s about 1/3″ thick.

Using a small biscuit cutter or a glass (I used a champagne glass), cut cookies out of the dough.  Transfer them to a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment paper (again, not a big deal if you don’t have any).  You don’t want the cookies to almost touch, but you also don’t have to leave a lot of space between them because they won’t spread.

Sprinkle some of the granulated sugar on top of the cookies.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until you think the cookies are just about to turn slightly golden.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

69 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cindy Rogers #

    Okay…now I love your mother!

    August 8, 2014
    • Oh man, she is the best! She had a lot of good ideas that went, well, off the rails the more we thought them through.

      How has your summer been?? It felt good to be in Virginia for the wedding. It’s just not hot here in Chicago. At all. I suppose a lot of people love that, but I’ve missed the South a lot this summer. Especially the sound of crickets and tree frogs and whatnot.

      August 8, 2014
  2. Love shortbread cookies. Your mother is precious – “just put a doily over it” – ha! Wishing You the BEST – hang in there 🙂

    August 8, 2014
    • I feel like “JUST PUT A DOILY OVER IT” could work for many aspects of my life. Like, when my 1994 Volvo was falling apart last year, I probably would have felt a lot better about it if I’d taped doilies all over the broken bits, like the muffler, the console, etc.

      August 8, 2014
      • Anna F. #

        Love it — sort of taking the Julia Child approach outside the kitchen. Congratulations

        August 9, 2014
  3. The whole location of your wedding sounds so beautiful… karaoke machine or not… I can’t wait to hear more about it! And these shortbread cookies sound to die for. I adore the use of rosemary in desserts, and shortbread is like the perfect canvas for all that flavor. Yum!

    August 8, 2014
    • I keep wanting to pair these cookies with lemon curd or something. Would that be good? Rosemary and lemon, together? But alas, I have never had enough energy or conviction to make these cookies AND lemon curd at the same time. So it’s a mystery for now. How are you? (Actually, I take that back. I will catch up on your blog, which I’ve been woefully absent from during the wedding madness. I’m on it!)

      August 8, 2014
  4. The Sessionista #

    So glad my favorite blogger is back! Looking forward to more posts on your wedding, which sounds like it was funny (in a good way, not a horrifying way).

    August 8, 2014
    • Hello my friend! Thanks for the kind note. Yeah, I was off the grid for, like, two months and it made me sad not to write. There was just so much going on. The wedding was a blast. I haven’t gotten pictures back yet, but I’m excited to see how it looks from a perspective other than the one in my head.

      August 8, 2014
  5. Loved reading this. A shortbread cookie would be my dessert island cookie, so I will definitely be making these.

    August 8, 2014
    • Sara, we actually went to a desert island on the honeymoon and it was TOTALLY BORING. I would need THOUSANDS of different cookies if I had to spend any significant amount of time on one.

      August 8, 2014
      • Hahaha. Thanks for tip! By the way, I can’t believe I misspelled desert…it’s one of my pet peeve spelling mistakes. But perhaps a deSSert island would be better after all.

        August 10, 2014
  6. Congratulations! Looking forward to reading more (though I’m secretly routing for the farm-karaoke combo.)

    August 8, 2014
    • Thanks, Tammy! Yeah, the karaoke machine *would* have been kind of amazing. Especially if the lyrics to a dive-bar anthem like “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places” had scrolled across the screen. . .

      August 13, 2014
  7. Congrats on the wedding! Can’t wait to hear how it went.

    August 8, 2014
    • Thanks, Ashton! The wedding was super fun. And while it went by quickly, it didn’t go by in a *blur*, which I’d been worried about. I can’t wait to get pictures back from the photographer so I can show you what it looked like.

      August 13, 2014
  8. We are happy that you are including Scout in the wedding party. Congratulations.

    August 8, 2014
    • Thank you, thank you! Sadly, Thunder’s fancy new white velvet collar with sparkles got left at the house on the day of the wedding, so she went down the aisle in her ratty old purple harness. Oh well! It was still awesome.

      August 13, 2014
  9. sue ellen #

    Waiting to read about the wedding festivities !!! Missed your great tales filled with fun ~~~
    Best wishes to you and Scott !!!!

    August 8, 2014
    • Thank you so much, Sue Ellen! We did have so much fun at the wedding. I can’t wait to get pictures back so I can show you what it looked like!

      August 13, 2014
  10. Kath the Cook #

    Welcome back! Can’t wait to hear more and I will be making the cookies.

    I secretly root for Thunder to bolt for the lake, but certainly that the wedding rings are firmly tied into place and not in danger!

    August 8, 2014
    • Hi Kath! Thunder managed to steer clear of the water, but that’s not to say she went down the aisle in an organized fashion. She was kind of a loose cannon but that was the point–it made it pretty funny.

      August 13, 2014
  11. Jen Hayek #

    I keep re-reading the first paragraph. Your mom has a karaoke machine?

    August 8, 2014
    • Jen, she does. And she totally suggested we use it. I gave it to her for Christmas two years ago. We should make her bring it to the next beach week!

      August 8, 2014
  12. To begin with CONGRATULATIONS and a big HUG!!!! Hope you had a blast!!! Your mother’s awesome…mine would die at the thought a karaoke machine at the wedding…doily or no doily…original sound system it ought to be according to her…even it means going to the bankruptcy court before the marriage registrar

    August 8, 2014
    • Hi hi! Thanks so much! It was so fun. It came and went so quickly but I did feel fully aware of everything that was going on and (to my amazement!) I didn’t cry through the ceremony, which I had been worried about. It was so lovely. I can’t wait to get pictures back to show you.

      August 13, 2014
      • oh!!yes!!!! You HAVE to put the pictures up soon!!!

        August 13, 2014
  13. Ooh, a wedding! See what happens when I haven’t been around for a while! I can hardly wait for the next instalment, and in the meantime, I’m going to go back and time to see what came before this. And possibly whip up a batch of those cookies to nibble on while catching up. Congratulations!

    August 8, 2014
    • Thank you so much, Marlene!

      August 13, 2014
  14. Congratulations on the hitchification!! About how many of these cookies is the recommended amount for fitting in one’s mouth at the same time? I don’t want to be terribly gauche. I want to be just the right amount of gauche.

    August 8, 2014
    • You know what I should have registered for? That amazing black platter that you take your farmer’s market photos on. Where on Earth did you get it?

      The answer to your question is ALL OF THE COOKIES.

      August 13, 2014
      • The little black platter I have been using for this series is cast iron and I actually found it for a couple bucks at a thrift store! I think it might be one of those Mexican restaurants use to serve fajitas on? I can’t imagine another reason to make a cast iron plate… Thanks for the cookie tip! Now I know I’ll never be embarrassed at parties!

        August 13, 2014
  15. jessica #

    I need to read more! Not about the cookies, but all the other wedding stuff! With mine coming up and your most amazing writing talent, it both calms me and gives me last minutes ideas. Keep going! Sincerely, an anxious bride-to-be and huge Katherine & Scott fan

    August 8, 2014
    • Hello, Jessica! Thank you so much for the kind words. I totally want to write about all the things I made for the wedding, but I’ve been hesitant to because I don’t have the photos back yet, and some of the DIY stuff will be so much better explained in a picture. But I guess I do have something to say about decisions we made that I was really happy with. I should write them down. When is your wedding? How is prep going? What work is left to be done? I’m so excited for you and want to hear all about it.

      August 13, 2014
  16. I’m so glad I ran across your blog, and the cookies look marvelous – but not nearly as marvelous as your story.

    I love how it starts out, “When my mother suggested that we run an extension cord from the barn…I knew we had a problem…” It just made me smile, imagining her. Although, I may very well have thought I had a problem before then…long before then. Like when I discovered my mother had a karaoke machine in the first place!

    It is rather too bad, isn’t it, that doilies have fallen out of fashion…I imagine they could cover all manner of sins. When I was a child and ready for church when staying with relatives and had no hat with me, I remember them pinning a doily to the top of my head with bobby pins…

    August 9, 2014
    • I had to check back with you, today. Last night my sister was reading my latest post, The Inner Sanctum Chocolate Cake. It’s a cake that is so delicious (also reworked from an old Gourmet) but so ugly, I only serve it to the family and close friends. I don’t bring it anywhere.

      She was like, “Ooooh, it’s THE cake!” Yeah. “Can’t you take a better picture?” No, I tried and tried, and I tried again, today. It’s so dark I just can’t make it any better, no matter what kind of light I take it in.” And she said, and this is what sent me into a paroxsysm of laughter, having just read your story…

      “Can’t you put some strawberries on it?” Nope, it’s just a homely cake. Dressing it up just doesn’t disguise it. It almost makes it worse.

      “Well,” she said, “How about a Doily?”

      I’m still laughing…she might be related to your mother; I know I’ve questioned many times, bless her heart, whether my baby sis is really and actually related to me….

      August 10, 2014
      • HA! That’s awesome. I took a look at your chocolate cake and it looks positively scrumptious! But I know what you mean–I rarely make cakes anymore unless I’m just making them for me and Scott because no matter what I do they always look RIDICULOUS. I just don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to stacking layers and working with icing. I should probably take a class somewhere. I wanted to make a strawberry cake for the wedding because I have a delicious recipe, but I didn’t because I knew it was going to look like a total mess. I guess I could have pulled it off if I had poured the batter into cupcake tins and iced those, but the idea of transporting 40 cupcakes to the venue was daunting.

        Aaaanyway, I love the image of you as a young girl with a doily pinned to your head! That’s so awesome.

        August 13, 2014
  17. Please don’t take this the wrong way but that’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in ages – I can’t wait for the second instalment. Very many congratulations on your wedding and many happy anniversaries to come.

    August 9, 2014
    • I’m so glad! Thanks for the kind words, Linda.

      August 13, 2014
  18. GAH! This is one of the best things I’ve read in ages! I can’t wait to read the rest… Also, can I just say that scrapping the wedding cake in favour of a dessert table is bonkers brilliant? Cuz it is. Most wedding cakes (and I feel I can say this as a baker), aren’t that awesome. Heavy cakes built to support piles of fondant and gum paste? No thanks. I’ll have a piece of pie instead.

    August 9, 2014
    • Helllloooooooo! Oh, how I’ve missed you. You know, I thought about writing to my benefactor, Kanye West, and asking him to give you a handsome stipend and pay for you to fly to Virginia and make my wedding cake. But then I realized that you’d prefer an amateur pie any day, so I didn’t.

      August 13, 2014
  19. Gail Hart #

    So happy for you guys and so happy you are back blogging! You keep me laughing!

    August 9, 2014
    • Aw, thank you so much for saying so, Gail!

      August 13, 2014
  20. I got a headache just reading about this. Weddings. Yeesh! But it sounds like you survived and, maybe, even, had fun. I hope Thunder wore her goggles down the aisle (I’m guessing Seymour just couldn’t be trusted in this regard).

    August 9, 2014
    • Yeah. Oy. I am definitely glad the planning is over. I had an excel spreadsheet that I preened for a month, like an obsessed chimpanzee. But it was amazing to see everyone who came, and so touching that they had all taken the time and expense to travel there to be with us. That part was kind of mind-boggling. The whole thing was very exciting—as soon as people got into town that week, things just kind of took off and it was like being a horse on a racetrack, but not in a bad way.

      Thunder was supposed to wear a new, white velvet collar with sparkles on it BUT WE LEFT IT AT HOME. Can you believe that? So she wore her ratty old purple harness. Ah well!

      August 13, 2014
  21. Hilarious post and adorable pup! I can’t wait to read more. 🙂

    August 9, 2014
    • Thank you so much for reading, and for the kind words.

      August 13, 2014
  22. Congrats! Sounds like it was a wild ride; your mother was cracking me up during this post.

    August 9, 2014
    • Thanks, my friend! I liked your recent post about eating more fish–I did the same thing on our honeymoon since we were at the beach. Now that we’re back in the city I’m looking for good seafood recipes so I can keep up the streak I had going.

      August 13, 2014
  23. I feel your pain! and on top of everything else things you think are cheap add up really quickly and then you have a bajillion dollars worth of “great deals” and… /sigh. GOD SPEED AND GOOD LUCK LADY! i’m sure it will all go perfectly smoothly…and if it doesnt – you’ll still end up married at the end of the night so who cares? ❤ Your wedding sounds lovely (i guess my invite was lost in the mail?) Guess I'll just make some of these cookies and then pretend that I'm there while I eat them 🙂


    August 9, 2014
    • Good lord. The expenses do indeed add up, as do the number of sheets on my excel spreadsheet—like the ones labeled “inventory,” “guest list,” “cocktail hour playlist,” “expenses,” “timeline,” “gifts”. . . . and on and on. But at some point, I got zen with it all. The fact that our friends and family dropped everything and booked flights and drove long distances, all to be there with us, was mind-blowing. It was so much fun!

      August 13, 2014
      • Any tips on wedding favors? I seem to be at a loss… and everyone is flying across the country so it needs to something that they can stuff in a suitcase …

        August 13, 2014
  24. Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life together. You already the main necessity for a successful union: a great sense of humor. I can’t tell you how often that sucker’s going to come in handy! But since you’ve been planning and executing a wedding, perhaps you already have some idea. I can’t wait to hear how the rest of it went!

    August 9, 2014
    • Thank you, Stacy! Yeah, we really wanted our wedding to be part serious, part funny, so we had a hilarious friend of ours who is a great comedian and performer give a little speech before we exchanged our vows. It totally worked. I loved it.

      August 13, 2014
  25. Love reading this post… Thunder with swimming glasses is amazing! Can’t wait to hear more about your wedding… the cookie have to be amazing, I’ve recently discovered how good is rosemary in sweet recipes! Have to give these biscuits a go!

    August 9, 2014
    • I agree–rosemary is great in sweet recipes and I’d like to try more of them. Thankfully, my neighbors have a huge rosemary plant (bush?) and they don’t mind me pilfering from it!

      August 13, 2014
  26. Congrats!!!!

    August 10, 2014
    • Thank you, my friend! It was a blast and then we went to the beach. It’s been a good month.

      August 13, 2014
  27. Congrats! And who says you need a wedding cake? I can still remember my mother fretting about my nontraditional wedding cake (sheet cake coated in ganache and decorated with icing ribbons). But we loved it. I can’t imagine what she would have done if we had cookies 🙂

    August 11, 2014
    • Your cake sounds lovely. Anything with ganache is a win, I think!

      August 13, 2014
  28. Anika #

    Oh how you’ve been missed! Congratulations! And oh your mother, so sweet and helpful! 🙂

    August 11, 2014
    • Thank you so much, my friend! What a whirlwind it’s been.

      August 13, 2014
  29. jenny_o #

    I was just thinking the other day that you should be married by now, and lookee here … confirmation! So glad you had a good day!

    August 13, 2014
    • Yeehaw! We did it!! It was a 5-month engagement, and in retrospect that was a perfect amount of time for me–I got a lot of DIY stuff done but it wasn’t so long a period that we procrastinated or felt like it was drawn out.

      August 16, 2014
  30. Mary Corbett #

    I love this dough. The cookies are firm, but still flaky and not at all heavy. I do think that sifting the powdered sugar could have helped because I think I over mixed trying to get all the lumps out. I am not a big fan of rosemary in desserts so I made a ginger version (1 tsp ginger powder with the flour + 2 heaping Tbsp chopped crystalized ginger in the batter). So good! I am testing out a citrus version today (1 tsp lemon zest + 1 tsp orange zest mixed in with the flour). We are going to try both kinds dipped in dark chocolate. I will keep you posted.

    Question for you–I want to make these for my brother’s wedding at the end of the month. Its a destination wedding and we have a few travel days in between when we leave my house and when I will have access to a kitchen again. Do you think that I can bake them 4-5 days ahead and have them still be good or would it be better to take refrigerated dough with me and bake them all when I get there?

    Thanks for the great idea and great recipe!

    August 15, 2014
    • Mary, thank you so much for telling me about this–I’m going to add a note right now that says ginger is a good substitution, and I’ll also edit it to say that sifting the powdered sugar helps. Thank you!! How did the orange and lemon zest ones work out?

      I made these again last week and I thought they kept beautiful for DAYS in a sealed container. Like, definitely a week. I didn’t taste a difference in the quality even after so long. (I actually kept mine in a ziplock but for travel a sturdier container would obviously be better). I’d make them in advance rather than take the dough with you.

      Have so much fun at your brother’s wedding!

      Don’t you think they’d be good as a savory cookie if we put black pepper in them and ate them with red wine?

      August 16, 2014
      • Mary Corbett #

        Black pepper = Yes!! I also considered more of a spice cookie instead of the ginger with cinnamon and allspice. Pepper would go so well with that mix. The citrus cookies were great. The kids liked them more than the ginger ones. It is 150 deg in my house right now so the chocolate coating didn’t harden very well when I tried it last night, will let you know how it turns out if it ever solidifies.

        Variations are endless! So glad you shared this fantastic recipe!

        August 16, 2014
  31. Congratulations!! On the wedding – the exciting baby news – everything! I may be reading these in the wrong order but I’m in an airport terminal and time has lost all meaning…
    Your wedding sounds beautiful, I can’t wait to hear more. Especially because it sounds very similar to my recent wedding which also involved a lake, a barn, dinner, dancing, and wonderful suggestions from mothers – I’ll be keeping posted (:

    August 17, 2014
  32. Congratulations on so many fronts!!! And so many yumms to this shortbread. YUMMMM. I’m in Michigan now so when you talk about jeans and sweatshirts (in your forward post from here), I’m a lake hop away and say, I Know Exactly What She Means! Wishing so much joy to you and Scott and doggers and now new babe! XOX

    August 20, 2014

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