By Andrea Bosco
Thousands of cookies on one table — it’s perhaps one of the best, most mouthwatering parts of a Pittsburgh wedding. From Pizzelle to Lady Locks, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers take part in intense bake sessions prior to the big day. Families haul the holy confections into venues across the region by the dozens — certain it’s sacrilege to do without. Though today, brides are looking beyond the baked goods for additional pastries and desserts as a bonus, according to Rania Harris of Rania’s Catering. “It’s almost a religious experience,” she says. “It’s a family collaboration. We’re having a lot of brides say their families are going to bake, but they’d like to add some of my pastries, too.” Harris provided us with a taste of her exquisite miniature pastries for our photo shoot, which included Petit Fours, Fresh Fruit Tarts, Vanilla and Raspberry Pyramids, Marzipan and Bavarian Slices, and Key Lime Tarts. For the old-world Italian element, Ann Vickers of Bella Dolci Cookies churned out five dozen traditional cookies with flair — Marbled Blossoms; Cherry Cheesecake Cookies; Trillionaire Brownies, with layers of caramel, cookie dough, and ganache; Chocolate Sprinkles Sandwich Cookies; and Coconut Macaroons. Classic in size, one WHIRL Publishing staffer described them as, “Unquestionably fresh, cake-y, and moist.” We incorporated Mediterra Bakehouse’s artisan sweets in the form of Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti; Brown Sugar Short Bread Cookies, filled with chocolate ganache; Double Chocolate Brownies; Chocolate Chip Cookies, sprinkled with sea salt; and Mr. & Mrs. Embossed Sugar Cookies, which added robust flavor and an alluring dominance to the table. As tradition goes, guests pile their plates, then prepare to package. The morning after is a guaranteed breakfast of champions.