At a recent wedding, the bride urged us to “check out the cookie table, a Pittsburgh tradition!” pointing to a table piled with hundreds of cookies. Interest piqued, the investigating began. Its origin, though disputed, stems from Italian and Eastern European immigrants who desired to bring a bit of their culture to American weddings (and avoid the cost of an elaborate cake!). Just before the wedding, the bride and groom’s relatives bake hundreds, even thousands, of cookies in all different varieties, where they’re displayed on a table at the reception, aptly named The Cookie Table. We searched some of Philly’s best bakeries (Isgro Pasticceria, Termini Brothers, and Belle Cakery) for their most reception-worthy cookies.
Almond Horn: California almonds, almond paste, & bittersweet chocolate
Linzer: shortbread, raspberry, & chocolate
Pignoli: pinenuts from Spain & almond paste; every Italian bakery’s most popular request
Meringues: cassis, honey cardamom, sour cherry saffron & lemon poppyseed – the cassis meringues were juicy, almost tart, and had our mouths watering at the thought of them afterward
Ricotta Cookie: pillow-soft, chocolate drizzle, & lemon; award-winning for their melt-in-your-mouth quality
Scumetti: orange peel, almonds, & cashews; we were told these fragrant bites are known as “brutti ma buoni” or “ugly but good” wedding cookie
Bowtie: pie pastry, apricot filling, & powdered sugar—handsome!
Italian Wedding Cookie: butter, walnuts, & powdered sugar
Pizzelle: anise seeds & anise oil; cooked in a waffle iron, then trimmed with scissors, we think these would be perfect to monogram—check with your baker!