Paper Airplanes, Pretty Boys and the Perfect Bourbon Cookie

By Libbie Summers (from my book, Sweet and Vicious –baking with attitude, Rizzoli)
Photography by Chia Chong

Paper Airplane Decorations from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)

Even though I’ve been asked to swim in the lady pond more times than I can remember (I did play semi-pro softball, after all), it’s men that I love. Inspiring men.

Men who can design a room, stitch a dress, paint a canvas, draw a cartoon, drive a boat, catch a fish, host a television show, or take a photo—and look good doing it.

It was my dream to bring some of these dapper men together for the first-annual meeting of the Southern Sartorialists (stylish men living in the South). So I did. And they came. On a cool fall day in Savannah, eight men of all ages met under a two-hundred-year-old oak tree with paper airplanes strewn about: Matt (artist), Josh (yachtsman), Ray (professor), Jamie (TV personality), Cedric (photographer), Anthony (fisherman), and Joel and Mitch (designers). They talked politics, comic books, art, and fashion, and flew paper airplanes in between bites of these lightly sweetened Bourbon-laced oatmeal cookies.
Southern Sartorialist Cookies from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)
Southern Sartorialist’s Cookie
(a salty, smoky, bourbon-laced oatmeal cookie for dudes)
yields 24 cookies

2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked salt (I use alderwood-smoked salt)
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1⁄4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats


Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook the pecans, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, just until they begin to toast. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, and the smoked salt. Remove from the heat and let cool in the pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 1⁄2 cup butter, the shortening, and the remaining brown sugar for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste, bourbon, and cream and beat until well incorporated. Add the egg and beat just until combined. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture in three increments. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer and stir in the pecan mixture and the oats by hand.

Drop the dough by big heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, until the cookies are puy and lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Perfect with two fingers of bourbon.
Southern Sartorialist's Cookie from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Paper Airplanes/after the party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Watch this party come alive!

Event Design: An Artful Appetizer Course

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower
Artist and Model: Katherine Sandoz
Still Photography by Cedric Smith for Savannah Magazine
Production Assistant: Anthony Lunsmann

In this 15-second video snippet you’ll get a peek into one part of the inspiration for my artful appetizer course.

Kewpie Doll Cake Topper

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower
Still photos by Cedric Smith for Thom Magazine
Babies on Fire skirt by Brooke Atwood Design

Watch how this mischievous baby found his way onto my cake and into a magazine editorial.

Tabletop Tuesday: An Enchanting Salad Course

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by Candace Brower
Masking Tape Insects by artist Jamie Bourgeois
Vintage Furniture from Savannah Vintage Rentals

charming, captivating, delightful, bewitching, adorable, lovely, attractive, fetching, alluring

An Enchanted Salad Course from Libbie Summers
photo by Cedric Smith
As seen in the May/June Epicurean Issue of Savannah Magazine
An Enchanting Salad Course from Libbie Summers

The making of:
An Enchanting Salad Course from Libbie Summers
Inspiration: Savannah’s enchanting secret places and the many layers of the people who call it home.
Place: Tucked into a bank of trees and greens in the Northwest corner of Forsyth Park (the urban forrest). Extra white flowers and branches were tucked into the existing trees for a sparkle of white as the sun went down.
The Table: Layers and Layers and Layers. A glass top sat on 3 full apple boxes, then layered with 4 fabrics and one living thing.
1. A cream colored gauze that was pulled long outside each end (toward and away from the camera)
2. Celadon green cotton broadcloth was layered over the gauze.
3. The most beautiful flowered knit lace with a bit of a retro vibe was then layered over the cotton and gauze.
4. Moss green velvet was draped over everything (velvet is a perfect layer for any table).
5. Small carpets of live moss was added at the end pinned to drape over the side of the table and onto the “forrest” floor.
The Furniture: I contacted Savannah Vintage Rentals to use a few of their beautiful pieces. Velvet, Silk and Wood. Like plates, I love furniture at a table that doesn’t match.
The Centerpiece: Artist Jamie Bourgeois is as enchanting as she is talented. I contacted her about making a couple of playful masking tape insects to be guests at the table. The praying mantis, I put on a cake stand with moss and climbing on a large twig and covered it with a glass garden cloche to be the focal specimen. The moth was perched on the side of the table…peering over the edge and center to camera. Check out Jamie’s article with close-ups of her process and the bugs HERE.
Masking Tape Praying Mantis by Jamie bourgeois
Masking Tape Moth by Jamie Bourgeois
Masking Tape Moth from Jamie Bourgeois
Table Top: I borrowed a variety of vintage plates from the collection of stylist Elizabeth Demos. If you don’t have her book, Vintage Wedding Style, you MUST pick it up. It’s a great idea/How-To book for throwing any soiree…nuptials or not. Juliska flatware was used and white wine glasses added. Of course I hand tore my own napkins from a simple floral pattern fabric.
Light: Candle light only. There are 200 electric tea light candles on and around this table, tucked into moss and just laying on the ground. It gave the enchanting sparkle needed.
Food: It’s a salad course so I did a simple organic greens salad with colorful spring radish and tossed in a peach vinaigrette, bread and wine. Simple.

Behind the Scenes:
Cedric Smith getting the shot from Libbie Summers
Photographer Cedric Smith getting the shot and getting bit by bugs.
Misting the salad for a close up.
An enchanting and happy team. Cedric, Candace and myself.


Cover Girl

By Libbie Summers
Cover Photo by Cedric Smith
Assisted by Candace Brower

Proof that with all the planning and forethought you may do for a project (in this case a cover shoot) the unexpected (insert hungry horse) can make the shot!
Savannah Magazine Cover with Libbie Summers
What an honor to be asked to contribute to Savannah Magazine‘s Epicurean issue (I’ll share the feature with you this week and what went into each set up) and an even bigger honor to be asked to be on the cover! Here’s a quick behind the scenes peek of the shoot with photographer Cedric Smith, Candace Brower and a hungry horse with no name.


And, that’s a wrap on a long week of great fun, delicious food and inspiring settings….more to come.
That's a Wrap! With Libbie Summers, Cedric Smith and Candace Brower

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