The final puzzle party . . . and the food that helped solve it

Unfinished puzzle

Jeffrey bought a puzzle last year. Actually, it’s not a puzzle. It is a giant beautiful beast of confusion and headache parading around in the form of a puzzle. It is Baffler #1000, also known as “The Test,” created by an artist known as Chris Yates.

We started throwing Puzzle Parties at my house after Jeffrey first bought the puzzle, since we knew it would be much more fun to have lots of people attacking the puzzle versus just one or two. (More like one – I wasn’t particularly helpful in the beginning after looking at the giant pile of 1200+ puzzle pieces with no easily discernible pattern staring back at me).

We held a total of five puzzle parties. The above photo is from Puzzle Party #4, where we almost (almost!) finished it. We threw the final Puzzle Party this past Saturday, where we finally finished “The Test” (and celebrated with champagne!) and enjoyed some tasty food along the way.

And so I present: the menu for Puzzle Party #5, THE FINAL!

Puzzle cookies

Puzzle cookies! These were my favorite. I had the idea about a month or so ago to make cookies in the shape of puzzle pieces for this party. I googled “puzzle cookies,” but was not particularly successful in finding what I wanted. I eventually found and purchased a set of toast cutters on Amazon that double as cookie cutters.

I chose a vegan sugar cookie recipe, since one of my roommates is vegan, and because we had a bunch of vegan shortening in the house that needed to be used up. The end result was really good, and quite easy. We refrigerated the dough overnight instead of two hours, and the dough was very easy to work with the next morning.

Buckeyes

We also made buckeyes, which I’ve been meaning to make since my mom whipped some up last Christmas. I used the buckeye recipe from smitten kitchen, and they were superb. However, when I make these again, I will likely make the balls smaller – these were each a bit larger than a tablespoon, and that proved to be a bit much, considering the inherit richness of these particular candies.

Cheese sticks

We then called on The Kitchen Sink Recipes to make these cheese straws, which were cheesy and spicy and awesome.

Vegan baked corn dogs

Vegan corn dogs also came in to play, courtesy of Everybody Likes Sandwiches. We made them vegan by using almond milk, vegan tofu dogs, and egg replacer. These were pretty good, although not my personal favorite. Others seemed to really like them, however.

Lastly, we had stuffed mushrooms and mushroom lasagna, and I neglected to get usable photos of either. Sorry! But both were great, especially the lasagna (smitten kitchen again, of course). It’s a truly elegant, minimalist main dish, with a fairly short list of ingredients that each pack a major punch. Next time, as per suggestion from one of our party attendees, I’ll add some spinach to the béchamel.

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