My Flicker Pics

Sunday, July 31, 2011

National Sugar Cookie Day in July

I added some cookie pictures to The National Sugar Cookie 2011 Group by Flicker.  Did you know we had a national day to celebrate the sugar cookie?  Well it's in July.  Hurry on over, check out the other cookies, feast your eyes on some GREAT pics and add some of your's not too late

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A New Baby Blog is Born

You can now follow my cake journey at this new blog:  My Baking Journeys
Hopefully I will confuse less people, me being one with all my other cooking/baking loves. 

What is the worst thing that can happen?  Cookies on Baking, baking on cookies, veggies, cooking....okay it "could" become a royal mess, but wouldn't that make life more interesting?   Let's celebrate new beginnings!  Yeah!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cake is Done!

For those of you Wilton Graduates, I have joined your ranks. Learning the art of Wilton roses, rosebuds, day lilies and such while finishing two courses in the same week was challenging. So here I am one last time. I did learn a new flower today that I just might be able to put on a cookie soon. I hope to try it in a few days and if I do, I will be sure to post it.

                                                Happy Baking!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We DID IT!!!!

I am now the proud owner of a Wilton Basic Cake Decorating Diploma!  See?
It's official!!!

My Wonderful Teacher, Ms. Jessie and me.

Oh, You want to see the cake?
 THE CAKE with us.

Now, I know, here I am again and this is not really a cookie post and Blog IS titled "The Cookie Basket"
But look at all the goodies you can put in a basket.
Now, there, does that make it any better?
Oh, come on....just go with me on this one :)

Anyway, I am taking you on my journey with me and maybe, just maybe, I can use some of the things I learned and put them on cookies for you...
And maybe I can just add to my "basket"...I mean a Wilton Rose on a cookie might look pretty but  p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y wouldn't package too well.

Never-the-less here's some of my prep work...
Now that's something I can use on a cookie.  Adding a touch of piping gel, sure made it easier to pipe words.  If any of you out there know this is a NO NO on cookies, please chastise me!


Now the next pictures are sorta before and after pics....

In Car
                                                      After riding in car for an hour...

Now, I didn't tell you, but this cake was made for my Mom. Her favorite roses are Tropicana and while I didn't research it out...these were made from my memory.  When I walked into Mom's room, opened the cake cover and said, "Mom, this is just a happy cake....well, sorta sad-happy cake...the icing kinda......."  I didn't even get to finish my sentence.  Mom made me feel like the owner of a five-star bakery.  Or  Cake Boss, Duff....

And there's that smile.  "Mom would you like a piece?"  "Yeah, they can just bring another shot."  First bite?  The rose.  I don't know about you, maybe this post was a little disappointing...I mean no cookies to look at.  But maybe you'll just enjoy a grown daughter and her Mom and a little cake with sliding decorations and maybe, just maybe feel blessed.  I do.  And thank you for letting me share :)

Exodus 20:12

King James Version (KJV)

12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Buttercream "shaggy mum" and Sugar Flowers

Last week was week 3 for Basic Cake Decorating and Flower classes.  It really is hard for me to think this will soon be all over.  BUT then I can join the ranks of Wilton Graduates--just like YOU.  I'm going to find a way to make some of this work on cookies...that's a good goal...isn't it?

Check out my SHAGGY MUM!  Isn't this piping just the most fun?  Use tip #233  It also makes grass.  To see how, click  HERE .

Vanilla cake, filled with homemade lemon curd, covered with pink swirled buttercream and topped with a "shaggy mum" .  I brought this one and one more to my Mom and she inhaled it.  Smiles!  That's my reward!!!  What about you?  Do you enjoy this as much as I do?

I was excited to box my cupcakes for my Mom in the nursing home and my wonderful husband. 

Great box to transport flowers, too!

I am having such a fantabulous (new word) time in my classes.  Can't wait for the next classes...but (sniff) they will be my last.  It is hard to believe that it's almost over.

Check out my classwork...
Buttercream Pom Pom flower

Buttercream Shells

Royal Icing:   More flower practice...Top row, Wilton rose, 2nd row daffadils, 3rd row violets (aren't they cute?), and then two pink pointsettias and last-a day lily.

My Daffi-down-dilly

Lily Thought for the Day...
Matthew 6:28
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
Luke 12:27
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these

Tomorrow is homework day!
Didn't know homework could be so sweet---
sorry I couldn't help myself :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why We Read the Cookie Recipe...more than once!

When the mixer whirls and butter and sugar fall into submission all is not guaranteed to produce THE COOKIE unless someone follows the directions.  Of course, I did not this time.  Why..... read it a again?  Who? Me?  Certainly you jest...

But this is the result of my test cookies.
(hint)  if you haven't baked in a while, test a few first.  If it's after midnight...
It's important.
It's real important!
Just in case you should feel confident and plunge right in the flour barrel.
Now I understand that some of you bake everyday...okay, but if you missed a month, you just might need to glance at that recipe.
Click HERE for a really great recipe from Fancy Flours.

I used the 1/2 recipe on the right EXCEPT for the  1 pound of butter...and the 2 eggs..
Notice the red line now
It wasn't there before and I had free reign to glance where ever I wanted.
Now those cookies did taste good, but they did not hold their shape.  SO
Just take a peek at that recipe...ok?

Maybe you are a cookie extraordinaire and the recipe is permanently etched in your brain.  That being said...use a timer.  I am standing right by the oven.  There is a clock on the wall and a watch on my arm, but I get busy rolling out more cookies and they brown a weeeeee bit too much.  That doesn't destroy your cookie, but they are much prettier decorated with pale tops. 

Then, they may look like this....

See!  Isn't that better?

Have a bite :)

These cookies went to my friends in LA.  I used a Wilton packaging set like this one HERE  and would show you the final pictures but I have no pictures.  You see,  I packed my car with everything to make lovely gifts.  I put some of those freshly canned jars in cute gift bags with the intent to place my cookie bags on top of them.  Such a nice idea.  With foil "tissue" paper.    And if it hadn't taken me SEVEN hours to make a 3-1/2 hour trip I might have had everything ready.  But I was not in any frame of mind to think on those lines by nightfall.  Your know you have friends when they say, Oh, that's not important.  And I breathe a prayer of thanks for my precious friends who love me even when I hand them one jar at a time with a clear bag of cookies.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wilson Class Flower Journey

Many of you out there have already obtained the right of passage into the decorating world by going through Wilton Classes.
I, however, am in the midst of my journey, so be kind.

I have tried everything I know how to do and cannot get my picture to post in the upright position <sigh>  But just know that it was a yellow 10 inch cake leveled, torted and filled with homemade lemon curd...the real deal, then iced with the classic buttercream that I made and left to "crust".  I can say that getting the edges like I and is a challenge.  I kept fussing and therefore I had places that were not exactly... can I say dry? But all in all the Robin's egg blue cake was pretty in my eyes.  And in the eyes of my Mom.  I made the cake for her and she loved it!

May I say for the second time that fussing with turning these pictures has made me, a weee bit flustered.  They are in the upright position in the file, but no, no, not here...where it counts...for you to see.  Is this some kind of sign?  Anyway you Wilton graduates know this template, don't you?  Tinted piping gel over the print, turn over on top of "crusted"  yeah, sure...cake, and brushed lightly to transfer picture on cake.    It really was kinda cool.  But I think if there is a next time, I will tint the jel with a matching color.  And not fuss with my corners, so my cake will be DRY.    But this was sorta fun!

Now THIS was fun!  But just like getting this picture to post just right, I agonized over my cupcake "frosting" and after saying, "You know what?  Mine doesn't have to look like the book." I got creative and made little round "thingies"  And since I didn't have the confetti, I changed my tip and piped little dots on the cake.  I stay two steps behind my teacher.  Trying to listen and get my bags filled and may I just say that I am a little more "mature" than my classmates.  Alright, I move a little slow at first...just trying to take it all in. I WILL get there, just not today :)  And not only did Mom think it pretty, but so did her roommate...even though she also thought I could take her to the library.  And the nurses and staff.  So I felt pretty proud of my cake.  And was gone, only to live here on this blog....

No, no, you're not confused.  I am taking Level I and II back to back.  I do have to look at the book to see what I'm supposed to be bringing on which day. You would think I could keep all that straight...being a teacher and all.  But here are some of my apple blossoms ... uh, one apple blossom and my primroses.  I DID make more at home.  A lot more.  And will make more before the next classes.

Rosebuds.  Can I just say I LOVE these little jewels.  Now if my brain can only make my hands do all the right  stuff!  Yes, Wilton grads, yes, yes, I must practice, practice, play, practice and practice some more.  Like you and one day......mine will look like yours...beautimous.  And then I can make tiny ones and put on my cookies.  ahah......!  See I posted something about cookies.  But seriously, I do want to use some of these techniques on cookies, too.  Somthing that looks like    or

 But for the time being, I will settle for roses that are bigger and go on cakes and cupcakes.  So many of you are talented.  Feel free to  post your links on my comments.  But meanwhile, check out these cookie queens:

just to name a few.   And I bet their pictures are all up right. 

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mid-Wilton Journey

My "Just Because" Cake for dinner!
Posted by Picasa

I realize that this post may appear to be out of order. But I was so proud that I could get these roses on a cake...I couldn't wait. Another journey in finding new skills. Mr. Wilton is patient!

Just wanted to practice.  So, I pulled out a 6 inch cake from freezer.  See that extra cake came in handy!  And pulled out the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream from the fridge (it's been there for a couple of weeks, but will be good for about a month  and MUCH longer in a freezer) OBTW.  If you take SMB out of a cold place and start to whip it, it will NOT be pretty for a few moments; BUT it WiLL...just be patient.  It'll be ok! 

Then I got all my "school" supplies out, to pipe with the classic buttercream (I have plenty of Wilton made from the recipe in the book...and then....FUN!  I picked out royal icing flowers from my new stash.

I will be looking at more photostreams.  Maybe you can share your links with me and I can look at yours!  That would really be neat!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Confessions of the Cookie Basket

"Did you leave some cookies for me?" I often hear that question as well as this comment, "She bakes all these wonderful cookies and doesn't leave me any." Those would come from my eternal optimist of all things baked. I can always justify my answers. "Doll, I left a (as in one) cookie for you if you want." or "But Doll, these are for........." At no time do I feel that I've let him down, because, hey, he can lick my bowls anytime. But you, whoever you are, I feel as if I have somehow left you out and that I must somehow apologize.

If you look back (far back, I'm afraid) you will see actual cookies on this blog.  Or now on my Flicker photostream.  I've known for some time that I haven't been matching my posts with my title very well. So what's a cookie/baker to do? Hence the apology...

If you are still with me I will share a few of my most recent efforts and humbly offer my explanation(s)

First there was the garden. That's what did it...I got off track.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it...Pleeze?  So, veggie-related posts just appeared on The Cookie Basket.  I was out of control. 

And ...
Then week ONE of G.S.A. School of Music...  (check out this wonderful school link!)

Now, wait...OK, I admit...the picture is not pretty, but doesn't it tell you a story? It was GOOD!. This really was good...Mixed Berry Pie Cobbler with real whipped cream topping.     But  you are right, no cookies here!

A G Clef in dough....cute?  Maybe.  Eatable?  Absolutely not!  But it would have made a great crowbar....and nope, not a cookie.

Another music symbol in dough...supposed to be a quarter note (but it really made a nifty "j")

The "baker" of bakersmom  with  her fabulous tall coconut cake. (Still at GSA) and you get the co____.

And one last GSA picture...On the fourth of July what better way to celebrate?  A faux ice cream.  You've seen them before...Cake dough baked in a wafer ice cream cone cup and topped with fluffly icing and sprinkles 

Cell phone pictures...(sigh)

What's going on? 

You see, my daughter, the RN/Baker, and I volunteered to provide desserts during GSA's summer session for three weeks and that we did.  But do you have any idea how much time baking desserts for 125  people for lunch and then again at supper takes?  Okay, many of you do.  We absolutely LOVED it!  But a camera was obviously not top on the list.  Now, I am so sorry.  Night one?  Up to 2 AM prepping our famly recipe for chocolate pie for Tuesday's lunch.  It was divine.  But we were too tired to run back to the room to get a camera and then before we knew it...they were gone!  YUMMY.  But once again (hanging head) they were not cookies.  But many thought the crust on the bottom was a cookie ....does that count?

Homemade pie crusts:  While I can't give away this recipe, we made individual pie crust rounds using 1/2 shortening and 1/2 lard (THE KEY TO FLAKEY CRUST),  baked and placed in the bottom of  serving cups.  Divine chocolate custard was cooked, cooled and added to each cup. IT is a family recipe... my Mom's to be exact!   All were topped with whipped cream and chilled.  (OK, okay, OKAY...we used Cool Whip) The actual recipe uses meringue, but how can you brown anything in a clear plastic serving dish?  Now, I've come clean with you.... that felt better.  And people thought they were finding a cookie treasure on the bottom.  See...they "thought" we had made cookies!

More pictures of creme cheese pound cakes, dirt cake, lemon curd filled vanilla cup cakes, creme cheese brownies, peach cobbler, apple-pear cobbler, chocolate creme pie, blueberry cobbler, chocolate sugar cookies, pecan kisses, chocolate chip cookies, New York style cheesecake, cinnamon rolls, biscotti, doughnuts, Jenn's banana pudding and I've run out of brain cells to remember any more. Can I say that we gained a LOT of experience working with professional size ovens and portions?  You bettcha!

  Yes, you must visualize their beautiful tenderness.  Because the pictures are invisible.  I am guilty as charged.

Another confession:  I didn't stay all three weeks.  There--- that's out, too.   At the end of the second week I WENT ON A CRUISE for four days leaving the "baker" of bakersmom alone in the kitchen. (gasp!)   But her son (my grandson) and sister (my daughter) came to the rescue for a few days. 

As for me...Cozumel, Mexico

And our first night's cruise animal should have told me much food, oh, my!   Oink, oink!  Isn't he cute?

Then back home again on week 3 to take my first Cake Decorating Classes.  See my first pansy?  Gum paste and fondant.  I'm in earthly bliss!!!!  I will keep practicing!

Then back to GSA to finish week three.

Rolls...14 cups of flour
+ yeast, dry milk, eggs,  salt, butter!
Yes, this is only one of the panS.
and yes, you observed cookies....

GSA all done! Loaded up all our baking "stuff" and came home to
My birthday dinner and dessert with family....
My "Baker/RN" daughter caved in and bought a cake from the local store.  I think I forgive her...I understand.  Thank you SO much!


My "doll" husband gave me flowers, special teas, a framed scripture and his special adoration...  Better than any decorated cookie, I'd say! see I've been kinda busy...with life.  And I didn't even put in checking in with my Mom and other "stuff".  Life is full of surprises and twists and turns.  One must only fall into the pace of those we love and enjoy the journey.  Baking and decorating cookies?  They are only a part of that journey.  Now, I've confessed a few of my shortcomings with this blog.  Hopefully some of you can forgive me.  I am still in such awe of those of you who seem to have endless access to time, butter, sugar and expert skills.  I'm just enjoying the journey and observing yours :)

OBTW....the school?  Our two youngest grandsons finished their courses and one received a trophy for his age group!  So worth the effort!!!! To God be all glory and honor!!!!!!!!!