18 September 2011

Frosting for the Cause Project

I hope you will head over to Frosting for the Cause today to see my FIRST GUEST POST!! I am so excited and honored to be included among the 365  bakers who are using their skills both as chefs and as bloggers to make a difference in the fight against Breast Cancer. Each one of them has been personally affected by this disease, and has taken a turn sharing their stories along with a delicious recipe. The baked goods they make are then donated to a local place that serves cancer patients. I will be taking my cookies to the same infusion room where I received my chemo treatments. Here is my post:


I am grateful to Paula for starting this Frosting for the Cause project. It is an honor to be writing this post today. Today, you see, is the THIRD anniversary of the date when my Breast Cancer was diagnosed.

In April, the only thing I knew about blogs was what I learned from watching the movie "Jule & Julia". I needed to make some sugar cookies for my niece Melissa's baby shower and I searched online for ideas. It didn't take long for me to realize the results I kept coming across were from BLOGS, and some very amazing and creative ones at that. In May, one of the blogs I had started following just happened to be the guest post for Frosting for the Cause. What a wonderful and thoughtful idea! I am a Breast Cancer survivor AND I love to bake, but there was one problem. I was not a blogger and I had no idea where to start. The idea wouldn't go away so I had no choice. I went to the bookstore, bought "Blogging for Dummies", did more research and in June started my blog.

The tagline for my blog is "Biking and Baking Beyond Breast Cancer". My idea was to write about the things I love and am passionate about. When I started writing down my own Breast Cancer Story for this post, it became way too long. I ended up posting it on This Home Plate -- I hope you will take the time to read it.

One thing cancer has taught me is that everyone affected by it has a story, whether it is the patient, the caregiver, the family, or the friend - and that is evident by the stories told over the past 261 days on Frosting for the Cause. I have enjoyed reading them all and getting to know your loved ones.  My original plan was to bake a chocolate shortbread cookie, similar to one we used to eat when we lived in Italy. But the closer the time came for my guest post, I kept thinking of the tagline for This Home Plate. Frosting for the Cause had the Breast Cancer and the Baking covered, but not the Biking. Then I found a bicycle cookie cutter and started thinking of the possibilities. More ideas popped into my head and I couldn't decide which one to do, so I did them all! (Well, except for the one where I was going to depict the Champion crossing the finish line in the Tour de France with all the bikers behind him, and the fans cheering. Now that would have been too much!)

I can't think of biking without thinking of the Texas Mamma Jamma bike ride. So many people love Austin and want to live here - it's known as the live music capital of the world. In fact, thousands of people are here this weekend for the 10th annual Austin City Limits festival.

There's one other thing Austin is good at, but it's not necessarily famous for, and that is cancer support and services. I have come to realize that if I had to get Breast Cancer, I'm sure glad I live here. No matter what the need, there is a Non-Profit rganization (NPO) that is there to provide services and support to fill that need. The Mamma Jamma Ride raises money for these NPO's, some of which supported me on my Breast Cancer Journey. I found out about the ride when I was getting my last chemotherapy infusion, and it has changed my life.

This is the logo for the first two rides in 2009 and 2010

This is a take-off of the new logo for this year.
Unfortunately, my cookies don't do it justice!

People come from all over the country to do this ride in honor or in memory of their loved ones. The ride takes place in the Hill Country just north of Austin. Less than 5 months after my last infusion, my husband and I rode 100 miles in the inaugural Texas Mamma Jamma Ride.

Like I said, the ride benefits 11 different Non-Profit Organizations that provide life-saving services to Breast Cancer patients and their families. I decided to make a cookie representing each one of them. I will be handing out the cookies in the same infusion room where I received my treatments. They will be labeled with information for all of the Mamma Jamma NPO's so that way, these new patients that have followed in my footsteps will be able to find the same hope that I did.

You can learn more about these organizations HERE

In the future, I will be sharing inspirational stories of women that I have met, and writing about the latest BC news I come across. My HOPE is that someday, I will only need to blog about Baking and Biking. My DREAM is for every state, not just Texas, to have their own Mamma Jamma Ride. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

I am participating in the ride again this year and have set a goal of $15,000. If you are interested in supporting me in this worthy cause, you can find more information HERE.

I'm also interested in making things safe on the road for both bikers and car drivers. People for Bikes is a great organization that is working towards this. Their logo inspired me to make these cookies:

Draw a line with white royal icing and let it dry.

Do the same with red icing below the white line and then flood it.

Let it dry.

Repeat with sky blue icing, and let it dry.

Draw on the "bicycle" smiley face with a thicker, white outlining royal icing.

I tried several sugar cookie recipes. Some were too sweet, and some used so much flour they were stiff to mix up. I stumbled across Alton Brown's Sugar Cookie Recipe from the Food Network and have been using it ever since.

Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough


  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color.
  • Add egg and milk and beat to combine.
  • Put the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill.
  • Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
  • Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to wire rack for complete cooling.
  • Ice as desired. I'm still experimenting on my icing, but either Haniela's blog or Bake at 350's has a great tutorial for royal icing.
This yields about 3 dozen, 2-1/2" cookies.


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