What’s a treat that’s pretty enough to decorate your banquet table and yummy enough to send home as a wedding favor? Edible baskets, woven from strips of dough, work well as a crafty DIY project (or, for the less artistically-inclined, as a masterpiece to commission from a professional bakery). Make yours sweet or savory–it all depends on the type of dough you use and what you’d like your basket to hold.
DIY Edible Basket-Making
There are a few approaches when it comes to making dough baskets. Both require a sturdy, curved form (like a Pyrex bowl) so the basket can keep its form while it bakes. Turn it upside-down on a baking pan and spray the outside of the bowl liberally with a non-stick cooking spray.
You will build the raw dough around the bowl. Beginners usually find the coiling approach easier, while crafty couples with more baking experience might want to spring for the weaving method.
To use the coiling approach, roll your dough into long “snakes” about a half an inch in diameter. If the dough breaks while you’re rolling, don’t worry; just pinch the ends of the two snakes together and roll them smooth again. Start at the center of the inverted bowl’s dome and slowly coil the dough around in ever-widening circles, like the pattern on a snail’s shell. Continue down and around the sides of the bowl until you hit the baking pan.
To use the weaving approach, roll your dough flat to 1/8 inch thickness and cut it into strips. Each strip should be long enough to drape over the inverted bowl so that both edges touch the baking pan on either side. The strips can be as wide or as narrow as you like; narrower strips will look more intricate, although wider strips will be faster to weave.
Drape one strip over the center of the inverted bowl. Drape the next strip on top of it, perpendicular, so the two strips make an X shape. Drape the third strip next to the first one, parallel to it, but before you lay it down completely, pick up one end of the second strip and slip the third strip underneath it. Continue like this, placing each new strip over and under alternating strips, working out from the center, so the woven pattern emerges.
If you want to get fancy, finish your bowls with a loop of braided dough (just braid three long pieces together as you would three strands of hair) around the very bottom of the bowl. This will form a rim once the dough is baked and inverted.
Depending on the type of dough you use, baking times will vary. However, about 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit is a good median rule. Check your dough periodically so you can take it out of the oven as soon as it starts to achieve a nice, golden-brown surface. You may need to experiment with a few test bowls until you find the perfect baking time for your particular type of dough.
Allow the dough to cool fully. Then gently invert it on a cutting board or other flat surface. If the bowl does not slide out easily, gently tap it and work it with your finger until it does. You should be left with a golden crust that holds its bowl-like shape.
Congratulations! Once you’ve made one successful bowl, you can use your skills to make dozens at a time, or however many the size of your oven will allow.
Filling the Baskets
You’ve created a counter full of edible baskets, but now what? Complete your delicious masterpieces by filling them with equally scrumptious treats. Small edible baskets make perfect containers for Jordan almonds or assorted hard candies. Large edible baskets make perfect centerpieces for reception tables; especially as an attractive way of presenting assorted cookies, muffins, bread rolls, or scones.
Consider offering personal cookie-dough baskets as containers to fill at a candy buffet. They also make delicious containers for ice cream, fruit salad, and frozen yogurt. Best yet–when you serve guests with edible containers, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the plates. Serve edible baskets with edible spoons for a truly noteworthy feast.
Whether you offer savory bread baskets filled with garlic rolls, pretzel baskets filled with creamy dips, or you prefer to offer cookie baskets filled with sweets, you’ll make an impression on your guests with the thoughtful gesture.
Woven dough baskets are an attractive way of sending guests home with any type of wedding favor–even inedible favors–because the wrapping itself will serve as a tasty reminder of the wedding.
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