Saturday, March 1, 2008

Baking for Good

Brown Sugar Brownies

Baking for friends and family is satisfying, but there’s nothing like baking for a worthy cause to bring out the pride and community spirit. School fundraisers, political block parties, church carnivals, charity events—they’re all great opportunities to show off your baking skills while supporting something you care about. It’s a sweet deal all around!

This year, C&H Sugar is proud to be a sponsor of Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale, a national campaign to end childhood hunger. Look for Great American Bake Sale information and bake sale recipes on five-pound bags of C&H Sugar, and visit our special web page to learn more about how to get involved!

Planning Your Bake Sale

If you’re the organizer, pick a date that doesn’t conflict with other bake sales in your community. (A community calendar is a big help.) If you’ve identified some “super-bakers” whose participation would help the event succeed, ensure that they’re available during the week prior to the date you’ve chosen.

Next, enlist the aid of reliable volunteers. You’ll need help with publicity, donation coordination, set–up, clean-up, and cashier duty.

Don’t rely on word of mouth: post your bake sale on organization newsletters, online calendars, and local publications. Consider creating posters or fliers (can you ask a local graphic-design student to donate his or her time?) and ask local merchants and schools if they’ll display them on bulletin boards and in store windows.

The Day of the Bake Sale

Be sure to have plenty of tables—and umbrellas if direct sun will pose a problem. Don’t forget your volunteers: they’ll be grateful for folding chairs. Use simple, inexpensive tablecloths without distracting patterns. If you’re selling beverages, have plenty of disposable cups (consider offering small and large sizes). Have a cash box with plenty of one–dollar bills and coins of all denominations.

Easy Slice Sugar Cookies

To get volunteers into the spirit, consider wearing colorful T–shirts, cheery thrift-store aprons, or straw hats.

Make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for: have a table for cakes, a table for cookies, and so on.

Bring a camera and document the event! You can use the photos on your group’s website or on next year’s posters and bulletins.

Bake Sale Basics

You may be famous for your showy, meringue–laden Tip of Alaska, but bake sales demand sturdier offerings with widespread appeal. Here’s what bake–sale veterans suggest:

  • All items should be easy to prepare, easy to divide, and easy to transport.
  • If you expect that many customers will be buying for their families, sell whole pies and cakes (and offer slices, too!).
  • To calculate sale price, figure out what an item’s ingredients cost, then double that figure.
  • The plainest, easiest–to–make items—sugar cookies, banana bread—become best–sellers when you decorate them with sprinkles, frosting, and candies.

What Sells Best?

Bake–sale experts say you can’t go wrong with these perennial winners:

Walnut Cappuccino Biscotti
  • Brownies. So many varieties; so many ways to please customers! Include a classic like Brown Sugar Brownies or Fudge Nut Brownies; add interest with chewy Harvest Brownies or ultra–chocolatey Triple–Chip Brownies. Other bar cookies, such as Utterly Peanut–Buttery Bars and Iced Pumpkin Blondies, also sell well. Cut brownies or bar cookies neatly and wrap each one in a small plastic bag or colored cellophane tied with raffia or ribbon. Or sell an entire pan of brownies for $7 to $10.
  • Biscotti. Firm, crisp, and satisfying, these twice–baked cookies hold up well in warm weather and taste even better when dunked in coffee or tea! Chocolate–Orange Biscotti and Walnut Cappuccino Biscotti are two of our favorite recipes. Wrap each cookie separately in cellophane.
  • Cupcakes and muffins. Bake them in pastel or metallic paper cups for a festive presentation, and go to town with decorations! Check out our January 2008 Sweet Talk for cupcake recipes and decorating ideas. Crowd–pleasing muffin recipes include our Streusel–Topped Blueberry Muffins, healthful Banana–Raisin Bran Muffins, and Orange Ginger Muffins.
  • Sugar cookies. Encourage the kids to help with mixing ingredients, cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, and decorating the baked cookies. Our Basic Sugar Cookies recipe can be doubled to make six dozen. For a spring bake sale, cut out flower shapes and press lollipop sticks (available at craft stores and online) into the cookies before baking them. Decorate with frosting, then wrap the “blossoms” in colored cellophane. Arrange your bouquet in a vase and watch the flowers disappear!
  • Drop cookies. Kids will love helping you make easy crowd–pleasers like Chocolate Chip Crunchewy Cookies (a state fair winner developed by an eight–year–old boy!) and soft, chewy Cowboy Cookies. Make large cookies to sell individually, mini–cookies to sell by the half–dozen.
  • Quick breads. Bake in mini–loaf pans—they’ll bake in less time, so watch the clock—and sell individually. You’ll get three mini–loaves from a single recipe of our rich or Spiced Zucchini Bread.
  • Layer cakes. Sell by the slice, the half–cake, or the whole cake. For half or whole cakes, supply bakery boxes (available at craft stores or online). Always popular: Classic Chocolate Fudge Cake, Classic Yellow Layer Cake, and Carrot Layer Cake with Orange Buttercream Frosting. Be sure to perfect your frosting technique—that’s what customers will notice!

And Don’t Forget…

Crystallized Nuts

Have a bake sale story to share? E–mail us and we’ll spread the word!

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