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I need a recipe for an impressive baked good for a fund raiser...can you help?

I am asking all of you exceptional bakers to recommend a baked good recipe for a charity raffle I've been asked to participate in. It's essentially a bake sale to a slightly higher degree. There is a certain amount of bragging right to the treats that get the highest bid, and an invitation to join again next year of course. It doesn't need to be too fussy, but definitely a little more is expected than just brownies or rice krispie treats. It does need to be dropped off the day before it is sold, however, and preferably something that doesn't require refrigeration as I'm a control freak and never trust a stranger to put a dish in the fridge if I drop and run. Thank you!

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    1. re: TrishUntrapped

      I make those coconut pyramids every year for my New Year's Day open house, and they are delicious. I will say, however, that they are not the most popular dessert I make, though they definitely have their fans who would squawk if I took them off the menu.

      How about Pecan Tassies? They hold well, and disappear in a trice. Think of them as mini pecan pies.

      1. re: roxlet

        Good idea! Fairly simple too. I have a bunch of lyle's.....any recipes you can recommend for tassies that call for lyle's or should I just sub my pecan pie recipe?

        1. re: kmlmgm

          This recipe, from the wife of the former governor of Georgia, uses neither Lyle's nor corn syrup. They are phenomenally good, and getting the dough in the tins is the only fiddly part. I always double it.

          PECAN TASSIES

          Crust
          1 3-ounce package of cream cheese
          1 cup plain flour
          1 stick butter

          Have all ingredients at room temperature. Mix together with your hands and chill for about 2 hours. Pinch off dough and shape into a 24 one-inch balls. Place balls in miniature muffin cups and with your fingers, press dough on the bottom and sides of the muffin tin. Set aside and mix filling.

          Filling

          1 egg, beaten
          ¾ cup brown sugar firmly packed
          1 tablespoon soft butter
          1 tablespoon vanilla
          2/3 cup chopped pecans

          Mix all ingredients together. Fill each tassie ¾ -full. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Cool on cake rack. To remove, run a sharp knife around the edge and lift our. Yield 24 tassies.

          1. re: roxlet

            Glad to find a recipe like this that does not use Syrup...does anyone know of a pecan pie recipe that does not use Karo syrup? Thanks for the recipe roxlet/

            1. re: cstout

              Yes! I used it for our Thanksgiving Pecan Pie....I'll try to figure out how to post a link...http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pecan-pi...

              1. re: kmlmgm

                Thank you kmlmgm, I am trying to get to that site, but no luck. I shall sign on & search for pecan pie, that should get it. I just can't stand that gooey Karo syrup. Am looking forward to trying the one you found.

                1. re: cstout

                  Cook's Illustrated just published one that uses maple syrup instead of Karo. I haven't tried it, but it's supposed to be excellent.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Thanks biondanonima, I don't get that magazine, but maybe I can search & find it. I remember why I don't like Karo, reminds me of castor oil (something that my granny would stuff down me for no reason at all).

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Goodhealthgourmet, thanks for doing the work & finding these sites. I think I need to find out how to search for things on Chowhound...just never find a "hit" on things. Anyway, super for posting this.

                  1. re: cstout

                    I've made this maple pecan pie: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    I believe I skipped the 1/4 cup white sugar and increased the amount of pecans. It's very rich and maple-y. And super-simple to make (with your own crust if you prefer, of course)..

      2. Cranberry Bliss Bars - delicious, pretty and people are always impressed by them.

        http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Starb...

        Use a ruler to cut them precisely so they look nice. You can get a disposable tray and some clear cellophane from a party store for pretty cheap. Cover the tray with plastic wrap to keep them fresh, and pul the cellophane up around the tray and tie with some curling ribbon.

        3 Replies
        1. re: gmm

          +1, I make these every year, and I always get rave reviews.

          1. re: pine time

            Is this the recipe you used, pine time?

            1. re: kmlmgm

              sorry for the delay, kmimgm. I've compared the topsecretricipes to mine, and it's mostly the same. There's some controversy over orange peel or not, but I prefer "not."

        2. If it has to be a baked product, I would go with lemon or key lime bars.

          However, if I was going to provide something special for a raffle, I would provide chocolate truffles!

          They are easy to make, very impressive, and more than expected. I would sell them by the dozen and before the raffle, I would provide small, free samples to the potential bidders.

          Have to sell or you will have a riot on your hands.

          18 Replies
          1. re: Hank Hanover

            What would also work is chocolate mousse in a chocolate cup. You can make the cups by painting 3 or 4 layers of chocolate on the inside of a foil cupcake liner then peel away the liner. You can then pipe in the mousse. You can make them prettier by putting a raspberry on top.

            I'd bid on that!

            1. re: Hank Hanover

              I did truffles last year, and you are right, they were a big hit!

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                Hank, care to share the recipe for chocolate truffles? I have never made them, so this will be a treat for me. I want to put them in tin boxes for Christmas gifts. Uum, this gives me an idea for a post. Thanks in advance.

                1. re: cstout

                  Sure.. sorry for the long post. I decided to post the recipes for 5 of my favorite truffles.

                  Dark Chocolate Genache
                  16 oz dark chocolate (I use Callebaut 815 semisweet) finely chopped
                  7 oz heavy cream
                  3.5 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
                  4 Tbls Liqueur (I use half Ameretto & half Grand Marnier)
                  4 drops of Loran flavor oils, optional (I use half Ameretto & half Grand Marnier)
                  1 Tbl corn syrup (optional especially if you are using semi sweet chocolate)

                  Black Forest Genache
                  16 oz dark chocolate (I use Callebaut 815 semisweet) finely chopped
                  7 oz heavy cream
                  3.5 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
                  4 Tbls Liqueur (I use DeKypers cherry brandy)
                  8 drops of Loran flavor oils, optional (I use cherry)
                  1 Tbl corn syrup (optional especially if you are using semi sweet chocolate)
                  ½ cup dehydrated cherries that have been chopped and rehydrated with the cherry brandy

                  White Chocolate Peanut Butter Genache

                  16 oz white chocolate (I use Callebaut)
                  9 oz heavy cream
                  8 oz creamy peanut butter (The commercial stuff. The homemade stuff separates too much
                  • See note

                  Almond Joy Genache

                  16 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
                  8 oz heavy cream
                  3 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
                  8 drops of Loran flavor oils, optional (I use half Ameretto & half coconut)
                  ½ cup Sweetened coconut
                  ½ cup toasted chopped almonds

                  Pina Colada Genache
                  16 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
                  5 Tbls + 1 tsp heavy cream
                  3 Tbls unsalted butter, softened
                  6 Tbls dark rum
                  8 drops of Loran flavor oils, optional (I use pina coloda)
                  ½ cup Sweetened coconut
                  6 Tbls dehydrated pineapple, chopped and rehydrated in the rum

                  1. Melt chocolate in microwave with 30 second bursts on level 8.
                  2. Heat cream in pot to about 180.
                  3. Combine cream, corn syrup, and chocolate and stir together until blended.
                  4. Add liqueur and flavor drops. Stir.
                  5. Let set until about 85 degrees.
                  6. Add butter 1 pat at a time
                  7. Whip
                  8. Allow to set up in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

                  When making the White Chocolate Peanut Butter Genache, do not whip it, in fact just gently stir it to combine. If you beat it the oil in the peanut butter will separate and float to the surface of the genache.

                  When the genache is set, you can scoop out balls with a melon baller or I use a #70 disher scoop (sorta like a small ice cream scoop). Roll the scoops into balls and dip them in chocolate or nuts or coconut or cocoa.

                  You could also make the genache in a shallow pan with parchment paper on the bottoms and sides. Pull the set genache out of the pan and cut the genache into squares and dip them.

                  Link to where one of many places you can buy flavor oils: http://www.amazon.com/LorAnn-Flavorin...

                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    Hank, your posts are always a welcome treat around here. Wish me luck, I don't think I can go wrong, you give all the "details" that help people "walk" through the process. Anyway, truffles are my next project.

                    1. re: cstout

                      You're actually going to be upset that they are so easy and that they taste so good.

                      Try to use good chocolate. We have a high end store where I am that sells Callebaut. World market sells 1 lb bars of pretty good chocolate. Dove makes good chocolate. Some people are but I'm not impressed with Ghirardelli.

                      Oh.. you are near Luckenbach. I'm in Austin.

                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        Hank, I will not be upset in the least about something being so easy, I will be mighty thankful that it turns out though. Yes, I am about 8 miles from Luckenbach, you are close to Elgin, I believe, we chatted in previous posts quite a while back. I too was not impressed with Ghirardelli, but that is the top of the line at my store. Guess I will try Dove. No high end stores around here unless I go to SA.

                        1. re: cstout

                          you might be better off ordering chocolate online & having it shipped. life's too short to eat the mediocre stuff!

                          and if you plan to travel to an area that has Trader Joe's, stock up on their "Pound Plus" bars - they're relabeled Callebaut.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Yes, goodhealthgourmet, life is too short, I must get out of the rut of choosing quantity over quality. Thanks for the reminder.

                            1. re: cstout

                              Central Market in Austin has Callebaut in chunks in their bulk sale area.

                              When I make a lot of truffles (like 24 dozen at a time), I order Callebaut in 11 pound bars. Dang that's a big candy bar!

                              Since you are so close, email me at hank.hanover99@gmail.com. Maybe we can swap some recipes.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Wait ghg.....Are you saying that TJ's pound plus bars are relabeled as Callebaut? OMG..now I know why pound plus bars are my dad and son's favorites! And boy am I glad we moved from a TJ freezone to a TJ zone!

                              1. re: julesrules4food

                                They're Callebaut relabeled as TJ'S Pound Plus.

                                1. re: roxlet

                                  Sorry, I had it backwards but the point's still there. Great quality chocolate bars under TJ's name at a great price!

                                  1. re: julesrules4food

                                    you knew what i was saying - they are indeed :)

                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I am not close to a Trader Joes, might be one in the big city of San Antonio, will look & see. I sure have heard a lot about that place. Yes, life is too short, for mediocre anything, BUT.......oh well, thank you.

                                1. re: cstout

                                  Sorry to tell you but there are no Trader Joe's per their website anywhere in Texas. The closest is New Mexico and that's sure nowhere near you. The 15 years I lived in Austin TJ's was the store I missed the most.

                                  1. re: cstout

                                    i'm so sorry if i confused you with my TJ's comment. i *know* you don't have them in TX, which is why i suggested it if you planned to *travel* to a place that does. or if you have friends or family near one, you could have them ship it to you.

                                    but good news for those of you in the Houston & DFW areas, it looks like they're planning to break into the TX market next year...
                                    http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/11/...
                                    http://www.chron.com/business/article...

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Yes, I certainly would welcom a TJ store around here. Thank you.

                    2. a big +1 for macarons or truffles - those were my first two thoughts!

                      other random ideas:
                      - bags of homemade marshmallows in seasonal flavors
                      - chocolate-dipped biscotti
                      - whoopie pies
                      - mochi squares
                      - savory scones
                      - fudge
                      - chocolate bark

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        mini whoopie pies was my second thought. in a bunch of different flavored cakes -- pumpkin, berry, mocha, etc.

                        my mind kind of went in the other direction though too in terms of impressive... nostalgic novelty. personally, i might do an array of homemade mini pop tarts, confections like peanut butter cups or other flavored butter cups, homemade Mallomars/Pinwheels, Oreos, candy bars, etc.

                        or...
                        Alfajores
                        Baklava (i like to do a raspberry balsamic variation)

                        does it have to be baked? some nice jars of jams/preserves in unique flavor combinations? or do some shortbread cookies (with more interesting additions) and complementary jams!

                        1. re: Emme

                          Speaking of Whoopie Pies. These gingerbread ones are very festive looking and super easy. I made them the first time last Christmas and will be making them again this year.

                          http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Dess...

                          1. re: Emme

                            I am very intrigued by the idea of a raspberry balsamic baklava!

                            Please give details about your recipe.

                            1. re: meatn3

                              this is a bit rough, as i do this by feel, so apologies in advance...

                              basically, i start by making "Raspberry Butter," which involves pureeing and deseeding raspberries, then cooking with dark brown sugar til thickened (i do it in spurts in the microwave).

                              i mix ground pepitas (pistachios are good too) with a bit of brown sugar, salt, and sometimes a pinch of cinnamon.

                              in a greased pan, 2 sheets of puff pastry, spread with butter, 2 sheets pastry, butter, raspberry butter, 2 sheets pastry, butter, 2 sheets, butter, then raspberry butter, then some of the pumpkin seed mixture. 2 sheets of pastry, butter, 2 sheets of pastry, butter, raspberry butter, seed mixture. 2 sheets of pastry, butter, 2 sheets of pastry, butter, raspberry butter, 2 sheets, butter, 2 sheets, butter. bake til golden and crisp, scoring first if desired.

                              while it bakes make simple syrup. also reduce a good amount of balsamic (i personally prefer using white, so the whole thing doesn't turn brown, and i prefer the flavor) by a lot... i'll take 3/4 - 1 cup and reduce to about a 1/4 cup or less. add as much as you like to the simple syrup. pour over baked baklava as soon as it comes out... and sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt or fleur de sel. let cool completely.

                              1. re: Emme

                                Thanks - you were able to give me enough to go on - sounds tasty!

                                Just to be sure, you use puff pastry rather than filo?

                            2. re: Emme

                              Emme, gosh your mind does go off in different directions....buit i LIKE it...sameness is so boring. This is the time when we can conjure up so many delights, don't you just love it? Yesum, you are out there!!!!! Take us for a spin anytime.

                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Chocolate bark would be excellent. Talk about low effort - high impact treat. You couldn't beat bidders off with a stick.

                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                Chocolate bark is an excellent idea, I have never tasted it though. I will get some.

                            4. The NYT filo torte, also on Cioachowlinda's website. I've been trying to post the link, but my internet keeps dropping out.

                              Alternatively, doggy biscuits. Perhaps packaged by the dozen in vacuum-sealed bags, a number of bags piled into a doggy water dish, wrapped in cellophane. Dog-owners love their pets!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nemo

                                I was thinking along similar lines: we made a batch of dog cookies last night and look great in different sized dog bones or even cat shapes. There's probably a dog safe icing out there too to dress them up. I like the idea of wrapping them with a dog dish.
                                Here's the recipe that the dogs are now trying to get off the counter:
                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...