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Bake sale? What should i bake?

My daughter's gym is having a local meet and they are offering some baked goods along with drinks. The gym is asking parents to bring a little something. I'm not sure what to bake though and was wondering if anyone had any good recipes that they themselves ( and would make again) for either bar treats or cookies.

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  1. I am a 14 year veteran of school bake sales, and here is my advice: don't be creative. There are three things that sell reliably -- chocolate chip cookies, or the bar version made from the chocolate chip bag, brownies, and cupcakes, either minis of full sized. I have tried other many other cookie recipes and they languish.

    10 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I'd actually add Rice Krispie treats to that. Especially if they're made big (very thick) with extra non melty mini marshmallows

      1. re: Savour

        Yep: Rice Krispie treats are a bake sale classic.. everyone loves them.

        1. re: rstuart

          I'm not usually a huge fan of Rice Krispie treats, but recently we had some from a local cafe that were topped with a layer of peanut butter cream and then a layer of chocolate ganache and they were delicious.

          1. re: cookie monster

            If there's one thing that I've learned from several years of reading way, way too many food blogs, it's that there is a seemingly infinite number of things that can be done to Rice Krispie Squares!

        2. re: Savour

          I am always surprised at how quickly rice krispie treats go. Not doctored up, just plain squares.

          For the OP, my go-to bake sale give away is whoopie pies. Individually wrapped in plastic so easy to sell, people know what they are but you don't see them often so they go quickly. To me, they're like cupcakes w/ a better ratio of cake to frosting.

          1. re: chowser

            My kids' last school never held bake sales so I've only become a bake sale veteran the last few years. Thanks to advice received here I package everything individually and make either whoopie pies or sandwich cookies (reverse oreos) for most of their sales and they always sell out.

            I was caught short on time for the last sale and made jello aquariums, packaging them in sundae cups with a lid and spoon-those went quick too but it felt like cheating :)

              1. re: alkapal

                yep. they're actually really cute. you can also add star-shaped gummies (or cut marshmallows into stars) to mimic starfish.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Sure is...not sure if you have swedish fish-they're a little sturdier than gummy bears. I used the quickset method, and added a fish to the bottom using a skewer and a few peeking out the top heads/tails up. I think Maynard's Swedish Fish are Canadian but a quick google shows there are other brands-and an "Aquatic Life" mix that would make for interesting aquariums: http://www.candywarehouse.com/product...

          2. re: roxlet

            I agree with roxlet - the brownies with m&ms on top were the first thing to sell out at the last bake sale. Keep it basic.

          3. chocolate biscotti.

            at least that's what i'd buy. LOL

            there have been a couple of "bake sale" threads here on chowhound. you might get inspiration there.

            i tend to agree with roxlet here. don't make "strange" things. if i pass by a bake sale, and they don't have my biscotti (ha!), then i'll opt for some large chocolate chip & nut cookies.

            1 Reply
            1. re: alkapal

              Sad but true...I once worked the pantry station in a popular local restaurant, and nine times out of ten the customers ordered chocolate desserts, leaving my lovely fruit creations to languish...the chef finally turned them into chutney!

            2. Chocolate Chip Brownies. Make any chocolate chip cookie recipe but leave out the chocolate chips. Spread dough in brownie pan. Put chocolate chips on top. Put pan in oven for 3-4 minutes until chips soften then take a knife and run it through the dough a few times to marbleize the chocolate in ribbons throughout. Continue baking. Cool. Cut into squares.

              This is quicker than making chocolate chip cookies. A recipe that uses the 12-oz bag of chocolate chips will make a 9 x 13 pan of chocolate chip brownies.

              1. neopolitan rice krispie treats

                1. cupcakes baked in ice cearm cones and then frosted. (so they look like ice cream)They are always the first things to go at our bake sales. The kids beg for them.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ctfoodie

                    cute idea. do you rig up a "stand" by using a box and cutting holes in it for the cones?

                    1. re: alkapal

                      You could if you were crafty (which i am not). I just stand them up in muffin pans :)

                      1. re: alkapal

                        you can also use a thick chunk of styrofoam.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          You can turn a shirt box upside down and cut X's in it. One thing with these is that the cones get soggy overnight so not something you want to make in advance.

                      2. I third (fourth?) the suggestion to stick with the basics - brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes. One non-chocolate option that I've found goes over well is lemon bars.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cookie monster

                          I was going to suggest lemon bars--they go quick. Banana bread is also popular. Whole pies went well as did bags of homemade granola. But others are right, don't be shy about sticking with the basics.

                        2. call me crazy, but since this is a gym function i'd opt for something with a bit more of a "health halo," like David Lebovitz's Friendship Bars, or Heidi Swanson's Big Sur Power Bars (i might add chocolate chips to the latter to increase their kid appeal).

                          http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/03/...
                          http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Ditto on this suggestion and both recipes. We've also found that if you offer a treat on a stick it sells. We compared cookies and bars with and without sticks and the snacks offered on a stick flew.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Using her idea but my recipes, I made Pie Pops like the ones on the cover of Gesine Bullock-Prado's "Pie it Forward". I brought them not to a bake sale but to a craft group I belong to. Everyone loved the idea, and gobbled them up. I used flower-shaped cookie cutters and put the finished pie pops in a vase, for a pie bouquet.

                              Hand pies or turnovers are also good bake sale sellers, but more work than most cookies, bars, etc., especially if you make your own dough.

                              Regardless of the cause, I find that cellophane baggies of homemade dog biscuits sell well. You can use bone-shaped cookie cutters, or just pat the mixture into a sheet pan and score into sticks halfway through baking. Recipes are unnecessary - I mix peanut butter, bacon grease or other saved meat fats, oatmeal, flour, crushed unsweetened cold cereal, garlic powder,egg, etc.
                              Bake on low heat until they are hard and dry.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                Love your ideas. Dog biscuits is a sensational idea. We like the people/pets pairings at fairs.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  double love. This is a winner graygarious! Dog treats would be a hit anywhere.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              There was a mother at my son's school who baked stuff like that. They never sold. I always felt bad when they were left at the end of the bake sale. My motto is to give 'em what they want. After all, you're trying to raise money not change eating habits!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                roxlet, that's what makes the world go round. Our healthier offerings sell faster than the sugar-laden and if you plunk a fresh berry on top all the better. We had raspberry bars and apricots bars flying out the corner we set up in. But sure, the rice krispie bars, s'more brownies and cccookies went too!

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  yep. i've never had a morsel left over when selling whole-grain and fruit-laden goodies alongside the standard bake sale fare. i'll never understand why people automatically assume that kids *only* want the ultra-sweet or less healthful stuff. i didn't when i was little. and not everyone loves chocolate (crazy as it may sound).

                                  i love me some chocolate, but i'll take one of your apricot bars over a CCC every time ;)

                                2. re: roxlet

                                  my experience too. Chocolate chip cookies, plain blondies, rice krispies treats, brownies without nuts. And don't splurge on the very best ingredients because you can't charge enough to make it worth it.

                                  1. re: magiesmom

                                    oh that we can agree, sometimes price/seasonal prices can make it difficult to cover the cost of selling goods at bake sales. school selling is very different than market/fairs/food fests.

                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                      When you come right down to it with the bake sales, it's parents/volunteer time being used for money. I realized, after making a couple of dozen whoopie pies, selling for 75 cents each, that we made $18, it was about minimum wage for my time, and didn't count for the cost of ingredients. I could easily just work for an hour and donate that money! It's pure profit for the activity, though, since cost comes out of our pocket.

                                3. I agree that the classics sell well because people know they like it and aren't wasting money. I also agree that cutesy sells very well because kids are easily swayed by pretty things - pink popcorn balls, candy apples, pastel coloured meringues, candy kabobs etc. There was someone on another thread here a few days ago who made jello aquariums for her bake sale and they were the first to go. My last piece of advice that no one seems to have mentioned is whole pies. People like having something they can bring home and serve the whole family for dinner rather than buying 5 individual packets of things and a lot of people seem to hate making pie crust, so they see it as a special treat.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: dianne0712

                                    i think the reason people don't do pies at bake sales is the price point most of the smaller items tend to go for the same range, and a whole pie or cake would have to be sold for much more.

                                    but i like the idea of mini pies...which reminds me, whoopie pies are always a hit.

                                    1. re: dianne0712

                                      We had trouble with sliced pies that involved serving them on plates/forks/walking around while enjoying it. Where handheld pies, mini versions that didn't involve plates/forks/etc. did really well. Especially unusual flavors.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        no, just sell the whole pie. Would you rzther have4 little bags with 3 or 4 cookies for $2.50 each or a whole pie for 12?

                                        1. re: dianne0712

                                          Pies are harder to transport, you need alot of pies to make it worth your while. We prefer items that are easy to cash & carry. For bake sales at schools, how many pies would you be able to bake and sell in one day?

                                    2. Congo bars and "blondies" have always been a big hit in my town for bake sales.

                                      1. I'd make these cherry pie bars, with cream cheese swirled in. At least, that's what I'm craving---and they're pretty, too!

                                        http://www.prettykittenskitchen.com/2...

                                        1. Aside from ccc's, I'd also consider molasses spice cookies, peanut butter cookies and snickerdoodles. I use the Cook's Illustrated recipes for all three and people always love them. Remove them from the oven before they look completely done if you like soft chewy cookies (which I do!)

                                          http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mola...
                                          http://obsessedwithbaking.blogspot.co...
                                          http://theculinarychronicles.com/2010...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: gmm

                                            For a recent bake sale, I threw caution to the wind and made cookies from the Heath Bar Brickel bag in addition to some CCC bars. These were gorgeous, large cookies, and were so delicious. Here's what my son said, "Mom, don't bother. Nobody ate them, but the chocolate chip cookie bars flew off the table." Now, this was not an exotic cookie -- I mean, Heath Bar Crunch! And these are relatively sophisticated NYC kids. I'm just not doing anything more than the basics anymore. And hats off to those of you who are able to get kids to buy healthy treats and by pass the CCCs, etc. Just sayin'.

                                            And BTW, these bake sales are a regular feature at my son's school. They're not big, once a year affairs that are run by parents. I send my son to school with the treats I've baked. The most recent one was to raise money for his class's end of school trip. So these bake sales are run by the HS kids, and frequented by HS and Middle School students. Teachers and other adults who are in the school at that time also buy the treats. And one of the biggest sellers? Some kids are given money by their parents to go to the local pizzeria during a lunch period, and then they sell pizza by the slice. Kids also bring in bakery cupcakes-- like those enormous, sugary cupcakes from Sprinkles -- and those sell out fast too.

                                          2. Another idea, perhaps too grown up, but interesting, is to make 'cocktail shortbreads". I have taken them to a couple of fundraiser bake sales and they FLEW off the table...

                                            Check out Dorie Greenspan's take on this idea. Easy, not expensive or time-consuming, yet interesting and different....

                                            http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/d...

                                            Easily packed into little cello bags, or a cute tin.

                                            I made these last holiday season for hostess gifts, and they were gushed over. Pretty and delish'

                                            1. How about making something that is delicious but people would not normally bake themselves? Something along the lines of Baklava.

                                              1. Rice Krispy bars.... you can make them with Cheerio's, too.
                                                As for "healthy" how about bags of homemade granola? Maybe a mom will buy them.
                                                My experience with kids, keep it simple. Something they recognize.
                                                and really, if these are kids from a gym, they are probably burning calories, and if they wanted a healthy fundraiser, probably wouldn't do a bake sale. (But, soup and salad sales are just so tricky.)

                                                1. What about a savory option? Mini pizza pockets or ham and cheese muffins are simple and would appeal to us weird-os who don't like sugary snacks :)

                                                  1. The only thing I haven't seen suggested is the ultimate 7 layer bar.....I make them all the time and everyone loves them......they fly off the table. Recipe:

                                                    allrecipes.com/recipe/seven-layer-bars/

                                                    I make them with different chips and different nuts. Lot's of different combinations possible.
                                                    Pack them in individual zip locks and your good to go.

                                                    1. to follow up on the dog treats suggestion, here are a couple of recipes -- (scroll down within the link) http://www.letseatwithchantal.ca/