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Inexpensive, delicious and not melty fundraiser treats to make in advance

The Dairy Queen Apr 16, 2013 06:30 AM

OK, here's a weird one. I would like to make some treats a few weeks in advance to sell at a fundraiser. The fundraiser will be outdoors and it might get hot so, ideally, it would be good if the treats were not the kind that wilted under intense heat. Also, since the point is to raise money, it would be good if they were relatively inexpensive to make. Sweet, savory, beverage, whatever, I'm open to all kinds of ideas.

Any ideas? Tried and true recipes very welcome. And, oh, how much would you pay for a serving of said treat, whatever it may be?


  1. The Dairy Queen May 6, 2013 07:29 AM

    Thanks for the great ideas everyone. We made the Smitten Kitchen salted brown butter rkts and they were a hit.

    I'll keep those in my bag of tricks for the future and also the chocolate chip cookie "bars."


    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      goodhealthgourmet May 6, 2013 09:30 AM

      Glad they went over well!

    2. Savour Apr 22, 2013 01:03 PM

      It seems like nothing that has been suggested can be made a few weeks in advance. What I've done when I want to make a bake sale treat well in advance is to make 4 oz. jars of jam. Depending on what fruit you get, these can be more or less expensive, but they do sell well. If not jam, maybe salted caramels?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Savour
        goodhealthgourmet May 6, 2013 09:29 AM

        It seems like nothing that has been suggested can be made a few weeks in advance.
        Cookies, RK treats, quick breads (banana, pumpkin, etc), dog biscuits, granola, cheese straws & brownies were suggested, and they can all be made ahead & frozen.

        I like the jam idea. The salted caramels would have gotten awfully sticky/melty unless kept in a cooler at the event, but I'm sure they would have been a big hit too.

      2. j
        JudiAU Apr 21, 2013 09:11 PM

        Based on our sales yesterday, anything with fruit or chocolate are the bestsellers. So, maybe freeze unbaked fruit galettes and then bake the morning of? Also, whole items like pumpkin bread prettily wrapped also sold well.

        And things sell for less than you think, so assume $1 per portion $2 for big or fancy. This requires some careful calculation on what you should invest in the baked goods.

        1. chowser Apr 18, 2013 04:25 AM

          You know what's really popular on a hot day is chipwich cookies. Individually wrap whenever you have time and freeze. Keep them in a chest full of ice and they'll be fine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            goodhealthgourmet Apr 18, 2013 08:00 AM


            1. re: chowser
              IndyGirl Apr 21, 2013 07:16 AM

              Great idea!! You could use any cookies too... oatmeal would be awesome since they're often so bendy.

            2. maplesugar Apr 17, 2013 10:19 PM

              I've made chocolate whoopie pies, and they've sold out in a split second. The cakes could be made ahead and frozen, then make the filling and assemble the day before. Knock off Little Debbie Cream pies like: http://bravetart.com/recipes/OatmealC...
              are also good sellers.

              Other popular items that need either refrigeration or last minute prep: jello aquariums made with blue jello and swedish fish(packaged in clear sundae cups with lids and a spoon)-cost pennies, sold for $1 each, sour cream donuts glazed and topped with sprinkles (sold those last week for $0.25 each)

              2 Replies
              1. re: maplesugar
                tcamp Apr 18, 2013 06:13 AM

                Jello aquariums - awesome idea which I will definitely be using for an upcoming teen fundraiser!!

                1. re: tcamp
                  jlhinwa Apr 18, 2013 03:58 PM

                  Someone did that for a school bake sale and they were absolutely adorable. A huge hit!

              2. KarenDW Apr 17, 2013 06:57 PM

                If you have cooler chests for keeping cold-ish, cut up fruit/melon/pineapple wedges or whatever is available inexpensively in your region. Can you ask a produce shop/green grocer to to help out with ingredients?

                1. goodhealthgourmet Apr 16, 2013 07:09 PM

                  Krispy treats are probably your best bet for sweets, and yes, they freeze well ( see my reply above). I'd recommend using gluten-free cereal - the people who can't eat gluten will be clamoring to buy your treats!

                  If you want an alternative to all that sweet stuff, I'd go with cheese straws or savory biscotti or shortbread.

                  1. HillJ Apr 16, 2013 03:03 PM

                    Homemade Cracker Jack. Last time we made them in the shape of hands using a large cookie cutter for the kids and wrapped them in clear cellophane with a ribbon around the wrist. Sold for $4.00 each.

                    Energy bars, no chocolate just dried fruit & nuts.

                    1. juliejulez Apr 16, 2013 01:28 PM

                      What about something like homemade mustard in cute jars? It's different, and very "shelf stable".

                      1. c
                        cheesecake17 Apr 16, 2013 11:34 AM

                        Oh and lemonade in mason jars!

                        You can do a smoothie station, if you have some volunteers willing to lend their blenders.

                        1. chowser Apr 16, 2013 11:33 AM

                          What about your own fun version of chex mix? Add M&M's to make it colorful. Put it in fun see through plastic cone shaped containers.

                          1. c
                            cheesecake17 Apr 16, 2013 11:33 AM

                            . Simple to make, everyone loves it. Lots of ideas for pretty packaging.

                            1. s
                              sandylc Apr 16, 2013 11:30 AM

                              "...it might get hot..."

                              TDQ, did you move away? ;-)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sandylc
                                The Dairy Queen Apr 16, 2013 12:13 PM

                                Well, I'm planning WAY ahead...


                              2. tcamp Apr 16, 2013 11:24 AM

                                Mini loaves of banana bread, empanadas, dog biscuits.

                                Those are a few of the interesting/unique items I've seen recently. I do agree with the poster who suggested rice krispy treats - those do always sell fast.

                                If heat wasn't a concern, chocolate dipped oreos are popular.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tcamp
                                  Wahooty Apr 17, 2013 06:13 PM

                                  In my high school bake sale days, when Mom was willing to pay for ingredients, but I had to do the work...she suggested doing whole loaves of quickbreads. I thought she was crazy. But they sold like hotcakes on a table full of individually-wrapped cookies and brownies. They can be made in advance and frozen, and you're tapping into a different market than your typical bake sale impulse-buy. Beer bread...pumpkin bread...apple cheese bread...all low effort and you can charge a surprising price for them.

                                2. MidwesternerTT Apr 16, 2013 11:04 AM

                                  If you can use coolers to keep the slush frozen on site, banana slush punch might be a good beverage. Scoop the slush into cups, freeze. To serve / sell, pour ginger ale over the frozen slush.

                                  Or freeze the slush in large containers, scoop into cups on-site, and finish with ginger ale.

                                  Whatever you sell, aim for $1 - $2 per serving and set up a "donations" container for those who are feeling more generous.

                                  6 bananas
                                  2 C. frozen lemonade concentrate
                                  6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
                                  6 3/4 C. water
                                  1/2 C. honey
                                  2 quarts ginger ale

                                  Use a blender to combine the bananas & lemonade. Mix with OJ, water & honey. Freeze.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT
                                    jlhinwa Apr 16, 2013 11:39 AM

                                    Oh my gosh, this sounds so wonderful! I will be trying this recipe for summer treats!

                                    1. re: MidwesternerTT
                                      MidwesternerTT Apr 16, 2013 01:43 PM

                                      This alternate version makes 50 servings, using unsweetened pineapple juice and simple syrup. A good friend served this at a summertime 50th birthday party for her spouse.

                                      6 cups water
                                      1 1/2 C. sugar
                                      boil & cool (simple syrup)
                                      5 just-ripe bananas, peeled
                                      46 oz. can unsweetened pineapple juice
                                      12 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
                                      12 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

                                      mix with cooled syrup, freeze.
                                      Fill glass half-full of mix, fill the rest of the way with chilled ginger ale or 7-Up (need about 2 1/2 quarts soda)

                                    2. v
                                      Violatp Apr 16, 2013 10:23 AM

                                      A few weeks in advance is my stumbling block for ideas. If it's something that won't go stale, then some kind of candy, maybe a caramel?

                                      Or spice mixes? It's not something you can eat right away, of course, but homemade taco seasoning, for instance, in a pretty bag tied with a ribbon...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Violatp
                                        The Dairy Queen Apr 16, 2013 10:27 AM

                                        You know, a few weeks in advance isn't essential. It would be kind of good if I could make it a week before if at all possible. I was thinking of stuff that either wouldn't go stale or that I could freeze?


                                      2. j
                                        jlhinwa Apr 16, 2013 10:17 AM

                                        This puzzles me, but whenever there are bake sales at church or school, homemade Rice Krispies treats sell out before anything else (even delectable things like baklava...go figure). I have found that adding in chocolate chips, colorful sprinkles, etc., make them even more appealing.

                                        24 Replies
                                        1. re: jlhinwa
                                          youareabunny Apr 16, 2013 11:11 AM

                                          +1million. Everyone loves rice Krispy treats. You could even do a few flavors - plain, pb, choc, choc with mint, strawberry, M&M'S, fruity pebbles. Etc.

                                          1. re: jlhinwa
                                            Caitlin McGrath Apr 16, 2013 12:21 PM

                                            So true. I can't even count the pans of RKT I made in my bake sale days. I don't even care for them (don't like marshmallows), but they were always the first thing to fly off the table.

                                            While I haven't made these myself, I've seen many raves for the salted brown butter crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/1...

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                              jlhinwa Apr 17, 2013 09:18 PM

                                              As it so happens, I just made those tonight for a bake sale at church this weekend. I also am not a big fan of RKT's but this recipe is an exception. The browned butter and salt take an edge off the obey-gooey sweetness of usual recipe and has a bit of a nutty flavor. Also good is the Nutella and pecan version on the Pioneer Woman website.

                                              1. re: jlhinwa
                                                Emme Apr 17, 2013 11:55 PM

                                                browned butter makes everything better :-D

                                                1. re: Emme
                                                  jlhinwa Apr 18, 2013 03:57 PM

                                                  Yes it does! Love that flavor. I tried numerous times to replicate The Spaghetti Factory's myzithra cheese spaghetti and was always disappointed. Finally I learned that the butter had to be browned....that changed everything!

                                                2. re: jlhinwa
                                                  rtms Apr 21, 2013 09:29 AM

                                                  I was going to suggest RKT too. I'm going to look up the browned butter RKT. I LOVE browned butter.

                                              2. re: jlhinwa
                                                sunangelmb Apr 16, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                Agreed, I can spend hours making many beautiful delicious treats, but a stupid plain tray of rice Krispy treats are always the first to go

                                                1. re: sunangelmb
                                                  The Dairy Queen Apr 16, 2013 01:11 PM

                                                  Wow. I never knew this about the crowds love for rice krispy treats. How odd.


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                    chowser Apr 16, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                    It's really odd. I was surprised that even my kids go for that first at bake sales. And, even vending machines. Put them on a lollipop stick w/ a fun shape, add sprinkles and you're golden at bake sales.

                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                      Violatp Apr 16, 2013 01:25 PM

                                                      And if you use store brand rice krispies, they can be cheap to produce and net a good profit!

                                                      1. re: Violatp
                                                        chowser Apr 16, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                        You can use almost any cereal, which is great. They're good w/ cocoa krispies, too.

                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                          Violatp Apr 16, 2013 01:58 PM

                                                          good point!

                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                            goodhealthgourmet Apr 16, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                            Also great made with corn flakes.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                              jbsiegel Apr 16, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                              LOVE them with corn flakes! Every year as a kid, we always had corn flake cookie wreaths at Christmas time. SUCH fond memories.


                                                              What's interesting is that I don't really appreciate them as RK treats (but my hubby sure does!)

                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                        ipsedixit Apr 16, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                        The thing with rice krispy treats (or any cereal treat with marshmallow as a binder) is that they are not very heat resistant.

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                          youareabunny Apr 17, 2013 10:48 PM

                                                          They'll hold up better with a slightly higher cereal to marshmallow ratio. I prefer them this way to cut down the sweetness and for texture.

                                                          1. re: youareabunny
                                                            goodhealthgourmet Apr 18, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                            Plus, though the marshmallow may soften a bit in the heat & get a little gooey, the treats don't really, "melt" the way chocolate-heavy items do.

                                                      3. re: sunangelmb
                                                        Violatp Apr 16, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                        In defense of rice krispy treats, they are tasty! :-) I've never tried freezing them, though I imagine if they were wrapped well, they'd keep in a fridge just fine.


                                                        That's a sort of dressed up version I've been wanting to try.

                                                        1. re: Violatp
                                                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 16, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                          Krispy treats freeze well. The trick is to layer them in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                            Violatp Apr 16, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                            I didn't know that, cool! Another point in rice krispie treats favor.

                                                          2. re: Violatp
                                                            jlhinwa Apr 17, 2013 09:25 PM

                                                            I just made those tonight for a bake sale this weekend. They are very good, and I'm not a big rice Krispy treat fan. I also added in some good milk chocolate chunks. M

                                                          3. re: sunangelmb
                                                            greygarious Apr 16, 2013 02:16 PM

                                                            Here are some ideas for tweaking RKTs:

                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                              Violatp Apr 16, 2013 02:18 PM

                                                              There are lots of other ideas in that thread, too. Good find!

                                                          4. re: jlhinwa
                                                            valerie Apr 17, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                            I hate rice krispie treats. But I wholeheartedly agree that most people love them and they will disappear.

                                                            I recently made Nutella rice krispie treats but they sounded better than they tasted. It was a waste of the Nutella!

                                                          5. t
                                                            treb Apr 16, 2013 08:34 AM

                                                            Ginger Snaps, you can make five doz, 'cus they're small, in one batch.

                                                            1. ipsedixit Apr 16, 2013 08:26 AM

                                                              Sugar cookies mixed with either M&M, Reese's Pieces or Boston baked beans?

                                                              Cheap, simple to make and delicious to eat.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                charmedgirl Apr 16, 2013 10:12 AM

                                                                Yes!! Sugar cookies mixed with Boston baked beans were my favorite as a kid!

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  sueatmo Apr 16, 2013 11:26 AM

                                                                  Everyone loves these, and you can make them a little larger and charge a little more.

                                                                2. m
                                                                  maxie Apr 16, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                  Caramel corn sold in cellophane bags. The Karo recipe (using real butter and vanilla) is great and inexpensive. I add peanuts and sometimes a small prize for that Cracker Jack effect.

                                                                  1. f
                                                                    flashria Apr 16, 2013 07:33 AM

                                                                    flapjacks are always a winner and are very easy and cheap to make in bulk - and are unaffected by all but the most boiling weather. My family's favourite have ginger in to make them more interesting; raisins and/or coconut and/or cherries make good additions. They have the bonus of being easy to eat whilst walking around.

                                                                    You could also make cheese straws (I cheat and use bought puff pastry which makes them very quick to do). Tied together with some raffia in, say, threes would be attractive.

                                                                    How about traditional butter shortbread too?

                                                                    Home-made lemonade is easy to do as a beverage, which people always think is impressive and a nice change from shop-bought fizzy; lots of lemons and bags of sugar is not expensive and you could ladle it on the spot into paper cups and add a colourful straw.

                                                                    1. r
                                                                      Rasam Apr 16, 2013 07:09 AM

                                                                      I just made a batch of candied peanuts (you could use almonds, pecans, or other nuts too) from this David Lebovitz recipe:


                                                                      Here is a nuts and pretzels mix:

                                                                      The peanut recipe was very easy, very good, and is quite cheap. There are flavor variations suggested or you could come up with your own. Will stand up to hot or cold days. Another advantage is that they are egg free.

                                                                      You could google for other recipes and flavors (e.g. chile-lime peanuts, masala cashewnuts/peanuts, etc. etc.)

                                                                      You could get creative with the packaging, and sell them in the $ 5.00 range.

                                                                      1. Kris in Beijing Apr 16, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                                        Meringue Puffs? Could be sweet or savory, and you can adjust the size a bit.

                                                                        As it's a fundraiser [and people will accept high pricing] maybe:
                                                                        in Paper hot dog "trays" 4/$2?
                                                                        in Cute [yet cheap] boxes and do 8/$5?

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