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

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?

~TDQ

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  1. 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?

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

      http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/04/...

      Here is a nuts and pretzels mix:
      http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/12/...

      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. 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. 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. 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

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

              1. re: ipsedixit

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

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

                1. 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

                    +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

                      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

                        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

                          browned butter makes everything better :-D

                          1. re: Emme

                            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

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

                        2. re: jlhinwa

                          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

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

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              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

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

                                1. re: Violatp

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

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                                        http://www.food.com/recipe/christmas-...

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

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                  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.

                                  http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/1...

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

                                  1. re: Violatp

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

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

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

                                    2. re: Violatp

                                      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

                                      1. re: greygarious

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

                                    3. re: jlhinwa

                                      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!

                                    4. 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

                                        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?

                                        ~TDQ

                                      2. 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.

                                        Proportions:
                                        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

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

                                          1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                            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. 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

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

                                              TDQ, did you move away? ;-)

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

                                                1. 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. Oh and lemonade in mason jars!

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

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

                                                      1. 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. 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. 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. 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

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

                                                                1. re: tcamp

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

                                                              2. 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

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

                                                                  2. 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. 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

                                                                        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. 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."

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1 Reply