With the start of school, sports and other extracurricular activities, can a plea for bake sale items be far behind?
Amid the magazine sales, coupon-book sales, car washes and school carnivals, the bake sale remains a favorite in the arsenal of school and club fund-raisers, but it requires one essential element: delectable baked goods.
We asked readers to share their bake sale favorites with us — recipes that fly off the table the minute the sale begins.
For Rose Strains, of Mesa, it’s her Chocolate Revel Bar recipe.
"It’s from a Better Homes & Gardens magazine that I clipped 30 years ago," she says.
"It’s a favorite of my family’s, at fund-raisers and potluck suppers. Plus it freezes well."
Freezer storage is a good thing when thinking about foods for a bake sale. Breads, muffins and cookies that can be made ahead and frozen will be like gold waiting in the bank. When the call for goodies comes and and there’s no time to cook, your treasure can be retrieved.
Good examples are "Chocolate Chip Banana Bread" and "Spiced Zucchini Bread," from Bev Brodie of Colorado Springs.
"Both of these recipes are easy to make and freeze ahead, and thus, have on stock for any gift or big sale," she says. "I always make Rhubarb-Strawberry Jelly and have plenty on hand, so it is easy to grab a few jars for any sale. I add a decorative material to the lid, and it is a quick sale."
Bake sale time for Marilyn Smith of Gold Canyon, Ariz., means one thing: "I make Apple-Cheese Dessert Pizza," she says. "It was my Blue Ribbon pie from our fair back home in Pennsylvania."
Teresa Cantwell of Colorado Springs takes a healthy approach with the baked goods she brings to sales.
"Some parents tend to steer their children away from the baked goods table," she says. "So many of the sales don’t offer healthy foods or snacks. That’s why I adapted this recipe I call Omega Oyster Crackers, using healthy oils for the regular vegetable oil."
She used a recipe from the back of the Kroger brand of oyster crackers and substituted oil rich in Omega 3 and 6 for the oil the recipe calls for.
"I believe that these oils are necessary for healthy brain functioning," she says.
It’s good to have a stash of sure-fire recipes at the ready, but there’s more to a bake sale than showing up with goodies.
"The bake sale is as American as apple pie," says Jane Mengenhauser, author of "Bake Sale Bonanza: How to Raise Funds Selling Homemade Food," "but putting on a good one is not easy."
Mengenhauser hit upon the idea for a booklet about bake sales after getting good response to a story she did on the topic in the Army, Navy, Air Force Times magazine.
"I wrote the article a long, long, time ago, and my interest grew," says Mengenhauser, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area. "There were a lot of bake sales around. Most of them needed help."
Her booklet shows schools, churches, libraries and other community groups how to turn lemons into lemonade. The emphasis is on planning, publicizing and getting the right people to head the event. With those elements and some great baked goods, you’ll be readyfor your group to rake in the dough.
Before you bake
Jane Mengenhauser, author of "Bake Sale Bonanza: How to Raise Funds Selling Homemade Food," offers these tips for winning bake sales:
Leadership. Pick a chairperson with care. Because this person will oversee the event from start to finish, he or she must be detail-oriented and a good people person.
Location! Location! Location! Select a site that has a lot of traffic: banks, supermarkets, shopping malls, college campuses, church parking lots after services and ball parks during games.
Timing. If the sale is in the morning, think about offering cinnamon rolls and muffins to customers. If the sale is after school, provide a savory snack. If the sale is in the evening, you could have volunteers bring pot pies or heartier fare for those who may not have had supper.
Logistics. If the sale is in conjunction with another event, be sure to get permission in writing for the space. You might have to pay for a space or give back a portion of your profits. If you’re doing the sale in a shopping center, get permission from the merchants before setting up.
Advertising. Make creative, colorful and imaginative posters. Pass out flyers as well.
Thefood. Variety is everything. Make a list of foods being made by volunteers so you don’t end up with too much of one item.
Presentation. Package baked goods attractively with plastic wrap and colorful ribbon. Divide the baked goods according to type (cookies, cakes) and size (whole cakes, individual cookies). If there are several tables, group together the pies, cakes and cookies, or maybe have one table just for chocolate goods.
Pricing. Check prices at local stores, bakeries, farmers markets and other bake sales to find out what a fair price for your goodies should be.