Bakers’ Basics: The Thanksgiving Table

 

This is the fourth post in a blog series called Bakers’ Basics with Marcy Goldman. In this post, she shares her best Thanksgiving recipes, both classic and modern! Here’s Marcy:

I love Thanksgiving for oh-so-many reasons. As a baker, I love this time of year because it’s perfect for baking (it’s just beginning to be chilly, so it’s cozy inside) and the full harvest of the land is upon us. There’s just such a bounty! Add the Thanksgiving gathering table to the mix, which is the best time to create amazing food, host and celebrate, and it’s easy to see why I’m so smitten. In fact, the only challenge is choosing what to make for Thanksgiving and culling it down to a manageable feast. There’s the turkey, of course, and all the savory sides, and as a baker who cooks, I want to strut my best stuff with the ‘mains.’ But Thanksgiving is also a time that I want to showcase the best desserts I have, as well as baking powder breads. Decisions, decisions!

In this month’s feature, I’m delighted to share some hallmark flavors and recipes for the holiday table. I’ve chosen a special recipe collection that is both sweet and savory, traditional and contemporary.

Overnight Parker House Biscuits

An overnight rise makes these flakey, ready-to-bake fresh, and just when you need them! Just cut and bake what you need (the dough holds for a few days). This is baking powder biscuit-easy fused to the heritage taste of traditional Parker House rolls. The combination of yeast and baking powder (but no kneading is involved) makes these biscuits extra light. Portions of dough can be baked (or fried) as desired.

Pumpkin Pie Cake Doughnuts

If you happen to adore old-fashioned cake doughnuts, this recipe has your name on it. Baking powder goes a long way to transform a simple dough into a crisp/tender doughnut that touts the essence of Thanksgiving in one whiff of a fresh batch.

Pendelton Pie

Pendelton Pie is essentially chocolate pecan pie that features a unique chocolate shortbread tart/crust. It’s both extravagant and delicious. There’s many Pendelton Pie recipes floating around, but my version is tweaked to perfection. It’s a perfect pie for Thanksgiving (Baker’s trick: a pinch of baking powder in the tart dough adds a bit of flakiness!).

Cranberry Orange Biscotti

This is a clementine-infused biscotti, dotted with fresh cranberries. Once baked and cut into sticks, it is then dipped in fresh orange juice, pressed in fine sugar, and baked once again into a crisp, sweet finale. A wonderful dessert for the festive table or a perfect gift.

Mulled Apple Cider 

This will take the chill out of the air, and it’s also a wonderful hostess potable to serve throughout the fall into winter, starting with Thanksgiving. You could also add a touch of vanilla extract to this, or even a few bags of green tea or chamomile. I serve this in glass mugs with slices of honey crisp apples and a cinnamon stick.

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Bakers’ Basics: Spices for Fall Baking

 

This is the third post in a blog series called Bakers’ Basics with Marcy Goldman. In this post, she shares her favorite spiced desserts! Here’s Marcy:

The Mistress of Spices, a wonderful novel (also a film) by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is set in a lavish spice store where its owner, Tilo, is both spell caster and spice witch. Her domain is ‘the spices’ and her loyalty to them, in service to administering to others (especially the lovelorn), is admirable.

There’s just one problem: the ‘spices’ (an entity unto themselves) ask their mistress to abandon her own heart’s desires. This means Tilo can never fall in love herself and instead is married to the spices and their curative powers (spices are great in baking but they hardly are husband material). Tilo maintains that ‘everyone has a spice.’ Hers is sesame, and the man she loves? His is chili – oh so passionate! There’s a happy ending to this spice love story, but there’s an even better spice story going on in your own kitchen.

What spice are you? Fall is an excellent time to think about it. Just stroll down the spice aisle of your supermarket or favorite bulk food store. Or browse some amazing online spice shops; I fall in love with spices all over again just reading about the varieties to try. Are you warm cinnamon, exotic cardamom or perky allspice? You can be a spice-a-day for this season of hospitality.

Now recipes for cookies, scones, muffins, biscotti and more all call for spices – because not only do spices uplift your baking, but they’re a great counterpoint to the nip in the air. The only thing you mustn’t do when it comes to spices is use old ones or less than fine-quality ones.

New harvests deserve a fresh batch of spices, so freshen up your canisters and jars. Invest in the finest, fragrant spices you can find to make your recipes swell in flavor and dimension. Don’t use cinnamon or nutmeg in a recipe without first smelling it to see it’s viable. Stale spices ruin the baking, but fresh spices are gold!

Great home baking demands so little and delivers so much. That little bit of spice a recipe calls for might as well be one more jewel in the crown of your finished loaf, cake or cookie. Be a mistress of spices and you’ll find yourself master of your baker’s domain. And don’t forget, since it’s a brand new season of baking, to not only refresh your spices, but make sure you’re using a fresh can of baking powder, too!

Chewy Crumble Buttermilk Spice Cake
Mouth-watering, buttery and tender, this reminds you of New England B&B. Everything in this recipe depend on using the finest of simple things, such as the best quality cinnamon and freshest nutmeg. The chewy crumble topping is addictive; try not to just eat that and leave the cake!

Cinnamon Ripple Biscotti
These nicely crunchy biscotti whip up in a flash. Just invest in quality, fresh cinnamon and then text message the coffee klatch gals to come over quick! I’m so fussy about the cinnamon component that I order a selection of cassia, Ceylon, and Vietnamese cinnamons and mix them together for a hot, sweet, lively cinnamon blend.

Cardamom Rusks
Rusks are a nice, crisp cookie. These are gently spiced and fragrant in the way only something made with almonds, sour cream, butter and cardamom could be. A perfect cookie-jar cookie.

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DIY Mason Jar Baking Mixes

 

What could be more adorable than a sweet treat in a jar? Mason jar baking mixes are a fun, budget-friendly way to give the joy of baking as a holiday gift. The best part – it’s so easy to personalize. Get the kids involved for a fun afternoon project they can give their teachers or servicemen and women. Does your boss love chocolate chip cookies? Is your best friend a pumpkin bread fiend? These gifts show off your creativity, and your thoughtfulness.

Pecan Pancake Mason Jar Mix

With this recipe you’ll be dreaming about these fluffy pancakes long before you even wake up. Layer the dry ingredients in a jar, add a colorful ribbon and a thoughtful tag. Want to dress it up even more? Put wrapping paper on the removable metal disk on the lid to give the jar that extra dash of holiday spice.

Jar Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Don’t forget to write down additional ingredients and instructions on a creative label or tag:
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter on a hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook until tops of pancakes are covered with bubbles and edges appear slightly dry. Turn and continue cooking until bottom sides are browned. Yield: 12 (4-inch) pancakes.

Brownie Drop Cookies

Nothing says “I love you” like the sweet, savory explosion that comes from blending brownies and cookies. That’s right — brownies AND cookies. Just the name of this recipe is a gift in and of itself.

Jar Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
One (4-ounce) bar white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Don’t forget to write down additional ingredients and instructions!

This mason jar baking mix makes a great centerpiece to a homemade gift basket – add it to a handmade kitchen towel, a pair of oven mitts and a batch of fresh baked brownie drop cookies.

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

Cranberry and orange give this quick bread  bright flavor. Decorate it by adding a paper poinsettia to the lid or wrapping a red and black Santa belt around the jar. Add a little green glitter to the lid or tag, and you have the perfect DIY holiday gift.

Jar Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Rumford Baking Soda
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Include additional ingredients and instructions with each jar.

Remember, what’s outside is almost as important as what’s inside. You can dress up your mason jar in a number of clever, colorful holiday themes. Let your love of baking be a gift that keeps on giving. Mason jar baking mixes make gifts that are both fun to make and fun to give.

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Bake, Freeze, Reheat, Repeat – Fix and Freeze Meals

 

With our double-booked days and over packed calendars, it’s amazing we remember to breathe, let alone eat. If the time it takes to prepare the dinner menu is becoming a nightly dilemma, don’t let yourself resort to the drive-thru. There’s hope! Time to try your hand at fix and freeze meals.

Freeze and Bake Entrees

You can freeze a full meal, like this hearty Beef Casserole with Dumplings, the perfect warming dish to savor as you watch those final leaves fall. Any stew, chili, soup or casserole can be prepped on the weekend and popped in the oven later in the week. Ready to get started? Give it a go with this Italian Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Freeze flat in a plastic bag, defrost when you’re ready to serve and reheat on the stove. One spoonful, and you’ll be sold.

Freeze and Bake Breads

Need a crowd-pleasing finger food for that office holiday party? Want to add a special treat to spaghetti night, but you’re short on time? Try this amazing Stuffed Paesan Bread or dish out warm Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.

Freeze and Bake Desserts

Looking to serve up heaven on a plate in a moment’s notice? It’s time to try out Clabber Girl’s insanely delicious, life-changing dessert in a pinch.

Chocolate Truffle Dulce de Leche Brownies:

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. can dulce de leche caramel sauce
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
3 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled.
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X13-inch pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray, and line bottom with parchment paper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a mixer, blend melted butter with white and brown sugars. Add the vanilla, eggs and cooled chocolate.

3. In a separate bowl, hand whisk the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Fold into batter and blend well, scraping bottom of mixing bowl to ensure ingredients are evenly combined. Fold in nuts.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Deposit dollops of dulce de leche on top of batter. Smear with a fork to blend into the batter. Place pan on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake until done, 35 to 38 minutes. Cool then freeze one hour before cutting. To cut, un-mold and peel off parchment paper. Cut into squares about 2 1/2 by 3 inches. Wrap each in wax paper and keep frozen or refrigerated.

Freeze and Bake Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do: Take a few hours over the weekend to relax while prepping these comforting recipes.
  • Don’t: Invite freezer burn! Sure, freezing technically protects food indefinitely, but we often forget to close a bag correctly or seal a container tightly.
  • Do: Label your goods. Whether you use bags or bowls, plastic or aluminum, be sure to mark down the what and the when.
  • Don’t: Forget ingredients. Sure, you can freeze whole casseroles and desserts, but you can also freeze main ingredients like chicken breasts, browned hamburger, spaghetti sauce and much, much more.
  • Do: Thaw safely. In the fridge or in cold water is the safest way to thaw frozen food without losing any taste or texture.
  • Don’t: Freeze hot food. If you cook before you freeze, be sure to let the food cool before you get it ready for storage.

The stress of getting a healthy meal on the table shouldn’t overshadow the joy of sitting down with your family at the end of the day. Maybe you just need a few extra minutes for dinner, or maybe an unexpected potluck popped up. Either way, there are literally hundreds of delicious recipes you can prep, bake and freeze. Check out our Bake & Freeze Pinterest board for more inspiration!

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Repurposing Leftover Halloween Candy

 

From carving pumpkins to making costumes, Halloween offers many wonderful ways to clock some QT with the kiddos. But now you have giant bowls of candy around the house that the kids beg for every. single. night.

Use up that candy – for their sake, and yours! – with these fun recipes and ideas. And should you choose to keep a secret stash for those moments, we don’t blame you a bit.

Add it to the batter.

Who said baking had strict rules? A simple brownie recipe like this one leaves room for your own additions. Simply exchange the pecans for your favorite chopped candy pieces, and bake as normal. Do the same with these Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. Caramel, peanut butter, coconut or mint candies make these traditional recipes completely customizable. Bake sale coming up? Your turn to host book club? We know what you’re having.

Give elegant desserts a little flair. 

Even the most elegant desserts can benefit from a little candy. Caramel Toffee Cheesecake is the perfect excuse to use a few crushed mini Heath bars to scatter on top. Make Peanut Butter Pie extra pretty with peanut butter cups split in half and placed cut-side down along the crust. Or give classic shortbread a modern twist with this Butterfinger version from Savory Simple. You’re welcome.

For everyone saying “Who has time for that?” almond bark makes it easy. Get your little ghouls and goblins involved and have them add their favorite Halloween toppings!

Ingredients:

6 squares white chocolate
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds

Halloween Toppings: Crushed Oreos, Reese’s Pieces, pretzels, gummy worms, candy corn, mini marshmallows, candy eyeballs, mini pumpkin candy, etc.

Instructions:

Partially melt white chocolate squares in the microwave. Stir in the almonds. Spread on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Top with Halloween toppings, then chill until firm.

Melt it down.

Why buy ice cream sauce when you have the makings at your fingertips? Crush up about 10 small candy bars of your choice. Keep them the same, or mix them up! Melt them down in a saucepan with ½ cup heavy cream, and stir until thick and creamy.

Share the love.

If your child has a birthday coming up, save the candy to put in goodie bags as party favors. Or, stuff a piñata as a birthday present that any child would be thrilled to receive! You can also send leftover Halloween candy overseas to support our soldiers. Operation Shoebox organizes care packages and are always in need, especially around the holidays. Just avoid sending chocolate!

Think of leftover Halloween candy as an asset – not a hindrance – to your stockpile of baking ingredients. Enjoy experimenting with your favorite candy bars!

Happy treating!

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Beer Bread: Baking in the Spirit of Fall

 

Even though Oktoberfest celebrations around the world came to a close, we’re still inspired to raise our glasses to new ways to enjoy beer – in our bread! From afternoon tailgating to Halloween parties and fall festivals, we welcome beer’s rich malt in the fall, often accented by seasonal flavors like pumpkin or warm vanilla.

Whether you’re hosting your own fall gathering, or just want to get into the spirit of things, beer bread is incredibly tasty and easy.

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 c. sugar (may substitute with 3 tbsp. honey)
12 oz. beer (your preference)
1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan by lightly wiping with oil or spraying with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl; combine the flour, sugar or honey, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, and salt. Add beer to bowl with dry mixture and stir just until combined.

3. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the middle is set.

That’s not a mistake; beer bread really is that simple. The beer’s yeast assists the baking powder in the leavening, so all you have to do is mix the ingredients and bake.

If you’re worried about alcohol content — don’t be! The alcohol evaporates during the baking process, making beer bread a fast and simple family-friendly seasonal side. And don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a pumpkin beer for an extra layer of savory flavor in every bite.

You can also try these Cheesy Beer Biscuits, made with tangy cheddar and hearty oats. And for those intrigued by the concept but don’t want to make beer the star, Herb Cheese Quick Bread includes enough to enhance the flavor without overpowering the herbs.

But don’t limit your brew to just bread. Even beer that’s gone flat can make a flavorful batter for your onion ring fix. Or try it in dessert! The richness of beer pairs well with these dark, chocolate brownies with buttercream frosting.

Cheers!

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DIY Baking Mix

 

We can’t control what our family eats during the day. Sure, we can try, but the one real shot we have is when we all sit down at dinner for a healthy, happy home-cooked meal.

But who has time for that?

From your full-time hectic job to balancing homework and soccer practice, there is hardly time to take a breath, let alone cook a healthy dinner. It may seem far easier to throw some tube biscuits in the oven; however, with a little planning ahead of time, you can be the home-cooked dinner hero, bringing warm, delicious homemade bread straight to the table in minutes.

Baking mixes are an easy way to get bread to the table fast. In the grocery store, baking mixes come in little bags or boxes, some labeled with ingredients you can hardly pronounce. But it’s incredibly simple to create your own baking mixes at home. Start with this simple one:

Clabber Girl Basic Baking Mix

Ingredients:

9 c. all-purpose flour (may substitute up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or your choice of bleached or unbleached flour)
1/3 c. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. shortening

Instructions:

In a large bowl combine flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Cut shortening into mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Place mix into a sealed container to be stored, in a dry place (plastic containers work fine).

Storage Tips:

  1. Place mix into a tightly sealed container in a dry place. Plastic containers work fine.
  2. Counter or cupboard: 3 months
  3. Refrigerator: 6 months
  4. Whole grain mix: store in a refrigerator to avoid spoiling.

This basic blend is the first step in creating a warm, relaxing kitchen, filled with Blackberry Oatmeal Bars, Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and savory Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

Click here for more recipes that use the basic baking mix!

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Secrets to Using a Cast-Iron Skillet

 

Inexpensive and durable, naturally nonstick and nearly indestructible, cast-iron skillets are a kitchen essential.

They last for generations, so the same skillet that brought you grandma’s juicy fried chicken now helps you whip up a decadent Apple Pecan Skillet Cake. The best part? The more you use it, the better it gets.

Cast-irons season over time. The oils and flavors from everything that’s touched its surface help the skillet become naturally nonstick. Regularly seasoning your cast-iron skillet will keep it in prime condition to bake for years. Here’s a quick how-to:

1. Wash the skillet with warm water and a sponge or stiff brush. Only use soap if you’re preparing to season it. Otherwise, use only water!

2. Rinse and dry the skillet thoroughly, then coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening.

3. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Let the skillet cool completely, then store away.

Here are four ways you can put the cast-iron to work in your own kitchen.

Searing and Sautéing

Take advantage of cast-iron’s reputation for being stovetop and oven-friendly. Begin cooking dishes in the piping hot skillet on the stove, and finish the process in the oven.

Braising that Bursts with Flavor

Since cast-iron skillets heat evenly, and at a steady temperature, they’re perfect for braising meat or vegetables in stock and spices. Try this Braised Winter Vegetable Gratin as a comforting side dish.

Baking – Browned and Buttery

Because the surface of a cast-iron heats evenly and continuously, breads come out toasty and moist, while pies swell with rich, golden crusts. Baking with cast-iron creates sweet and savory dishes that everyone will enjoy. We love the rustic touch of Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits, slathered with warm honey butter. You could also pair a hearty stew with this Easy Mexican Cornbread or finish off a meal with this Blackberry Lime Cobbler.

Frying – The Golden Standard

With cast-iron’s steady, even heat, just an inch or so of oil is all it takes to conjure up some Home Made Corn Dogs or Fried Chicken Wings, two of the most delicious comfort recipes we know.

Using a cast-iron skillet with some of your favorite recipes can open a new world of flavor to your food. A cast-iron skillet that’s well-used and well-loved is more than a kitchen utensil – it’s a treasured family heirloom.

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Host a Profitable Pancake Fundraiser

 

What’s not to love about a pancake fundraiser? It’s filled with warm flapjacks drenched in maple syrup, chilled glasses of sweet orange juice and people gathered to support a worthy cause. From small nonprofits to large community organizations, pancake breakfast fundraisers raise both money and awareness. They bring together individuals and the community, shine a spotlight on a need and give people an opportunity to dig into giving back.

On the flip side, for those running the event, the day can get hot, sticky and stressful. Too many people can be both a blessing and a curse. The last thing you want is to cook up bad PR because your team was rushed, stressed and underprepared. Here are some tips to ensure both you and your guests enjoy a fantastic breakfast fundraiser.

Pick a Date

Make sure the date for your flapjack fundraiser doesn’t conflict with any events that also appeal to your target audience. Try to avoid scheduling the fundraiser on the same day as local school or church events, along with any fairs and festivals.

Choose the Room

Find an ideal location by considering both your needs and your guests’ needs. You’ll want a spacious location with a full kitchen, ideally donated for your cause. Church basements and school cafeterias are great places to start looking.

Advertise the Event

Create flyers to hang up in local coffee shops, restaurants, churches, community centers and grocery stores. Be sure that all promotional materials highlight the cause it will support! Submit the details to calendars on television and radio station websites, as well as newspapers. Connect with local media personalities for pre-event interviews, which not only highlights your event, but your organization’s mission, too.

Continuous Serving vs. Reservations

Decide among your team which system works best for your audience and location. Continuous serving allows people to come in whenever they want, right off the street even, to enjoy a hot plate of fresh pancakes. However, you’ll need manpower for constant cooking and cleanup, along with extra ingredients to feed the masses. Reservations allow you to break up the serving into chunks, with breaks in between for cleanup and trips to the store, if needed. However, this style is more structured and may ward off those last minute noshers. Either way, consider selling tickets ahead of time so that you can get a ballpark headcount to prevent any last minute headaches.

Click here for ticket inspiration, and then create your own!

Don’t forget the main ingredient!

With all this planning and preparation, don’t forget the main ingredient – the pancakes! You’ll want a perfect recipe, one simple enough to feed everyone, but unique enough to make your event so memorable that people will beg for it year after year. Try one (or all) of these delectable pancake recipes for your next flapjack fundraiser:

  • Orange Blossom Pancakes: Vanilla and orange combine to transform your ordinary pancake into an extraordinary breakfast. Cooking the batter till the edges are slightly crispy and light brown makes the flavor all the better.
  • Pistachio Orange Pancakes: The secret to deliciousness? Substitute milk with orange juice! The subtle saltiness and crunch of the chopped up pistachios add texture and flavor – as well as additional protein!
  • Peachy Puff Oven Pancake: Scrap the skillet and turn up the oven! This savory twist on the traditional recipe creates puffy, fluffy pancake squares in only 15 minutes.
  • Blueberry Pancakes: Go for something simple but delicious with this long-time family favorite. Tart blueberries and the light, spongy texture taste even better when slathered with butter and topped with maple syrup.

Pancake breakfast fundraisers are a wonderful way to make people excited to support a worthy cause. And feeding their appetite for pancakes will no doubt fuel their passion for your organization.

Check out more sweet and savory pancake recipes here!

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Bakers’ Basics: A Bake Sale Primer

 

This is the second post in a blog series called Bakers’ Basics with Marcy Goldman. In this post, she shares her favorite bake sale recipes and tips for navigating the popular fall fundraiser. Here’s Marcy:

Help! It’s the end of the day, and all you want to do is dive into your book or catch up on Netflix. Instead, you’re cleaning up your child’s school bag, expecting the usual half-eaten banana and carrot sticks. But this time, you also find a dreaded ‘note from school’  or notice a missed text. The gist is the same: just fill in the blanks:

“(Wednesday, Friday, Next Thursday) is your child’s bake sale. Please send your child to school with: (Half a dozen cupcakes, a dozen cookies, muffins, etc.). We need your help. Funds from the bake sale will buy: (sports equipment, updated software, new books for the library, etc.).”

Yikes! What to do? It’s that time of year – the first bake sale of the season. And no matter how back-in-the-day ‘bake sale’ sounds, all the kids look forward to it, especially in an era where it’s all about healthy food. A bake sale, with all its sweets, is still a treat. So how do you create goodies that look great, taste great and don’t take too much time or expertise? Find recipes that shine. As a professional pastry chef and mom of three boys, I’ve earned my stripes hosting more than a few school bake sales. I’m delighted to share some of my bake sale winners, along with my bake sale cheat sheet.

l. Stock up on all basic baking ingredients beforehand, such as flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, etc., as well as items such as marshmallows, sprinkles, chocolate chips, paper muffin liners, and foil baking dishes.

2. Bake with unsalted butter, oil (canola or vegetable) or a non-trans fat shortening. Whatever you choose to bake with, don’t bake with salted margarine. It’s not made for baking. It’s both greasy and salty, and you’ll have inconsistent results.

3. When possible, make double batches of cookies, and freeze the dough (Try these Chewy Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies!). Chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie dough can all be frozen by wrapping a log of the dough in wax paper. Alternatively, scoop cookies using a small ice-cream scooper and freeze them on trays, then bag them up. Thaw cookies just slightly, and bake. You can also freeze baked cookies. Iced cupcakes freeze well, too, and thaw out just in time for business. The bake sale will never catch you unprepared.

4. Remember the three C’s: color, cupcakes and chocolate. Kids love all three. When it comes to color – iced things go fast, but colorful sprinkles go miles in eye appeal.

As for cupcakes, while always popular, they are time-consuming. Instead, pour a double-batch of cupcake batter onto a large baking sheet. Bake, frost and cut into squares to serve. Kids love the bakery-style approach, and you’ll save a ton of time.

Chocolate? Try the Shoebox Brownie recipe here. Like squares, brownies whip up fast and bake into fudgey squares that are always popular.

5. Nuts are a no-no (take it from this allergy mom). Because of allergies and juvenile tastes, nuts (especially peanuts) should be omitted from bake sale recipes. It’s not worth the risk, and it’s important to be mindful of kids that face these challenges.

6. Merchandising never hurts. Dollar stores are great places to find old-fashioned glass cookie jars to display the brownies or oversized cookies you’ll make. Kids enjoy digging into a large cookie jar to choose their cookie.

7. Remember the teachers! Bake sales appeal to all ages, so include a few quick breads such as a pound cake or simple banana bread for the adults who enjoy the perks of the bake sale as much as their students. These Quick Cinnamon Buns will also appeal to the adults in the school!

8. Consider your school’s own Bake Sale Cookbook as a fundraiser.  Gather favorite recipes together, get some home computer and printers humming along with volunteer editors/testers, and make your bake sale an enduring “bestseller” to bring in funds for the school.

Search the Clabber Girl recipe database for more bake sale winners!

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