May 19th Is National Bake Sale DayMay 3rd, 2012 by Craig Mullins
Try as I might, I just cannot find a history about National Bake Sale Day. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s a fun holiday nonetheless and deserves a day in the spotlight.
According to what I can find, National Bake Sale Day falls on May 19th of each year and the encouraged way to celebrate is to hold a bake sale fundraiser for local school, church, or community project.
So what exactly is a bake sale? Glad you asked!
A bake sale is a fundraising event during which baked goods such as cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, brownies, pies, etc are sold for the purposes of earning money. Bake sales are most often held by small groups and non-profit organizations like social clubs, schools, and churches. Many bake sales are held where there is pedestrian traffic, like in front of a popular business, grocery store, or shopping mall.
The biggest draw of a bake sale is that the baked goods for sale are homemade. Once upon a time, when home bakers had more time on their hands, the baked goods would be made from scratch. But these days the items you find on a bake sale table are quite possibly the result of a boxed mix.
It doesn’t really matter how the baked goods were baked though – as long as they’re delicious and ready to be sold!
In my personal experience with bake sales, I’ve noticed that the best sellers are chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and lemon bars.
My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe can be found on the back of a bag of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels; the ones in the yellow package. They only take about an hour to make – from mixing the dough to having cool cookies ready for the bake sale!
Here’s a recipe for Quick and Easy Brownies that I found on AllRecipes.com:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnut halves (optional)
Melt the butter or margarine and mix all ingredients in the order given.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan.
I have never personally made lemon bars, so I have no idea what they’re like to make. But I have definitely eaten my share, and they are delicious! Below is a recipe I found for Classic Lemon Bars on FoodNetwork.com. They’re certainly more labor intensive than cookies or brownies, but if my eating experience is any indicator, it’s worth it!
For the Crust:
Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
Make the crust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; grease the foil with oil. Pulse the butter, flour, both sugars and the salt in a food processor until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Press evenly into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and return to the oven. Bake until the filling is just set, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack, then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Lift out of the pan using the foil and slice. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Putting on a bake sale may sound like a piece cake, but it can be far from it! Here are a few hints to help you on your National Bake Sale Day planning journey:
Select a leader. It should be someone who has excellent organizational skills. The person should also be able to delegate responsibilities, which is extremely essential to a well run sale.
Volunteers are imperative. The bake sale leader will need several people dedicated to organizing donations, handling publicity, setting-up tables and/or the booth, selling goods, collecting money and clean up.
Donations are the key. Be sure to be specific in what baked goods will be needed for the sale straight from the start. As to not end up with all “chocolate cakes”, make sure you know what is being donated…each baked good donated should have an index card prominently attached that has the name of the dish and a list of non-obvious and/or outstanding ingredients (such as coconut, nuts, candied or dried fruits or strawberries).
Timing and location are important. Try to place your table and/or booth in a high traffic area. To guarantee a heavy traffic flow, plan the sale around other coordinating events.
Presentation is everything. Set out nicely decorated and organized tables. Use tablecloths, but not in overpowering patterns…Divide the baked goods according to type (cookies, cakes) and/or serving size (whole cakes, individual cookies).
Know your customers. Are you selling to big families? Sell cookies by the dozen and entire cakes. Sales to children or singles will be higher with individual packages of baked goods such as one brownie or one cupcake.
Think beyond baked goods. Serve coffee at bake sales in the evenings or on cold days. Selling cold bottled water or lemonade along with the baked goods at a football game would increase profits…Get recipes for all of the baked goods prior to the sale.
For more complete details visit the Bake Sales – Profitable Fundraisers page in the Desserts/Baking section on About.com.
Happy National Bake Sale Day! Good luck with your bake sale!!
Do you have a favorite recipe you pull out when it comes time to donate a baked good for sale? We’d love for you to share it in the comments section below!