Bake sales are a wonderful way to raise money for schools, but can also cause some anxiety about what to make. Popular staples like honey joys, chocolate crackles, fairy bread and toffees are quick and easy to make, but have the disadvantage of being made ingredients which have their own list of ingredients; with the prevalence of allergies and an increasing consciousness of health, schools, parents and teachers hope for baked goods where every ingredient can be accounted for to be certain of safety.
Here are the features of a recipe to consider before choosing to make it for a bake sale:
- Will this baked good appeal to the majority of tastes?
- Does it look attractive, or does it look more wholesome? Because the pretty stuff goes first (unfortunately and unsurprisingly!).
- Can be it made the night before to avoid having to have an early wake up?
- Is it made from scratch, so as to avoid any unknowns about premade ingredients such as cereals and sprinkles? Sprinkles often contain gluten and pre-made cereals have a number of preservatives and additive ingredients and vary from brand to brand.
- Is it free from the most common and worrisome ingredients that can cause food allergies? Such as the the much avoided nut..
- Does it have a reasonable shelf life? Ideally at least three days. Because you know you hate it when you buy something that needs to be consumed quickly rather than at your leisure.
If possible, if you are responsible for the organisation of the bake sale, then you should try to include some baked goods which avoid other major allergens such as eggs, dairy or gluten.
Shortbread is well known for being buttery, sweet and perfect with a cup of tea. When cut into old fashioned triangles or fingers, this golden yellow shortbread looks appealing when packaged or plated for a bake sale.
250g butter, very soft but not melted
75 grams corn starch (for tender shortbread) or 50g rice flour (for crunchy shortbread)
70g caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt.
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Butter a glass or ceramic pie dish or a line a 30 x 30 baking dish with baking paper and butter.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
3. Gently stir through the salt, flour and corn starch until fully combined and a soft dough forms.
4. Press the dough into the prepared dish and press gently with hands to make sure the thickness is even. Prick all over with a fork.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown at the edges. When the shortbread has cooled to warm, use a sharp knife to cut into triangles or fingers; if you allow it to cool fully before cutting, then it will be more difficult to cook as it crumbles. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of additional caster sugar, if desired.
6. Allow to cool completely before removing from the dish. Lasts up to 10 days when tightly wrapped.
This recipe yields about 30 pieces of brownie if cut roughly 3cm x 3cm.
250g dark chocolate, at least 70% cacao
180g grams brown sugar
125g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt.
1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Line a 35cm by 20cm baking tin (or equivalent) with greased baking paper.
2. Break up the chocolate and chop the butter. Place together in a medium heatproof bowl (like Pyrex glass or a metal bowl). Place in the oven to melt as it gets up to temperature. Remove from oven when melted and stir together to combine thoroughly. Allow to cool to just warm.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until pale and ribbony.
4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
5. Pour the chocolate-butter mixture into the egg and sugar mixture – whisk thoroughly to combine.
6. Fold through the flour mixture. Make sure there are no pockets of unmixed flour.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is shiny and a little cracked. Do not overbake. The centre will be soft and fudgy but will set as it cools.
9. Cool completely before cutting and wrapping.
I have previously written up my recipe for the best ever, crisp and sweet shortcrust pastry for the Apple Frangipane Tart.
That recipe will yield enough to make a dozen tart shells in an average sized muffin tin. I generally make double the recipe and keep half in the freezer for whenever I have the urge to make a tart.
You can also follow the above recipe and make miniature versions of Apple Frangipane tart. Old fashioned English custard tarts are popular and perfect for a bake sale.
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 3/4 cups milk
Half a nutmeg, grated.
1. Follow the pastry recipe from the above Apple Frangipane tart recipe. Allow pastry to rest.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
3. Roll out the pastry to about a 5mm thickness and cut pastry circles to line the insides of a muffin tin. You don’t need to grease the muffin tin. How large a circle you will need for your tin will require some experimentation. Generally the circle you cut around should be at least 3cm wider in diameter than the muffin tin hole.
4. Line the muffin tin with pastry. Fill each tart shell with a cupcake paper case and fill the case with baking beads or old beans/chickpeas/rice. These can be reused again and again as baking beads to prevent the sides of the pastry shell collapsing during pre-baking.
5. Bake pastry shells for 10 minutes or until light golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven. Remove paper cases with baking beads very gently. Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees Celcius.
6. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and milk.
7. Pour the mixture into the baked pastry cases. Grate nutmeg over the top of custard.
8. Bake the custard tarts for 20-30 minutes or until the custard is just set. Allow to cool.
You could also fill your tart shells with:
MamaBake’s Date and Almond Salted Caramel Fruit Dip
Other wonderful MamaBake recipes perfect for a bake sale:
Cocoa Cinnamon Marshmallows (member recipe)
..and also, here (a mixture of free and member recipes).