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Get Your Bake On!

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Bake sales can mean big bucks for your school or organization--but you've gotta bake, package and sell in style. How? Follow these easy and inexpensive tips from Susannah Locketti to bring in the most bang for your bake-sale buck.

Brownies, pastries

Think Thin
Brownies are always a popular find at bake sales. The problem is, people bake them into small, thick pieces. You want brownies to appear deceitfully larger. Instead of baking them in an 8X8 pan, bake brownies in a larger pan with lower sides. This increases the surface area of the brownie so they appear larger and more appealing. Be sure to reduce baking time, as it cooks up faster this way. Cut the brownies into generous squares and sell them for at least a dollar. One brownie pays you back for the box of brownie mix--and the rest is profit.

Package Pretty
We eat with our eyes first so pack 'em pretty. Transform clear cellophane birthday favor bags into inexpensive baggies for jumbo cookies. Most have a nice pleated side--so they look upscale. Seal with a small piece of spare ribbon and sell jumbo cookies for at least $2.

Bulk Sales
Commercial boxes are now readily available to consumers both online and in the stores. Set aside a small budget for boxes large enough to hold a dozen cookies, a cake, cupcakes, pies, or a half dozen muffins. They'll look professional and you can get top dollar. Aim for them to have clear tops or sides so that your customers get a good look at what's inside. Play up the holidays when you garnish these items. Dye frostings using food coloring for Halloween and Christmas, or top with coconut and make a snowman face for winter. When pricing items, build your packaging and garnish costs in.

Time-saving Tips
Buy your pie crusts instead of making homemade. They can be purchased inexpensively and save you tons of time. Keep in mind you are aiming for profit with a bake sale. Don't let it cost you in unnecessary time and energy. The same goes for cake and brownie mixes. The boxed mixes come in a ton of varieties and you have to admit they taste pretty darn good. Although it may save time, don't buy the cookies in a tube. Make cookies homemade because they yield a larger quantity than that tubed stuff and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand already.

Track Sales
Take inventory before the bake sale and evaluate sales at the end. Determine what sold the most, what sold the least and keep a record of it. You can bet at your next bake sale you'll be stocking up on the items that sold the most. Always take a picture of your bake sale table before and after. It's good to have on file how you utilized space and displayed items. It may lead to creative new ways to spruce up your selling table or use table racks to increase your selling space if you felt you did not have enough.

Click for more Susannah Locketti.

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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kate September 8, 2008, 12:20 PM

It is a pet peeve of mine when people sell boxed brownies and break-and-bake cookies at bake sales. I can understand the packaged pie crusts, but I just think that it’s cheating your buyers when you sell them something they could have made themselves (for much cheaper). I think the recipes should be original and delicious!

Dee September 8, 2008, 3:14 PM

You missed the number one selling item. Rice Krispy Treats. Plain , sprinkled with cake glitter, or dip half in chocolate. Inexpensive and sells out everytime.

ak mom September 8, 2008, 4:17 PM

I make Rice Krispy treats that my kids and their friends call snowballs and they always sell out at the bake sale. I add coconut and white chocolate chips. No set amounts … I just eyeball-it.

Heather September 8, 2008, 7:20 PM

Let’s not forget the whoopie pies—in every variety! Woot!

cris September 9, 2008, 11:20 PM

Our kids are not allowed to bring home made bake goods to school. So we by them from the store. Home made goods can put a childs safety at risk. There are alot of sick-o’s out there and it only takes one cake walk to hurt your family. The school rule is there to keep our kids safe. Even if I make the BEST cookies on Earth.

Mother And Kids UGG Boots February 11, 2011, 6:39 PM

wow, nice post, I was wondering the same thing. and found your site by yahoo, many userful stuff here, now i’m a bit clear. bookmarked and also signed up your rss. keep us updated.

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