Looking for some bake sale inspiration or just feeling nostalgic for sweet treats from your childhood? Gretchen Holt-Witt’s Cookies for Kids’ Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook is here, just in time for all those back-to-school sugar bonanzas.
When I was little, I was a sucker for anything involving cheesecake. So I was always willing to plunk down a few quarters for those scrumptious, classic cheesecake-swirled brownies that showed up at nearly every bake sale. My mom’s standard bake sale offering were these little two-layer cheesecake bites—garnished with a very syrupy cherry—and they were always a huge, huge hit. And of course, there was usually some poor mom who had forgotten to bake and ended up contributing a box of Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts (which, though not homemade, are pretty tasty in their own right).
In Best Bake Sale Cookbook, you’ll find nearly 70 recipes for mouthwatering treats—from classics like peanut butter cookies and zucchini bread to more unusual sweets, like gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese icing and lemon-pecan-coconut bars. (And naturally, there’s a recipe for my beloved cream cheese brownies, too.) Best of all, proceeds from book sales benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a non-profit started by the author that inspires people to host bake sales and donate the money to pediatric cancer research. So you’ll get double the rush when you’re biting into that fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon snickerdoodle.
Get a sneak taste of the book with this recipe. You can buy the cookbook here.
Almost Black They’re So Cocoa Cookies
Yield: About 5 dozen cookies
There’s always one great chocolate cookie at a bake sale and this one is a must. Use the very best unsweetened cocoa powder you can find: don’t even think of substituting the sweetened variety: save that for mixing into hot milk! At Christmas, try substituting the nuts with broken peppermint sticks. The combination is glorious.
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
2. Please the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, and vanilla, one at a time, beating well between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and mix well. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.
3. Place heaping teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the edges begin to firm up, 12 to 14 minutes; do not overbake. For crispy cookies, let cool on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
What’s your favorite bake sale treat?
(image: courtesy of Best Bake Sale Cookbook by Gretchen Holt-Witt, photography by Lucy Schaeffer; published by John Wiley & Sons; copyright 2011)