When my daughter was in middle school she and a few friends hosted a bake sale to raise money for saving the sloths. They had watched those way too adorable YouTube videos of sloth rescue farms in Costa Rica and felt an urgent call to action. The morning of the bake sale her friends cooked up brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I told her I had a better idea.
Trail mix packaged up in colorful bags with ribbon would sell like hot cakes, I told her (no laughing please). Hadn’t we all seen enough brownies at bake sales? She resisted, I insisted. But not an hour after she left I got a woeful text: Brownies had sold out. Cookies were going fast. Her friends were making money hand over fist for those sloths, but she hadn’t moved even one package of trail mix. When she slunk home later that day, her arms as full as when she’d left, I gave her $20 for the cause. Guilt money. She hadn’t failed at the bake sale, I had.
If only—if only!—I’d had a copy of Patricia Helding’s Fat Witch Bake Sale. We could have baked and sold enough treats to buy plane tickets to Costa Rica and delivered the profits in person. Fat Witch Bake Sale is packed with recipes of all kinds (gluten-free and vegan eaters will be happy here) but there are planning and marketing tips, ideas on decorating for the bake sale, strategies for delegating and staying organized too. It’s a foolproof bonanza of a business plan for baking! In fact, I could open my own bakery with just this book under my arm.
Yeah, never going to happen. But I can dream. And I can bake (vegan!) brownies, maybe not to sell at this weekend’s soccer match, but to eat at home in honor of some cause (like owning this book). These brownies are cakey wonders that my kids practically inhaled off the counter. So while the sloths didn’t benefit this time, my kids sure felt like they hit the jackpot.
As did I.
“Don’t be fooled by the short list of simple ingredients. These brownies are anything but ho-hum! In fact, even if you are not a vegan, this just might become your go-to recipe–especially if you like thick, slightly cakey brownies reminiscent of school lunch-box treats. I sometimes toss in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. These are so good, we sell them at our Chelsea Market shop with the disclaimer that we do keep butter and eggs on the production premises.” — from Fat Witch Bake Sale
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This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Kathy!
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups vegan cane sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" × 9" baking pan with canola oil or vegan cooking spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the water and oil and stir to combine. Stir in the vanilla. Stir in the walnuts, if using.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only moist crumbs, not batter, on it. Cool in the pan on a rack for 1 hour. Cut into shapes just before serving.
Tip: Brownies don't always have to be square! Use cookie cutters to make different shapes.
Fat Witch Bake Sale by Patricia Helding. Copyright (c) 2014 by Patricia Helding. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.