A few weeks ago I received the OK to set up a bake sale at Crest Fest. This was an exciting moment and my mind started wandering into endless daydreams of building a baking empire. So I urgently came up with a “business” plan that would allow me to function in the form of bake sales at markets, festivals, openings, and events of all types. I’ve done a couple bake fests for the mural project and was confident enough to turn it into a project. Trying to come up with a name was the hardest part and I’ve asked many for their suggestions and came up with a list of possibilities. Eventually Bake That JoJo! was christened and I asked an artist to make the logo and within hours I had a blog and an email address.
I searched far and wide for recipes that would be intriguing, different, summery, and sellable and came up with a list too overwhelming to even state here. This could not have been done without my dear friend who not only came up with the name during our costco adventure but provided input in narrowing my menu options. For the next 24 hours I baked and baked and baked and baked and baked into the wee hours in the morning sprawling out on the floor for brief moments while the cookies and pies were in the oven, overtaken with exhaustion but too excited and funked out to do anything else. The morning of the festival I printed fliers and had my precious sister come over and help slice strawberries and carry everything over to Macri Park.
For the rest of the day I was zinged out from my lack of sleep and if it weren’t for the amazing pumping music that kept my toes tappin and my head boppin I wouldn’t have been a pleasant sight to see. I was feeling chipper and was super excited to see people peek through each cookie bin and choose and munch to their hearts content. I priced the cookies at $2, brownies at $3 and tarts and pies at $4 which definitely turned people away but I rationalize it this way: I’m using high quality ingredients and have busted my friggin’ balls baking these and would love to at least break even with the money made from the sale. In the end I didn’t profit but covered enough costs to keep me from being discouraged to continue in the future.
But enough babble, onwards with the rundown of goods:
The most challenging to make were the classic Italian rainbow cookies. I grew up with these and have always loved the mushy and thick consistency and figured it’d be the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe and distribute in a once and somewhat still Italian laden neighborhood where the fest was held. I found a recipe by smitten kitchen and trusted her wisdom enough to try it out. Boy was I in for a challenge!
The recipe itself is not difficult, it’s the layering itself that kicked my ass and almost gave me a nervous breakdown. I didn’t want to risk breaking or misplacing a layer and even though it wasn’t completely even I succeeded in stacking and flattening these precious almond based, apricot layered, chocolate covered cookies. The end product was super if a bit too doughy and moist and the almond base a bit too strong. This didn’t stop me from sampling nearly an entire row and humming in satisfaction.
These madeleines are getting better each time I bake them in terms of holding their shape and tending to their simple, soft and bready consistency. This is one of the goods I can’t not bake because of their neat shell shape and their unassuming humility. The recipe here.
These white chocolate chip, macademia nut, coconut cookies were the best sellers at the festival and I don’t blame anyone. The chewy dough were compilmented with savory nuttiness and the sprinkle of coconut added just the perfect amount of texture. Recipe here.
The coconut macarons dipped in chocolate is officially my signature cookie. I dip them in bittersweet chocolate is the perfect combination between a refreshing bite of gooey coconut and smooth chocolate. Recipe here.
I also made buttermilk bacon pralines and there so unpopular both with me and those at the fest that I forgot to take a picture of it. I think it will help to get a candy thermometer when caramelizing sugar, especially for a recipe like this where ingredients get complicated and level of sweetness and richness is key to perfection.
Another not so favorite recipe are the linzer cookies. The taste is delicious, the walnut based cookie with jam sandwiched between, each bite a thin layer of crumbly warmth will make anyone swoon. My problem is getting each path to be the same thickness and avoiding uneven crispness. Recipe here.
These classic walnut brownies were so tender they nearly crumble when you pick them up. They are not light to taste though, rather they are rich and chewy, fudgy and gooey. mmmmmmmmm. Recipe here.
I’ve been using Dorie Greenspan as my main resource and have not yet been disappointed with any recipe, including these chewy, chunky blondies. I’ll admit though they are a bit too decadent and rich and would probably be more tolerable if there wasn’t so much chocolate and butterscotch chips involved. They were still damn good though. Recipe here.
These are simply the tartiest lemon tart you’ll ever taste, with chunks of whole lemons incorporated into the filling, you’ll be puckering and smiling with each bite. Recipe here.
This was the first time I worked and tasted rhubarb. Can you believe it? I never knew what rhubarb was or looked like and was disturbed to find them to be celery-like painted in red. But it was the rage during a dinner and I had to find what this magic ingredient was and do something with. This double crisp pie uses mashed strawberries and chunks of rhubarb as its filling and it wasn’t my favorite but I loved the different textures of slimy rhubarb and a toasty layer. Recipe here.
And last but not least, nutella dolloped strawberries. I wasn’t so great with dolloping nutella on top of the chocolate and in the first try my little sister kicked ass and is officially the strawtella master.
And that’s all for the bake sale launch, there’s more coming up for sure so…be prepared.