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Bring Back the Bake Sale!

Bake sales not only encourage a sense of community, they bring kids into the kitchen to come up with their own creations to showcase on the bake sale tables.

In recent years, I’ve been disappointed to see the decline of the school bake sale as a legitimate fundraising event. For years, bake sales were customary each spring as a way to raise funds for schools and sports clubs. But in recent years, fundraising has come to consist of selling manufactured items like chocolate bars, gift products and wrapping paper.


Sponge toffee

For something similar to a Crunchie bar, (but far better), dip cooled chunks into melted chocolate and set on waxed paper until set.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tsp. baking soda
Line a 9”x13” pan with foil

Combine the sugar and syrup in a heavy medium saucepan set over medium-low heat. (Make sure there is lots of room in the pan for the mixture to foam up when you stir in the baking soda.) Stir until the sugar begins to melt. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the mixture turns a deep amber. Watch it carefully - sugar burns fast! Remove from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. It will foam up like a science experiment! Quickly pour it into the pan and set aside for an hour, or until set. Peel off the foil and break into chunks to serve. Serves about 10.

Two-bite brownies

At only 2 grams of fat per pop, these will satisfy your need for chewy brownies. Be careful not to overbake them – they should be slightly puffed but still soft to the touch.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. instant espresso or decaf coffee, dissolved in 1 tsp. water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs, vanilla and coffee and stir until well blended and smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir by hand just until combined. Spoon the batter mini muffin cups that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until puffed but still soft to the touch. Do not overbake! Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Makes 24 brownies.

Per brownie: 85 calories; 2.3 grams total fat (1.3 grams saturated fat, 0.7 grams monounsaturated fat, 0.1 grams polyunsaturated fat); 1.5 grams protein; 15.5 grams carbohydrate; 14.2 milligrams cholesterol; 1 gram of fiber; 23 per cent calories from fat.

Julie is a best-selling cookbook author, food writer, cooking instructor and the food and nutrition columnist on the Calgary Eyeopener on CBC Radio. She lives in Calgary with her husband and son, Wilem. Watch for her cooking show, It’s Just Food, with co-host Ned Bell on Access TV and CLT stations across Canada. For more information, visit

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