Jan 23


Baking for Haiti

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Life has been busy (I’ve missed blogging!), but I really can’t complain… I’m blessed in so many ways; even on the hard days I’m lucky to have my funny DH, good family, friends, health, a roof over my head and so much more… including finding a passion such as my ‘sugar hobby’ and this blog.  The tragedy in Haiti has made me feel even more gratitude; it makes one reflect doesn’t it?

Besides donating straight to the Red Cross and praying for the people suffering in Haiti I needed to do something else to help out.

What to do?

I came accross some leftover flowers from this cake which led me to an obvious conclusion:


A bake sale!

I organized, some students baked, some drew posters, and the school bought treats.  It was heartwarming to see how enthusiastically students contributed and how willingly people donated.

Two days on lunches this week we sold cupcakes and chocoloate chip cookies.  The students made the cupcakes and icing in class, and I contributed some leftover flower and flood work icing bird toppers I had from a cake decorating class (more on that later), and my Christmas gingerbread house.

Students were happy to use our large stand mixer (Hobart mixer).  We don’t need to use it too often.

On our first day of the sale we sold out quickly, so we knew we needed the big guns for the next day.  For the chocolate cupcakes of course.

For vanilla we only needed the kitchen aide.

Didn’t manage to get pics of them icing the cupcakes because I was also watching and marking the practical exams (she’s making crèpes):

Here are some of the finished cupcakes though:

These are chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing and decorated with gumpaste flower toppers.

Don’t know if you can tell in the pic, but students sprinkled small melted sugar droplets on the icing for a ‘wintery’ effect.  (Easy to make – put isomalt or clear crushed candy in the oven on a baking sheet covered with parchment, and bake at 350 degrees until they melt).

The flowers I made before Christmas at the Bonnie Gordon School, in Peggy Porschen’s class.  They’re made out of gum paste (for a gum paste definition here’s a link to my glossary), and the flower cutters used were the Calyx cutter and the 5-Petal Flower cutter.  Thanks to Laura (from the Peggy Porschen cake class), who offered me the leaves she had left over from her cake.  We put them to good use!

Some flowers have also been sprayed with lustre spray and sprinkled with disco dust The centers are edible sugar pearls and dragées.  For a wee tutorial on how to make gum paste leaves (the same proceedure as these flowers) see here.


Back to the bake sale!  Can’t forget the chocolate chip cookies:

Students made them using the Nieman Marcus recipe.  I’ll share the recipe because they were good (I mean it’s chocolate chip – how could it not be?!), but I still like Barefoot Contessa’s recipe better.  I’ll bet the Nieman Marcus one is a smidgen healthier though because it has oats in it (LOL).

Here are a few Hospitality students selling the baked goods on lunch.

And on another lunch.  (I don’t know why those white spots on the picture are there – Still learning lots about photography).

We ended up selling out and raised almost $200.00 for the Red Cross.  Not a whoooole lot, but good for a bake sale!


If you’d like to try the Nieman Marcus cookie, here’s the recipe:


Neiman Marcus Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2 cups butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
  • 24 oz. chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated) (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.


For a printer friendly version, click here.


Here’s another option – the straight chocolate chip recipe:


Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)
2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
Yield: * 2 dozen cookies

For a printer-friendly version, click here.

Happy baking!




p.s.  We made a batch each of chocolate and red velvet cupcakes for our first sale, but weren’t 100% happy with the red velvets.  If anyone has or knows of really good recipe, would love to hear from you in the comment section!

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  1. linda
    January 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    hi marian!
    what a truly wonderful project for such a needy & worthy cause…yes, the situation in haiti is tragic & we all need to contribute what we can. last evening’s appeal “help haiti now” on all the major usa stations was a great effort by celebrities & personalities…so very vital.

    this is a link to a great red velvet cupcake…try it out!

  2. January 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    This is a very sweet. I understand wanting to do more then just donating to the Red Cross, and this is a great idea.

  3. January 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea…I love it!

  4. January 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    My favorite CCC are the NY Times ones. I’ll have to try the Barefoot recipe. Your cupcakes are beautiful. How much did you send each cupcakes. When we do bake sale we never know how much to ask for. Cupcakes are always the first to go.

  5. January 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea! The goods look pretty and delicious..it’s no wonder you sold out!

  6. January 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    You have been sorely missed…I’ve got to say that I obsessively visit your site daily waiting for your next tutorial. Beautiful as always, and thanks for donating to the cause.

  7. January 23, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    What a great way to get the students involved!Your flowers are beautiful!

  8. January 24, 2010 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    What a lovely idea, so nice to feel like you’re doing something possitive! The devistation there is heartbreaking!

    My favourite red velvet recipe is the hummingbird bakery one! I too struggled to get a good result with other recipies but this one hasn’t failed yet!

  9. January 24, 2010 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Paula Deen has a REALLY good Red Velvet cake recipe. You can find it on the Food Network site!! The are really good! My husbands favorite!!

  10. January 24, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic idea Marian! Kudos to you for thinking of it! I am a teacher and haven’t stopped thinking about this all day! I am going to pitch the idea to my principal tomorrow! I hope it gets approved. And, since we are a nut sensitive school, it should be okay since all of the products we will make will be made and baked at school. (It also helps that I too, have a nut allergy!) Thanks for the idea. I will let you know if we do in fact go through with it! My students will be so excited, I am sure of it!

  11. January 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


    Glad to see your return!
    Such a lovely way to raise money for a fantastic cause 🙂

  12. debbie
    January 25, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all that you are doing for Haiti!!! Everything looks wonderful. I have a question for you- where did you get your pink cake stand in the first photo… I LOVE it!

  13. January 25, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your encouraging comments and for the recipes!! I’ll definitely try those out.

    Melissa good luck with your bake sale!

    Debbie, I got the cake stand on ebay. Search for milk glass cake stand and you should be able to find one.

  14. Mary-Clare
    January 25, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Permalink


    Your bake sale looks fantastic…. much more professional than the ones I’ve been too.

    Just a question for you. I received a cookie pro maker at a Yankee swap… my friends were going to swap and then give it to me if I didn’t get it! LOL…. it uses the Spritzer cookie recipe which is fun, easy and tastes great…. what doesn’t with 3 sticks of butter in it! They came out great…. the first batch had a nice tan on their bots but then I learnt how long to leave them in. FINALLY the question…. do you have any tips on how to decorate them? Or any website with ideas etc.


  15. January 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m all about Paula Deen’s Red Velvet recipe. I’ve used it many times with excellent results.

  16. January 26, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    hi Marian,
    thank’s for all the effort’s you always put into every thing you do….
    great idea to help the poor in Haiti,with a bake sale.
    your work is always beautiful.

  17. January 26, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks Miss M, Maria and Mary-Clare!

    Mary-Clare, congrats on winning the cookie pro maker 😉
    I haven’t used it before but I googled it and see it’s a Wilton product. I imagine Wilton might have some books that highlight ways to decorate Spritzer cookies (butter is ALWAYS better lol!) and I try googling it or checking on cake forum sites such as cakecentral.com or cakescanada.com

    You could probably decorate them using the icing recipe I use for my cookies as well. Just keep the icing thick so it doesn’t run off the cookie. The recipe and tutorial are here if you’d like to check it out.

    Hope that helps!

  18. January 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Great way to help Hati!!!! I love love love the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip cookie. That’s the cookie I always crave for!

  19. January 26, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “Baking for Haiti” got approved! I have just written a letter asking for donations from local grocery stores and my grade 6 class will hopefully be baking next week! I’ll keep you posted! Thanks again for the fantastic idea.

  20. January 27, 2010 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Congrats Melissa! Definitely keep me posted; would love to see some pics!

  21. MBN
    March 15, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    The Nieman Marcus cookies so so good! I sent the entire batch to my husband in Afghanistan. It was about 7 lbs of cookies! He and his office mates loooved them so much it those 7 lbs lasted less than a week.

  22. March 16, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    7lbs is a lot of cookies!! I’m so glad they liked them!

  23. January 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi from the UK! I love your blog, it has inspired me to enter the world of cookie decorating. Good red velvet recipe in The hummingbird bakery book, you can probably track the book or recipe down online. Sam x

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