I came up with the idea of baking cookies to raise money to help Japan recover from the recent disaster. I could have put in extra hours at work or I could have just gone around asking people for donations… but that’s boring. I felt like complicating things. I turned my kitchen into a cookie making factory and the dining room into a packaging center. I advertised my cookies on Facebook, took them to work, to class, and to church. Over the course of 1 week, I made nearly 300 cookies and raised about $277! Not too bad considering I used a hand mixer and a half-broken oven.
Being a bit overzealous, I decided to make 5 different types of cookies. At first I wasn’t sure how to price the cookies because I didn’t know how much the ingredients cost. Therefore, I went to the store, bought all the ingredients, and got out my nerd calculator.
I figured out how many cups of product are in each bag, how much a stick of butter costs, how much a certain amount of nuts/chocolate cost, what an egg costs, etc, etc. It was interesting to see the breakdown of the ingredients. I didn’t realize that “add-ons” (like chocolate chips) jack up the price of each batch. Here is the list of ingredients that I bought, from least expensive to most expensive (price by unit- ie 1 egg, 1 cup, 1 stick): eggs<white flour<white sugar<brown sugar<rolled oats<butter<walnuts<white chocolate chips<heath bar toffee<chocolate chips<pecans<dried cherries<raspberry jam
Then I looked at my recipes and calculated how much it costs to make a batch of each type of cookie.
Walnut Thumbprints: $5.54
Oatmeal raisin: $6.14
Chocolate Chip Toffee: $7.40
White-Chocolate Chunk-Cherry: $8.54
I was astounded that the most expensive cookie was ~twice the cost of the least expensive. But of course, the White Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cherry happens to be the most delicious. To make it easier on my “customers” and myself, I decided to price the cookies the same, $1 each. Even for the most expensive cookies, it still gave a profit of $0.50+. Not bad.
The first day I baked, I made a batch of each kind. I soon discovered that my oven only bakes properly on the top rack— bake time was the killer. It took me 7 hours to make 5 batches of cookies that night. In the subsequent days, I went to friends’ houses to use their ovens (you know who you are, thanks!) and things went faster. I was having trouble finding room to cool the cookies properly so i ended up buying new cooling racks at Target. They are AWESOME!!!
To advertise to my friends and family on facebook, I made this my profile picture. I thought it was clever and hoped it wasn’t offensive. I made “Help Japan, Eat Cookies” my slogan.
I was not quite sure how many orders I would get so I just played it by ear. My original goal was to make $150 (in proceeds). The first day of posting this on my Facebook, I got orders that totaled 56 cookies. This was more than I expected so I was back in the kitchen replenishing my supply of cookies. Every other day I was baking 4-5 batches. To get rid of the “left overs,” I bagged them in twos and took them to my catering class, to work and to church.
I soon learned that people have a special love for Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everywhere I went, the majority of customers asked for Chocolate Chip. No one wanted the White-Chocolate Chunk-Cherry! What?! Therefore, I started making double batches of Chocolate Chip Toffee and stopped making the WCCC. The second most popular were the Snickerdoodles. This was good for Japan, considering they are the cheapest to make. Oatmeal took third place as the most desired cookie. The Walnut Thumbprints and the WCCC fell way behind…so much that they weren’t worth making. I suppose I thought that people like variety but apparently this isn’t the case when it comes to cookies. After the fact, I looked it up and found that Chocolate Chip is the most popular cookie in America. Take a mental note, friends. Here is a picture of the cookies 🙂
With the help of my friends, classmates, office, family and church, I was able to raise $277 in a week! This is not bad, not bad at all. Thank you for eating cookies and helping Japan!