Jason Sanches joined our team to help out during the Fair Trade Bake Sale. One of his first assignments was to create a Cookies-in-a-Jar recipe we could share with our friends. As an avid baker outside the office, Jason reflects on this project as well as learning more about Fairtrade ingredients.
Joining Fairtrade America a few weeks ago, I was excited to learn that I would be helping on the Fair Trade Bake Sale campaign. Baking for friends and family is something that I’ve done for years, but making the conscious decision to bake with Fairtrade ingredients is new to me. While putting this recipe together I learned to fully appreciate what the Fairtrade label on products means and how buying Fairtrade products is a simple and direct way to support the people who grow the products we use to spread joy.
Here are the top five things I learned when creating my Fairtrade-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-in-a-Jar recipe.
1. Not every ingredient is Fairtrade - and that's okay
Many Fairtrade products are "single ingredients" - so the entire product will be Fairtrade certified. These include items such as bananas and coffee. When you buy a bag of Fairtrade coffee, every bean in it will come from a Fairtrade farm.
Other products are considered "composite" product. These include chocolate, ice cream, and cookies because they are made with multiple Fairtrade ingredients such as cocoa, vanilla and sugar. They're also made with non-certifiable ingredients such as eggs, milk and flour. In composite products, all the ingredients that CAN be Fairtrade, SHOULD be Fairtrade, in order to be certified.
2. Get the sweet stuff right
I ran into a slight snag trying to make sure that all the ingredients in my cookies that COULD be Fairtrade were. Fairtrade cane sugar is as easy as pie (pun intended) to find - but brown sugar, now that's a different story. There is no Fairtrade brown sugar available in the US currently. I considered making brown sugar by combining molasses and cane sugar (yes this is something that you can do if you’re out of brown sugar!) but then it came to me - turbinado sugar makes a great substitution for light brown sugar because it has a great molasses flavor and large crystals just like brown sugar. My choice worked out nicely - the combination of Whole Foods 365 Fairtrade Cane Sugar an Tate+Lyle's Fairtrade Organic Turbinado Sugar make a striking color contrast in your Cookies-in-a-Jar.
3. The importance of Fairtrade to cocoa farmers
The final Fairtrade ingredient I needed was the most important - the chocolate! This one was a no-brainer...Lily’s Sweets Non-GMO Fairtrade Dark Chocolate Baking Chips will change how you view the humble chocolate chip. Even better, they're sweetened with Stevia, cutting down the total calorie count in my cookies. Through working with Fairtrade, I have learned how important certification is for cocoa farmers as many of them are working in an extremely volatile industry.
4. The Fairtrade America team love cookies!
After picking my ingredients I made a test batch using my Fairtrade recipe and the results from around the office were positive. I can't believe the people who work for Fairtrade America, who have a whole kitchen cupboard stocked with Fairtrade chocolate for staff and guests, could be so excited about MORE sweet treats - but they were! By the end of the day, there were only crumbs left (and not even many of those).
5. Join the Fair Trade Bake Sale & you could win FREE CHOCOLATE
Students have a great opportunity to bake with Fairtrade ingredients this month. One lucky student who signs up and hosts a Fair Trade Bake Sale could win a year's supply of Divine Chocolate. Talk about a sweet deal! The full details of the competition can be found here as well as in the video below.
Fairtrade Chocolate Chip Cookies In A Jar
You can create a Fairtrade-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-In-A-Jar for your friends and family too! Perfect during Fair Trade Month or the holiday season. Just follow these simple instructions:
Pack together in a quart sized mason jar:
Add a piece of cloth to the lid and tie with a string and label. Give the jar to a friend with these instructions:
Happy Fair Trade Month, everyone! Now let’s get baking!