I have been watching food trends in the home-based bakery business for the past few years and although most home-based bakers stick to what they know and all have one, two or three specialties the looming recession has compelled many HBBs as I affectionate call these queens and kings of the home baking industry to reexamine their culinary gift and see if there might be something they can do to “kick it up a notch.” After browsing the Internet and snooping around some of the best HBB websites on the net, I noticed they all have one thing in common. Each baker has their own unique product. For example, it’s not enough to just make cookies; you have to make exceptional cookies like Diane in Maine. It’s not enough to make chocolate candies; you must create truly divine chocolate truffles like Reginald Savage in North Carolina.

These individuals have learned that today, you must have a niche; a deliciously, sinful niche that beckons people to come back time and time again. Think about it for a moment. The economy is going down the tubes; you are working, spending more and getting less, so when you want to indulge, you want quality and a fair price for that double Dutch fudge brownie ala mode. No one wants something from a box and ice cream that taste like milky water.

Recently a future HBB asked me “what's the most profitable home baked item?” I explained if I knew the answer to that question I’d be a billionaire…”slum dog billionaire…right?

Seriously, I have come to the conclusion that people want more; they want the sun, the moon and the stars, with whipped cream and sprinkles, yep even with a beer pocketbook. When money is tight, everyone is more cautious about what they get in exchange for it. If you are baking for a living and people aren’t buying, consider “kicking it up a notch.” Nothing pulls the cold hard cash away from my hands faster than the best, most scrumptious cookie known to mankind, baked by the Miami Bake Shoppe in Southfield, Michigan, a place that is unfortunately no longer in business. Oh yeah, you know I got the recipe before they closed…right? You better believe it!

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