HAWORTH, N.J. — Lauren Lee of Haworth may be a freshman at Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, but she’s a pro at baking.
Just ask anybody at the Haworth Municipal Library .
For three years, the 14-year-old has been baking goodies, wrapping them expertly, and donating them to the library.
Patrons pay a dollar per yummy brownie or cookie, which they buy at the library’s coffee station.
Lee makes cookies in a range of flavors – chocolate chip, shortbread with M&Ms, sugar, snickerdoodle, and oatmeal.
“I tried once to branch out with Madeleines, but they wouldn’t come out of the pan,” she said, laughing.
Lee calls her enterprise Sweet Treats for Treasure, and it’s effective.
To date, she has raised almost $2,000 for the Friends of the Haworth Library, said Friends President Beth Potter.
“Lauren is also quite the reader,” Potter said, “so she supports the library in all sorts of ways, literary and culinary.
“Everyone smiles when she come in,” she added. “She’s just the greatest kid.”
Sweet Treats for Treasure started when a car crashed into the library when Lee was in seventh grade. Plans were being made to raise funds to remodel the place.
About that time, her mom, Stella, a pharmacist, was taking baking lessons and intriguing here daughter with each and every aromatic, pretty creation she brought home.
“I’d be dying to eat them,” Lee said, “but also to know how to make them.”
As Lee learned to bake, she decided to combine her love of baking and her love of reading to help the library.
It was a perfect plan because her family members aren’t fond of sweets.
Asian baked goods tend to be less sweet, she explained, and feature bitter chocolate.
Once someone hired her to make 300 brownie for a bar mitzvah, she said, and she was up to the wee hours of the morning to make her deadline. That experience gave her an appreciation for what professional bakers go through.
At this point, her professional aspirations are in computer tech.
In a way, she said, it’s like baking.
“If you miss one step,” she quipped, “nothing happens.”
For now, though, she enjoys baking sweet treats for her hometown.
Besides, she said, it doesn’t take loads of time to bake a batch.
“Any teenager can do it by removing themselves from their phone or the Internet for three hours,” Lee said.
“Besides, it helps the library,” she added. “Everyone should attempt to do something for their community.”