For many of us, sweets and baked goods are a highlight of the holiday season. (I admit it!) And because a lot of people are in a giving kind of mood, a holiday bake sale can be lucrative and fun.
As a veteran of many bake sales (those school choir trips to Europe don’t pay for themselves, y’all), I’ve learned what sells and what doesn’t. Individually packaged items are definitely the way to go, because they’re easier to price and sell. And kids LOVE anything creative and colorful and pop culture-y…the more outrageous (and the more frosting!) the better.
We know how busy you are this week, so I tried to put together creative, festive recipes that aren’t too time-consuming. Some are easier than others for those of you who are short on time (like I am). You may even want to make extra to hand out as gifts to neighbors, teachers, and every other lucky person on your list.
Hey, you’ve still got a whole week, right?
Top: Christmas Tree Rice Krispie Treats via Rachelcooks.com
Of course sugar cookies are a staple of any bake sale, but if you really want to really show off, give these iced sugar cookie puzzles by Southern Living a try. If you have a little extra time? These are show stoppers!
Even though we generally associate haystacks with summer, with just a few ingredient changes, they’re perfectly festive for the holidays and spectacular as a bake sale alternative to cookies. Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman’s Christmas Haystacks are perfect version for winter, and easy to change up and make it your own. You could go with white chocolate instead, or butterscotch, or add some crushed peppermint. The possibilities are endless.
Looking for a no-bake solution? Our own Christina found 12 spectacular no-bake holiday cookie ball recipes to make with the kids. They’re all so cute, you could almost have a whole (no) bake sale with cookie balls alone! Be sure to check them all out because they’re so creative — especially these reindeer no-bake Oreo cookie balls from Like Mother Like Daughter.
Homemade Rice Krispie treats are so much better than the pre-packaged ones, which is why they’re a hit at bake sales. And who doesn’t love a holiday spin on this classic? These Christmas tree Rice Krispie treats from Rachelcooks.com are easy and adorable, and she offers some creative ways to make them more fun than the classic squares.
No holiday bake sale is complete without gingerbread cookies, but to make them more exciting for the kids, try one of the recipes from our collection of 8 hilarious pop culture gingerbread cookies, from unicorns to zombies to these adorable Baby Groot gingerbread cookies from Disney Family.
These gingerbread Whoopie pies take it up a notch for sure. They can be packaged individually, though they’re also the kind of thing people buy and pop into their mouths right away, so you may not need to package them at all! I mean, who doesn’t love a Whoopie pie? For another option, check out the fantastic recipe for gingerbread whoopie pies from Milk Life on this recent post of ours, because you can never have too many, right?
Chocolate bark is a quintessential holiday treat. It doesn’t get any easier than this Christmas Crack Holiday Chocolate Bark Recipe from Stress Baking, which is so colorful and festive it should fly off the bake sale table! We also included in our roundup of super creative chocolate Christmas bark recipes, where you’ll find genius ideas from melted snowman bark (so cute!) to fun twists on classics like peppermint bark.
Southern Living’s red velvet brownie recipe is a popular, colorful take on a classic chocolate brownie, and this southern cook is here for it! The white chocolate curls on top actually make these easier to package individually as a bake sale treat or food gift — the plastic or cellophane you use to cover them will rest on top (kind of like when you stick toothpicks into the top of an iced cake for transport) so the icing doesn’t smear.
Speaking of chocolate, fudge is an easy way to pack a lot of chocolate into a small bite that’s easy to gift or sell. Delish’s Christmas fudge recipe is a nice holiday twist on a classic recipe — it’s all about the color of those sprinkles.
Here’s a fun twist on bake sale items: Don’t bake! Instead, I love Tara Teaspoon’s gingerbread caramel sauce, which is delicious, easy, and also makes a great hostess/teacher/neighbor/whoever you may have forgotten gift. I know that cute mason jars takes longer to fill than wrapping cookies does, but these are so tempting to take home! You may even be able to talk one buyer into picking up several, so they can pass them on as their own homemade holiday and hostess gifts.
Of course sugar cookies are a staple of any bake sale, but don’t skip them just because so many people do them. In fact, if you decorate them to suite your theme, you’re a marketing pro. So take a look at this iced sugar cookie recipe on Genius Kitchen to see real-life examples of how the recipe actually turns out. It’s the easiest recipe for decorated cookies I’ve ever seen, and it looks like the testers were able to come up with a real variety.
Bonus: you choose the art, so this recipe will work for all your holiday bake sales, from Halloween to Hanukkah. You can even create your school’s team logo or decorate in school colors. Pretty smart.