Preparing Your Bakery for the Holidays
It’s that time of year again – work holiday parties, a class winter party for the kids, one family dinner after the other, ugly sweater parties, cookie exchange parties, and more parties, parties, parties!
"RSVP with a dish or dessert you’ll bring."
"Don’t forget your tray of cookies for the exchange."
"Please take note of little Jimmy’s peanut allergy."
But with all these gatherings and our other day-to-day obligations, who has time to slave in the kitchen for hours perfecting their great, great grandma’s holiday candy recipe? Not many; and that’s why you, our amazing bakers, have bakeries buzzing with customers caught up in the hustle and bustle that comes with the season. We’re here to give you some tips for preparing your bakery for the holiday season rush and to share some favorite holiday baking ideas that give us that nostalgic feeling of celebrating at home with family and friends!
As far back as we can remember, cookie baking and decorating has always been a holiday tradition in many homes, leading to the even more favored cookie exchange. Many of us here look forward to bringing in our own family recipes to share with coworkers every year, sometimes leading to competitive battles in search of the best snickerdoodle! But in today’s busy society, not everyone has the time or desire to whip out their mixing bowls, spatulas, cookie sheets and cutters to start baking, let alone, clean it all up! So now it’s up to our favorite bakeries to craft the ultimate assortment of intricately decorated, oddly shaped, great tasting, traditional and non-traditional assorted cookie trays! Consider some of these suggestions to ensure your tray not only looks professional, but has a cookie to hit everyone’s sweet tooth.
- Incorporate at least one traditional holiday cookie. Nobody wants to upset grandpa at family dinner because someone forgot to invite the gingerbread man! Dating back to the Middle Ages when Queen Elizabeth I of England decided to shape and decorate gingerbread cookies to resemble her favorite courtiers, gingerbread cookies have become a cookie staple during the holiday months with their cute shape, deliciously spiced flavor, and infinite decorating possibilities.
- Icing, sprinkles, and toppings galore. Nothing makes people happier than a tray of intricately decorated sugar cookies! Add the gumdrop buttons. Use colored sprinkles. Add coconut flakes to resemble snow or bring a snowman cookie to life. Dye dough and swirl the different colors together into pinwheel or candy cane themed cookies. Be creative!
- Make transport and delivery easy. After all that hard work, it would be a shame if you set your cookies onto a cheaply made tray. Holiday baked goods are not something to mess around with! Be sure your serving trays and platters provide support and look nice enough to sell. And don't forget to arrange your cookies into a flattering assortment. Don’t just pile them on top of one another – after all, you put so much hard work into decorating!
- Candy molds are sweet to have. From chocolate covered cherries to caramel turtles and lollipops, you can make tins full of candy in no time. Invest in the type of candy mold your customers want. Melt chocolate wafers to paint molds that have an engraved design. Let it harden; fill with desired fillings – maraschino cherries, cherry flavored syrup, nuts, etc. – and then top each individual candy well with more melted chocolate using a squeeze bottle. Place molds in the refrigerator, and after everything sets, take out your finished candies.
- Don’t be afraid to use your hands. It can be as simple as mixing up a giant bowl of peanut butter with powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Roll the mixture into 1” diameter spheres, cover in melted chocolate, and voilà, you have peanut butter balls, also commonly known as buckeyes!
- Be economical. Everyone loves the flavor combo of sweet and salty. For an economical candy option, dip hard pretzels in melted chocolate. This is one of the simplest yet tastiest options. You can make them look gourmet by drizzling white chocolate, chopped nuts, or candy toppings on top and still make a huge profit.
- It’s the whole package. Great for gifting purposes, sell your candies in individual, decorated boxes. Whether customers purchase for their own consumption or they want to hand them out at the office, well-packaged candies make a great sale.
- Twist it up. You don’t always have to use your traditional buttercream frosting recipe. Try mixing two unique flavors together, like cherry and white chocolate. How does mixing red and white for a candy cane twisted icing sound? You can do this very easily by using a duo decorating pastry tube. You can also add a fun homemade topper to each cupcake, such as connecting mini marshmallows to make a snowman.
- It’s all about the batter. Tis the season to experiment with festive, wintery cake flavors. Use traditional yellow cake with a complementary icing, or switch it up and try a devil's food cake chocolate mix with a brown sugar buttercream frosting!
- Make festive displays. Another fun idea, great for catering holiday parties, is to frost cupcakes with a basic icing that’s dyed green. Assemble them onto a cupcake stand shaped similarly to this one, and it will resemble a holiday tree. What a great centerpiece for the dessert table!
Beginning as a solid white sugary stick, the candy cane is believed to have developed into its modern curved shape around 1670 when they were supposedly passed out to young children as a sweet treat to keep them satisfied during the lengthy Nativity scene. Whether or not this tale is true, it’s definitely evident that candy making has evolved into another holiday tradition as people continue to give homemade candy as gifts, not only this season, but throughout the entire year. From chocolate dipped fruit and drizzled pretzels to peanut butter balls, caramel turtles, and chocolate lollipops, homemade chocolate candy is a beautiful option for catering or gifting.
Have you noticed how popular cupcakes have become and how they’ve evolved in just the past few years? Bakers have become incredibly skilled at transforming an ordinary cupcake into a decadent masterpiece. Cupcakes make great holiday baked goods because they’re easy to share, and they make a great display. Customers will be drawn to your bakery cases filled with carefully frosted, mouth-watering cupcakes, ordering their supply for their next… you guessed it, party! Here are some ideas to add holiday cheer to your treats.