Today I got a call from a woman who knows the quality of the cookies I bake. Every Christmas season she takes her 5th grade granddaughter and 6 of her friends to do something special for the holidays. She would like to bring them to my home and have me bake cookies with them. It would be the NFSC with fondant tops so they could use the food writer pens to decorate them. I think I would do a few other things also so they would end up with 12 cookies each. The grandmother will buy the pens herself and wants to pay me of course. How much would you think would be a fair price to charge for each girl? This would be fun for me so I don't want to make a killing or anything, just pay for my supplies.
I have one big problem before I ever get started. I put the fondant on the warm cookies so it sticks and the pens don't work all that great until the fondant sits a little. She wants the girls to cut out the cookies, bake them and top with fondant. Then they will decorate them. If I put the trays with fondant covered warm cookies in the frig. to set quickly, will they get moisture on them? I need your help CC people.
I can see this turning into something big and then I would up my prices per child. Also any ideas for doing things that would make this day special for the girls? Cute name tags, treats for them to munch on, etc. etc. I even thought a light lunch and a little gift with a cute verse attached would be a cute idea. Maybe little boxes for their cookies tied up with ribbon.
I will appreciate anything you can contribute.
What a cute idea! I think you already have some neat things picked out. I love the name tag thing...you could make them out of scrapbook paper and it would be sooo cute! I think the treats are a good idea too. And the box with a little ribbon would be perfect to end it all.
You should definitely have someone take a picture of you with the girls that day so that they can remember it.
I wish I knew how much money you should charge. I've never even thought about it before. The best thing that I can think of..is figure out how it costs to make your cookies and then multiply that by how many girls there are. Either go and buy the boxes and the ribbon and add that in the price or just go and price them. Plus the treats...etc. But then you also need to figure in your own time. I'm guessing that you are probably going to want to charge a minimum of $20/girl. But that's just a guess.
Goodluck. Let us know how it goes!
i don't know about pricing lilybird, but depending on their timeline and what day they want to do it, they could eat lunch while the cookies cool from the fondant. might give it enough time to set right. and maybe a cookie favor of girly thing, like the princess crown or wand as your special treat. goodluck!!
You could have some cookies already baked and topped when they get there. They could make a few of their own so they get the experience, then decorate the ones you made while theirs cool. They can take theirs home to decorate on their own, or if there's time, decorate them at your house. If you're talking 12 cookies each, that's a lot of cookies! I don't think 6 each would be unreasonable. Most decorating classes here in town run $20-$25 for a two hour class. (And you don't come away with 12 cookies!) Hope that helps a little bit!
It sounds like a fun idea. But don't sell yourself short. Even if you don't want to make a substantial profit, you still have to cover your costs. It might make sense to call around to other businesses in your area that "do" kids' birthday parties, and see what they charge so you have some idea of what's out there. It seems like you want to offer an awful lot to make the party a success. Your expenses--cookie ingredients, fondant ingredients, light lunch, treats to munch on, beverage, paper goods, name tags, little gift, packaging for cookies--are considerable. Then you have to consider your time--shopping; planning; making the dough, fondant, lunch, name tags and treats; actual party time; then clean-up.
What about giving them a cookie recipe printed in a very nice paper and a cookie cutter with a ribbon? That way they can make their own cookies in the future. Maybe you could use the cookie cutter as a kind of "bow" for the cookie box. I know I'd love to receive a cookie cutter .
I forgot to suggest that once you decide what you will do and your pricing, let the lady know what exactly are you charging her for, to justify your price. Maybe you are thinking in a bunch of treats and she is just imagining the girls baking cookies. Just an idea.
$25 per girl would be very fair I think...sounds fun!
I just gave my first private cake decorating lessons to a little girl for her birthday....charged more than that but it was for 3 hours. Its definitely something I want to add to my website as something to offer regularly.
I love love love all these ideas and I know you said you don't want to make a killing money wise, but all these cute idea will take time and money. You could charge for cost of goods, both baking and paper, but then you are still investing all your time to make the boxes and such.
Please don't get me wrong. I think the idea is amazing and it would probably be something I would like to do with my nephews. And if your willing to donate the time then who cares.
Total up the cost of goods for both paper and baking stuff, tack on what you think your time is worth then divide by 6, and you have your cost.
True...you could even make up a few "packages"....one that includes lunch, or one that includes extra decorations....with different prices.
Okay, here's how I would map it out using yours and the others suggestions:
-The girls come in roll out the dough, cut and bake 6 cookies each.
-While those bake, they roll out and cutout the fondant topper. (I've never made these, is that the process?)
-let them help you clean up the table/counters if you need more time for baking.
-cookies come out of the oven, they put the fondant on. Set aside to cool. (How long does this take usually?)
-have a light lunch/snack (Maybe you can demonstrate how you decorate using the pens while they eat)
-maybe have a game for them to play if you need more cooling time--if you turn this into a birthday party idea-you could do presents at this time also. Or, they could decorate their own boxes as a time filler.
-they decorate the baked cookies
-you box their finished cookies to take home, top with a cookie cutter, nametag and /or bow
-at $20 each girl you would make $120. Does this cover your costs and give you a decent profit for the time/effort you've put in? adjust accordingly.
Please fill us in on how it works for you!!
I love the idea of the box decorating as a time-filler!!! You could give them really nice tips to do that. For example: ideas for Valentine's Day, Christmas, birthdays, etc. Also card-making sound like a good idea. Or tips about how to pack them individually and in boxes. Wow, sounds like fun!!
I'm just starting a business in Scotland and will be offering baking parties for children. I have run a couple of practice parties using my friends children. Here is some of the things I have learnt so far
Tell the children not to eat the raw cookie dough, you need to remind them regularly (I let my kids eat it but a couple of other mums have been really against their children eating things with raw eggs in)
The pens are great for children that can draw well, I have had them cause frustration when mistakes have been made cause you can't rub them out. I wouldn't use them with children under 10 for this reason. I had a child in tears cause she ruined her cookie and it was too late to bake another one.
I get the children to roll each cookie individually and roll it out between baking paper which I cut up into small squares before the party. The top piece of baking paper gets used again and again and when the cookie is rolled out on the bottom sheet it is just lifted straight onto the baking sheet, this means that clumsy little fingers don't mis-shape the cookie. It also means that you can write the childs name on the baking paper and everyone can be sure they get their own cookies back.
I use mini cutters to decorate with smaller children so for example we might make round cookies and then I will roll out some fondant for them, let it dry slightly so that it easier for them to handle and give them cute little shaped cutters so they can put an airplane or train on the cookie, if you brush the fodnant with syrup you can then stick sprinkles or coloured sugar or edible glitter on.
I made boiled sweet cookies (use crushed boiled sweets to make coloured glass effect) for Chrismas and have and have had 4 year olds and 8 year olds make them with brilliant results - they are really easy to do and children always seem impressed by them.
I always stop for a break which gives time for cooling and clearing away the cookie dough, my parties last 2 and a half hours, I tried to fit it into 2 hours but things just got too rushed.
I offer parties bags as part of the party, I include a laminated recipe card with my company details printed on the bottom of it, a cookie cutter and then can add extras like small rolling pins, mixing spoons, a cookie decorated by me, balloons etc.
I run the parties in peoples homes, I take everyhing that would be needed, and clear up afterwards.
Hope that helps.
I've done a few classes lke this. I think you are right about the learning curve on the pens on new fondant. I think going home with a dozen cookies is enough -- maybe an inexpensive cookie cutter but that's plenty I think. The girls will want to eat one or two of their cookies I don't think they need snacks just a drink, mulled cider, hot chocolate or milk.
What about making red, green, yellow and blue fondant in advance plus have white? I can see them rolling out green fondant for a tree then making little ornaments to go on the tree.
When I do sugar cookies, I thin a bit of cookie dough with water to piping consistency and tint it say green for the christmas tree and then pipe or paint the colored cookie dough on the unbaked cookie. Then when you bake it off you have most of your decoration on there already solid and fine--a few sugar sprinkles and ornament balls made out of fondant and you're golden.
I would do stars, angels, trees--can I come?? Ooh oh they could do a candy cane with some red (not thinned) cookie dough and some white--make two sausages and twist them together and form the candy cane.
But I think the painting and piping with thinned colored cookie dough is a definite maybe that you might wanna test out and see how you like. It spreads a little but you can add detail after it's baked.
I would also recommend the Wilton icing pen things.
That sounds great Sara. You've learned a lot! Maybe you could have some extra cookies just in case.
K8memphis, the idea of the thinned dough is fantastic. I'll definitely try it.
And I think $25-$35 for five or six cookies is more in my ball park and theirs. Creating 12 cookies from start to finish would get to be more like work than fun perhaps at that age (and mine dealing with them)
I just took my granddaughters to a Bouquet of cookies class the class was 15 dollars for 2 hours it was at my local cake decorating store so they sell all the supplies so I am sure you would need to charge more if you had to buy the all the supplies. They had 20 kids each kid got 3 cookies on a stick to decorate and for snack they each got to decorate 1 cookie to decorate and eat and a small bottle of water they each got an aluminum foil tin with a lid to take there cookies home and a decorated pot to put the cookies in at home. They used RI and buttercream to decorate.They had so much fun they want to go back and do more and a lot of mothers were asking about bring there girl scout troops in and if they could do birthday parties there not the whole party just for the decorating
Completed examples help. Have some set up so they can see. Everyone wants to try to duplicate your design/ details...
Another time killer? Let them draw their designs on paper to "practice". Like if you are making angels, draw the shape outline on paper (in advance- make xerox copies) and let them use crayons to plan the colors.
And as said before -extra cookies for dropped cookies or plates, burned cookies, or any other "oops" moments.
I think the cookie recipe and the cookie cutter is a GREAT gift idea! It's just adorable. It also sounds like a great idea to have a lot of the prep work out of the way! This is a great thread!!
For my MIL's holiday party the last 3 yrs, I bake a bunch of cookies, and prepare lots of bags of RI in many colors (about 3 per color, so noone has to wait long for the one they want). I cover a big table with a plastic tablecloth, and let them have at it. I prepare a bunch of plates with their names on it, and they love it!!
If they want to pay for it, you can decorate canvas aprons with the kids.
Like someone else said, prepare extras.
You need room to move.
Samples are great for when kids can't think of ideas. Also encourage creativity once the "warm up" to decorating.
You guys are just terrific with all the ideas. This is really going to be fun and for this first year, I am not going to worry too much about the cost as I am hoping this will put the word out for next year. I will have more time to come up with the pricing and with different options for the parties. Because of the liability, I will not be letting the girls do any baking. When you have had your own business, you become really cautious about someone getting burned and ending up owning your home!!!!! Here is what I am doing for this year using lots of your ideas and my artistic resources from my art business.
Baking 6 + cookies for each and covering them with fondant in different colors.
Making little wooden name tags for each girl.
I use to stencil childrens aprons for my business, so they could have this option. Childs name at the top and candy canes, gingerbread men, and cookies stenciled on the body of the apron. (I really hope noone wants them this year LOL)
They can decorate with the Wilton pens (the grandmother is buying those), little mini cutouts of fondant to glue on the cookies, and a few tubes of royal icing that I will make in a few colors.
I have little white boxes for their finished cookies and they can decorate them to use up time. That was a terrific idea!!!
I can pick up cookie cutters for .25 each and tie with a ribbon for the top of the boxes. Another great idea!!! I have those waxed squares of paper that you use for wrapping caramels to put in between each cookie.
I will lay out sample pictures and have a sheet of paper with the outline of each cookies for them to practice on. Lord you guys had some terrific ideas.
We will serve cocoa and a candy cane cookie for a treat.
For take home, I am dipping the Christmas Oreo cookies in chocolate, wrapping them in red foil and putting them in those little clear favor boxes that are for weddings.
This is going to really be fun and I hope you will keep adding your ideas to this. If anyone else does something like this, please post your experiences, good or bad. We could come up with different themes for the other seasons, so keep the ideas coming.
thank you for posting this!
I have been thinking about doing this for a while.
when we used to live in Southern California we went to Disneyland a lot and they had a couple cookie activities that we tried.
one was a Nestle sponsored activity.
the kids were grouped in about a bunch of 5 and put by a table. each kid added one ingredient and mixed the dough. then the took turns putting scoops of the chocolate-chip cookie dough on cookie sheets. then the helpers picked up the sheets and all the kids chanted something about fairies and pixie dust and out came cooked cookies. (it was cute, they made a point to make one big cookie in the middle of the pan, so that when they saw the cooked cookies come out it was more convincing that it was theirs ) the helpers passes out packages of 3 cookies to all the participating familes.
(while the kids were waiting at the begining they were given a paper chefs hat to color)
the second was a boxed, do-it-yourself cookie set.
it was a very large castle shaped sugar cookie. it came with some candy shapes that they could stick on, and three colors of BC icing in little plastic tubs. there was also a plastic knife. (I found it a bit difficult to deal with, but it was functional) the boxed set was $8.95.
anyway, thanks again for all the wonderful ideas and pointers!
(I've been asked to do an activity for my DD girl scout troup.)
I have now been asked to teach a cookie class at the small school here that has a spring activity week where different classes are offered for the whole week. I would get $25 per child and I can do as many classes as I want with as many kids in each classs as I can handle.
Thanks for all the great ideas. I love working with kids, so this should be fun.
How fantastic for you, lilybird! This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you, and I wish you the greatest of successes!
What a perfect pairing - Cookies and Kids!! This sounds like it will be so much fun, and it sounds like you are well on your way!! Congratulations!! I am excited for you, and I can't wait to hear more I've had the idea of offering cupcake or cookie decorating parties at other people's houses, like at a kid's birthday party. I tried it a couple of weeks ago for my son's birthday with cupcakes, and it was a hit! It was an activity for the kids, as well as their cake. I had predecorated cupcakes for the adults, but some of them wanted to jump in on decorating their own too I think these types of classes/parties could be offered to adults too. I'm thinking for some of my winery friends, doing a decadent chocolate cupcake decorating theme that they could pair with a wine that goes with chocolate, etc.
Just another idea to add to your growing list. I love all the ideas here - thanks everyone!!
If you are worried about the fondant needing to cool before decorating, could you not cut out fondant with the same cutters as the cookies, and have the kids decorate their fondant whilst the cookies are baking? Then you could just place it on top afterwards. It would also mean that they had the chance to turn it over and try again on the other side of the fondant if they have any artistic disasters. (Forgive me if this is an idea that obviously wouldnt work, I have never actually put fondant on a cookie, but now want to go to a cookie decorating party!)