I recently did this myself.  I broke down the cost of the recipe itself, the guessing game is in the different size and quantity of cookies you will actually get out of that one batch.  It was still a good exercise, since so much of what we do is a "guesstimate". 

Hi I am new to the  "business of baking" and I was wondering if anyone could suggest an app or a way to see how much a recipe would cost to make. Sometimes I guestimate the cost of the making my products and hoping all the while that I have not cheated myself. Thank You. 

Don't forget to incorporate your labor costs into the equation - they are the lion's share of the cost structure of a decorated cookie!


To price product in my bakery, I used typical recipe/food costing methods of the food biz. I first built up the full cost of making the product, including labor (using standard time to make the thing x cost of my labor, i.e., $ per hour). Then I added a 30% to 50% margin (50% margin = double the cost to get the price) to cover other overhead costs associated with running the bakery AND to make a profit.


There are lots of programs out there that can help with product pricing, but the key thing (which only you can do) is developing the standards or know-how to gauge how long something takes to make (per unit) from start to finish, starting with mixing the dough to packaging the cookies up, if relevant.


This is just one example of recipe costing software, which I can't vouch for (as I've never used it), but shop around. If you want a more reliable recommendation for software, I can check with some chef friends of mine who do this everyday: http://www.accuchef.com/

Stir Bake Decorate: Just now getting back to you! I sit on the Board of Directors of a local culinary school here in St. Louis, and the Dean of that school recommends ChefTec software for recipe costing, nutritional analysis, and inventory management. Certain versions of it also integrate with QuickBooks for financial reporting. Of course, there's some work in setting it up (i.e., you have to enter all of the unit cost data that's relevant to you), but this would be true of any off-the-shelf program like this. It's not cheap ($595 or so), but may be worth the investment: http://www.culinarysoftware.com/css-home.htm


Alternatively, if you're adept with Excel or any other worksheet program, you could easily set up your own cost tables and compute recipe/product pricing from that cost basis, after adding in labor allocations and your profit margin markup. 


Hope this helps a bit!

I just did this last week.  I went to the grocery store and bought all the items i would need for my cookie recipe.  I then used a conversion chart and broke it down to what my cost was per batch.  I was surprised that my cost was almost 3 dollars a batch, but that was because my vanilla bean paste was 1.50 per batch.  I then was able to find a bigger container of vanilla bean paste for a better value and that brought my total down to a less than 2 dollars a batch without losing quality.  


I have yet to break down my royal icing recipe, but once i buy more meringue powder, I will do that too!


Don't forget to add in other materials (boxes, bags, tissue, bubble wrap if needed, ribbon..etc)...  Also, I learned that it takes a while to cut/wrap ribbon on cookies!!!!  


I also created a chart (like Sugarbelles), and then I have add-ons such as making cookie pops, the ribbons, boxes, etc.  


There are so many hidden costs (parchment, heating the oven, ziplock bags, etc)  


ACK, dont get me started  


Oh, to keep track of expenses and orders, I use excel spreadsheets!

Now I haven't heard much about it in a long while, but people loved the Cake Boss Software for this purpose. It does take a bit to get your base ingredient cost & recipes loaded, but it tracks everything and saves notes/invoices. Plus you can try it for a month and get your money back in full if its not the right fit. Again though I haven't heard any chatter about it lately. Andrea


Last edited by Julia M. Usher

Aymee Van Dyke, our regular Cookie Connection blogger who writes about the business of cookies, has written a post all about how to cost your recipes and then price them. It's EXTREMELY important to fully cost your cookies (esp. the labor component), as ingredients are typically a very small part of the cost of making a decorated cookie. She'll clarify this point and also offer up a great resource for recipe costing and pricing. I don't want to spill the beans, so please sit tight! The post should go live in a few days - at the very latest after I return from Europe later this weekend.

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