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Best Bake Sale Brownies

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Janisa loves eating and experimenting in the kitchen. She enjoys creating new recipes and homemade versions of popular store-bought foods.

These mouthwatering brownies are simple and cheap to make, which makes them the perfect for a school bake sale. No bake sale in sight? Share them with your family at home!

These mouthwatering brownies are simple and cheap to make, which makes them the perfect for a school bake sale. No bake sale in sight? Share them with your family at home!

Brownies to Eat vs Brownies to Sell

Brownies are always delicious, regardless of whether we make them ourselves, eat them at a friend's house or buy them made. These chocolaty treats always taste great, but they aren't always made the same way—and there are reasons for this.

When we make desserts for ourselves, be it brownies or anything else, our goal is for them to be as delicious as possible, and we try to make use of ingredients we have at home. Different people often have their own favorite versions of homemade brownies, which can be made with walnuts, chocolate chips or other delicacies.

Brownies to sell, on the other hand, need to not only taste good but also be economical. For example, although brownies with walnuts may taste amazing for some people, you won't make as much profit unless you sell these for a higher price, which may scare off customers.

In my opinion, this is the best recipe for brownies to sell or to eat, since it is cheap and the brownies turn out delicious. It also uses fairly basic ingredients, so you most likely won't have to go out ingredient shopping prior to making these. The instructions are simple and straightforward, so even kids can make these easy brownies for their school bake sales.

Quick Facts

  • Batter Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Bake time: 35 minutes
  • Icing Prep and decoration time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: around 35 mouth-watering brownies (I cut them into squares, around 5x5 cm each); the amount of pieces you get will depend on the size you cut them into
  • Pan used: Around 25x35 cm, so you may want to halve the recipe if you have a smaller pan or want to make less brownies.
  • Warnings: Resist the urge to sample your freshly baked brownies or you will end up eating too much by accident!

Batter Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients that are required to make these homemade brownies. Some ingredients can be easily substituted for others if you want to make the recipe cheaper or healthier.

  • 2/3 cup butter: Butter is healthier more natural. However, in some countries, butter is significantly more expensive than margarine and using butter would cut your profits by at least 25% (at least in Brazil), so margarine can be used instead. Whichever one you choose, make sure that you pick the unsalted variety or your brownies and icing will have a salty aftertaste. Using either butter or margarine does not change the taste of the brownies, so your customers won't complain :)
  • 1/2 cup oil: I use vegetable or canola oil. There is always the option of using coconut oil to give your brownies that special tropical taste, but I would only recommend using coconut oil if you are making these brownies for yourself or if this kind of oil is very cheap where you live. Another option is soy oil. Some people may prefer it since it is significantly cheaper, but it is very unhealthy, so I avoid it as much as possible.
  • 4 eggs: I strive to eat organic as much as possible, but I don't use organic ingredients for desserts I make to sell.
  • 2 cups white sugar: Reduce the amount of sugar to 1 1/2 cups if you're using sweetened cocoa powder.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour: You can use whole wheat flour if that is all you ever use, but it will likely decrease your profits (unless you live in a place where white and whole wheat flour cost the same).
  • 1 pinch salt: Leave this one out if you're going to use salted butter/margarine.
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder: You could also use powdered hot chocolate mix instead if it is cheaper in your area. However, using a powdered hot chocolate mix instead will make the color of your brownies slightly lighter. You can also use a combination of the two.

Oil vs Butter in Brownies

Butter and oil have different functions when it comes to brownies and other baked goods. Some recipes call for one ingredient or the other, depending on the desired texture of the final product.

Butter is what makes baked goods, such as brownies, flaky and helps them rise. Using butter for making brownies will make them cake-y and somewhat dry.

Oil is what makes baked desserts more moist and chewy. However, using too much oil may cause the brownies to be somewhat juicy, which isn't a very desirable characteristic for a brownie.

In my opinion, both butter and oil are required in order to make the perfect brownie that is chewy, moist, and a bit flaky without being neither dry nor too juicy.

After numerous experiments in the kitchen, I think that I have finally discovered the perfect oil and butter proportions in order to make the best-tasting brownies. However, if you prefer a brownie that is cakeier, then you may want to consider replacing the oil with more butter.


Even when baking with fairly simple ingredients, you may not always have everything on hand. Other times, you may have certain preferences for ingredients or ingredients you avoid. Here is a list of ingredients that can be substituted and what they can be substituted with:

  • Butter: Margarine is a less healthy but cheap alternative.
  • Cocoa powder: Hot chocolate drink mix is very common in some countries (such as Brazil) and is significantly cheaper than cocoa. Sweetened cocoa powder can also be used and it is cheaper than the pure cocoa variation. If you're making this recipe for yourself, you may consider melting chocolate instead.
  • Oil: This ingredient can be either omitted or substituted by using a bit more butter instead. Avocado, canola, vegetable are all fairly affordable and fairly healthy oils to use. Soy oil can be very cheap in some places, but it is much more unhealthy, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you're desperate. Coconut oil is more on the expensive side but can be used if you're making the dessert for yourself or if it's fairly affordable where you live.
  • White sugar: This is the most basic kind of sugar and the cheapest. You could always use natural sugars if you want to make a healthier dessert for yourself. Brown sugar makes the brownies too chewy, so I would avoid it or only use a little bit. Honey can also be used as a natural sweetener. If you choose to use honey, only use one cup of it and do not add oil.
  • White flour: Whole wheat flour can be used for a healthier dessert, although I find that these brownies taste better with white flour. I know people who love to use buckwheat flour in baking, but I find that it ruins the taste of the dessert, so use buckwheat flour at your own risk.
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Read More From Delishably

Mixer vs Blender

A blender is often used to break ingredients into very tiny pieces and then combine them with other ingredients that also get broken down into tiny pieces.

A mixer tends to be used to speed up the stirring or ingredient combining process in recipes. Using an electric mixer allows you to effortlessly get a uniform and well combined mixture. Depending on the ingredients being combined, some of them get broken down into smaller pieces in the process.

From my experience, a blender can also be used to beat eggs for an omelette or a recipe and to combine ingredients that don't contain pieces that can be broken up. Cleaning a blender is also very simple if you turn it on with soapy water inside.

I personally use a blender for this homemade brownie recipe, but a mixer would work just as well.

Step 1: Make the Brownies

In addition to simple ingredients, this bake sale brownie recipe comes with straightforward instructions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Grease pan with butter/margarine/oil.
  3. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer or put them in a blender for around 15 seconds.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into a medium bowl and add the oil, sugar and flour, salt and mix well with a spoon. The mixture should be a light yellow colour.
  5. In a saucepan, heat up the butter/margarine and the cocoa on low heat. Stir well and remove from heat when the butter has melted completely and you've got a uniform mixture.
  6. Combine both mixtures and mix well with a spoon.
  7. Pour into pan and bake for around 35 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick.
Don't worry if your brownie looks rather ugly; you'll be covering it with delicious icing in a few moments!

Don't worry if your brownie looks rather ugly; you'll be covering it with delicious icing in a few moments!

Step 2: Make the Frosting


  • 6 tbsp butter: Margarine can also be used instead, but make sure you use the unsalted variation.
  • 2 2/3 cups icing sugar: This can't be replaced with regular sugar or you won't get the desired texture.
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (or a hot chocolate mix)
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind of milk is fine except for powdered or evaporated milk)

It doesn't matter when you begin making the frosting as long as you spread it over the brownies while they're still warm.


  1. In a bowl, cream butter and icing sugar. The resulting mixture should be light and fluffy.
  2. Add the cocoa and mix with a spoon until you get a uniform mixture.
  3. Add the milk. Either use an electric mixer or a blender for this step. Blend/beat the mixture until the result is of a spreadable consistency. Add more milk if necessary.
The frosting should be not too runny, but still spreadable.

The frosting should be not too runny, but still spreadable.

Step 3: Put It all Together

The final step is super easy. The hardest part will be avoiding the urge to sample these delicious brownies before you're ready to serve or sell them!

  1. Spread the frosting generously over warm brownies while they're still in the pan. Don't forget about the edges.
  2. Place the brownies in the fridge to cool. Consider covering the pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that the moisture doesn't escape. Around 2 hours would be ideal for the brownies to cool off completely and absorb some of the frosting. However, if you're in a rush, half an hour should be just fine.
I might have sampled one or two before going out to sell...

I might have sampled one or two before going out to sell...

Presentation Tips

Selling Tips

Before anything, make sure that you're aware of the regulations in your area. If you're making brownies for a school bake sale or fundraiser, then you should be just fine. However, if you're planning to venture out on your own to sell, you may be required to have a permit.

In Brazil, for example, selling homemade and store-bought goods on the streets and in places where there are people is very common. It's a great way anyone can make some extra money that you don't have to pay taxes on.

Other countries may have different laws about selling in public places, so always make sure to find out what's permitted and what isn't before you go out to sell your delicacies. In some places, a permit is required, so if you're just starting out, the best option may be to sell at a school or community bake sale or farmer's market. This way, you can team up with a more experienced seller and get some experience in the selling business.

Prior to going out to sell, make sure that your product is attractive and clean. That's what potential customers pay attention to first. You may also consider using liners of sorts or placing each brownie on a napkin, to make it easier for customers to take them. Extra napkins and little baggies are always a good idea since not everyone wants to eat their sweets right away.

Depending on where you sell your brownies, your potential customers may not be in the mood to buy something large and fairly expensive. Large portion sizes are better sold at bakeries and coffee shops. I find that it's easier to sell brownies and other desserts if I cut them into fairly small pieces and sell them for a lower price. This way, despite having to find more buyers, it is easier to find someone who has some spare change to buy a small sweet. And practically everyone has a bit of change on them.


Depending on the reason why you're making these brownies, you may consider adding some optional ingredients to make the brownies even more delicious.

Here are some possible variations:

  • Add walnuts or other nuts
  • Add chocolate chips, M&M's, Reese's pieces, etc.
  • Skip the frosting and sprinkle some coconut on top

The possibilities really are endless! It's all up to your creativity and preferences.

Brownies with shredded coconut on top instead of frosting make for a tasty and lower-calorie dessert.

Brownies with shredded coconut on top instead of frosting make for a tasty and lower-calorie dessert.

© 2018 Janisa

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