2018 Baking Challenges + January Baking Challenge

Homemade bagels

Before we begin a new year of Sally’s Baking Challenge, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the hard work and effort you put into participating this year. From homemade croissants and choux pastry to baked Alaska and homemade toffee, you truly challenged yourself in 2018. Every month, I’m absolutely FLOORED with the amount of participation.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making the monthly baking challenges a success. And, more importantly, for making the baking challenges fun!!!


January 2019 Baking Challenge: Homemade Bagels

Many readers responded to a question I ask in my new email series… what baking recipe intimidates you the most? A majority have been saying yeast breads. So let’s start off the new year facing our fears. We’re making homemade bagels!


Everyone who participates in the January Baking Challenge is automatically entered. See below for How to Join Sally’s Baking Challenge. My assistants and I keep track of your photos and randomly select a winner at the end of the month. This giveaway is open to the whole world. Giveaway ends on January 30th 2019.

1 winner will receive: $250 Amazon Gift Card. A winner will be selected at random and posted in the February Baking Challenge blog post on January 31st 2019.

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

  1. Recipe: On or around the 1st of each month, I publish a new challenge recipe. Sign up for instant email updates so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published!
  2. Bake & Comment: Bake the recipe during that month, then come back and comment on the recipe and tell me how it went.
  3. Share: Share your photos using #sallysbakingchallenge on Instagram or email me, tweet me, or upload a photo of your recipe to my Facebook page or Facebook group. By sharing your photo, you are automatically entered in that month’s giveaway, which is usually an Amazon $250 gift card. There is always an alternate challenge recipe just in case you’re not into the recipe published. Here is a landing page dedicated to all things Sally’s Baking Challenge.

Want to subscribe? Sign up for instant email updates so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published!

2018 Sally’s Baking Challenge Review

Click on each link to view the challenge recipe.

  1. January: Homemade Bread Bowls
  2. February: Chocolate Cake Pops
  3. March: Vanilla Naked Cake
  4. April: Homemade Croissants and Chocolate Croissants
  5. May: Classic Cheesecake
  6. June: Baked Alaska
  7. July: Apple Hand Pies
  8. August: Chocolate Chip Layer Cake
  9. September: Choux Pastry
  10. October: Pumpkin Spice Toffee
  11. November: Savory Vegetable Tart
  12. December: Homemade Gingerbread House

There were over 5,000 participants this year and Vanilla Naked Cake had the most!

Rustic naked cake

Let’s Review the December Baking Challenge

I’m so excited about the participation in December because homemade gingerbread houses are no easy project. Take a look at some of your photos on Instagram. And here’s a bunch that are either there, sent to me, posted on my Facebook page, or in my Facebook group. 🙂

I love your creativity!

Giveaway winner for December is Jo and she has been notified. 🙂


  1. Love bagels Always wanted a tried and true recipe and tutorial. Thanks Sally! So excited! I aleady have Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel spice.

  2. So excited for bagels and to try some new things. Your baking challenge made my highlights for 2018. And I made baked Alaska more than once

  3. My first challenge! I made bagels decades ago and thought I had that one checked off my list. Guess I will give them another try. Back then they were plain egg bagels, now there are so many flavors to try. I’m actually looking forward to it.

  4. I’m so excited to find this baking challenge group and look forward to participating in 2019! Plus, a chance to win is icing on the cake. How fun!!

  5. Yes! I love your homemade bagel recipe already, I’ve made your everything bagel recipe a couple times and the cinnamon raisin… sans raisins! Lol I haven’t made them since I had my baby but I will definitely be participating in this months challenge 🙂
    Also.. how cool is that grinch gingerbread house!? Wow.

  6. One of my resolutions this year is to do all 12 Baking Challenges!

    And this one is very exciting because I can almost never find garlic bagels. If this goes well, I can just make them myself!

  7. Yay! love bagels and can’t wait to try them again. Last time (one and only time) they were hard as rocks! Pray I do better this time.

  8. This is very exciting! I can’t wait to see how people do! Although I don’t have the time these days to participate (working Mom with two small kids and one on the way), I very much enjoy watching others participate! Also the craziness of these challenges is thrilling – who makes homemade bagels?!? I love it!
    Some other ideas for totally intimidating stuff to bake: baklava, Crete brûlée, macarons & napoleon!

  9. So excited…My son and I were just talking about making bagels. We are DEFINITELY going to try this one, and we’ll tag you in all the places provided as this is our first challenge EVER!!!! Eeeek , so excited… Happy New Year!

  10. I just finished making these bagels. They turned out perfect! So delicious- we are eating them for dinner right now. I made half everything bagels and half cheese. ( I’m going to enter your contest too. I’m so excited and proud of how they turned out!) Thanks for the recipe – I’m looking forward to next months challenge.

  11. OMG, I would start the challenge and its yeast bread ‍♀️ lol but I’m ready as ever! I need a challenge and I love baking!

  12. Made cinnamon sugar bagels (just omitted raisins) , and the hubby loved them!! And our two year old.
    Looking forward to doing more baking challenges this year!! This was my first.

  13. I love bagels but my refrigerator is currently full on them so I won’t be making them but your buttermilk biscuits are fantastic! Can chocolate crepes be part of the baking challenge anytime?

  14. I made these earlier this month. I let the dough rise overnight. I don’t think I cut the dough evenly so some bagels were too thick and some were too thin but they tasted pretty good and will definitely try again and do some different flavors!

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With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally