Many students and Harrisonburg locals alike have felt hunger pangs at wee hours of the night — the kind of hunger that only baked goods can satisfy. Luckily, Laura Brossman, a 2015 JMU alumna, has the community covered with Fully Baked.
This baked goods delivery service launched the last week of March and has been whipping up traditional, homemade pastries from scratch ever since.
“I’ve been baking since I was a kid,” Brossman said. “Both my mother and my grandmother loved to bake and cook, so I’ve been in the kitchen since I was little.”
Upon graduating high school, Brossman took her passion for cooking to The Culinary Institute of America, but decided to leave after six months.
“It took something that was a fun hobby for me and made it into very stressful work, and an obligation,” Brossman said. “I never wanted my hobbies to become that. I want to do them on my own terms and have a good time.”
Soon after her decision to drop culinary school, she found JMU, where she studied business management.
While Brossman’s degree in business management doesn’t apply to the baking aspect of the business, it’s helped her in many other areas.
“It helped me get organized, create spreadsheets for pricing out all of my ingredients and look into the licensing,” Brossman said. “It definitely gave me a solid foundation.”
After checking to see if there were any regulations or inspections to be done or if she was even allowed to have a business out of her home, Brossman discovered that for her purposes, she was.
Both Brossman’s mother and grandmother have their own successful businesses that they started and ran themselves, so she comes from a line of entrepreneurs.
Fully Baked is a one-woman show. Brossman works out of her kitchen, bakes everything to order each night and delivers each one herself.
Since she works a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in property management during the week, orders must be placed 24 hours in advance to give her time to purchase ingredients, prepare the treats and deliver them.
The menu itself is a compilation of classic comfort treats: snickerdoodle cookies, banana muffins with chocolate chips and walnuts, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, rice krispy treats and brownies.
“I wanted to have a menu with variation because we already have Insomnia Cookies and Campus Cookies and they do so well,” Brossman said. “I’m not trying to go and compete directly with them.”
Most items are made with natural ingredients purchased from Martin’s and other local stores. However, they are made with full sugar, full flour and full fat.
“When you eat a pastry, you need to eat a pastry,” Brossman said. “You’re not gonna try to go sugar-free — that'snot something I can do.”
Customers seem to feel the same way, and are responding well to the sweet, late-night treats.
“It's all delicious, but my two favorites are the carrot cupcakes and banana muffins,” Samantha Rimer, a customer of Fully Baked, said. “The muffins remind me of my grandmother's recipe. I can't get enough.”
In addition to overall taste, the convenience is an appealing factor, especially if baking isn’t a customer’s strong suit.
“These were so much better than I could have ever made myself even if I had the time,” Jordan Beard (14’) said.
Although the current menu has five items on it, Brossman intends to expand in both amount and variety based on customer feedback.
“I just wanted to start small,” Brossman said. “Start with a few staples and hopefully expand to a much bigger menu.”
For Brossman, Fully Baked isn’t a job, but rather, a passion. Going forward, she has one simple goal.
“Just to have a fun little project where I can enjoy making people delicious food,” Brossman said. “For me, it’s the most exciting, important thing in life.”
Ali Gips is a junior media arts and design and communication studies double major. Contact Ali at email@example.com.