I grew up in Bridgeview, IL, a southwest suburb of Chicago, in a big Irish Catholic family. It was there, in our tiny kitchen on 83rd street, all those years ago, that I learned to make my mother’s and grandmother’s dessert recipes. My fondest childhood memories are of being in the kitchen baking with my Mom. I loved baking so much, that I eventually became “the baker” in our family.
Of everything I baked, my Peanut Butter Pie Cookie quickly became everyone’s favorite. I created this ultimate peanut butter lovers cookie in 1992, handcrafting each with its own peanut butter truffle center. Making the cookies into a pie with a creamy peanut butter mixture in the center was a success! My family and friends went crazy for them and someday so would my customers.
It’s always been my dream to share this unique peanut butter cookie with all the “peanut butter lovers” in the world. I started my business shortly after moving to Sedona, AZ, while working as an elementary school teacher. My teacher’s salary was not enough to live on and desperately needed to be supplemented (What else is new for the teachers in America?) and with millions of tourists coming through Sedona every year, I had the perfect setting to try it out.
So, in October of 2013, under the Arizona’s Home Baked and Confectionary Goods Program, I began baking in my tiny apartment kitchen and started selling my peanut butter pie cookie to make ends meet. I had a label designed, came up with packaging, and set off to the local shops and coffee houses. As each owner tried and fell in love with them, orders were pouring in and I was in business! It’s an amazing and humbling feeling to know that a dream is coming true.
For the next two years, I continued selling my cookies at local shops and teaching full time in Sedona. Burning the candle at both ends soon caught up with me, and I was faced with another big decision. I took a leap of faith, and decided to leave my full time teaching position and sell my baked goods full time at the markets in Sedona during the busy tourist seasons. It was a successful move!
By the end of 2018, people from every state and over thirty countries have visited my booth and enjoyed my baked goods. I had a following of regulars showing up to my booth on a weekly basis. I sold my baked goods in various shops throughout Sedona and in various farmers’ markets throughout the Verde Valley where both locals and tourists alike enjoyed them. My Peanut Butter Pie Cookie ranks the favorite with many of them.
I have since added other family favorites to my menu. This allowed me to offer a broad assortment of varieties including chocolate chip cookies, brownies, lemon squares, pecan tea cookies, oatmeal raisin bars, as well as gluten free options and one low glycemic option, too.
When I bake, I turn on the music and enjoy every minute of it. I can’t help but be in a good mood when I’m baking. The recipes are written in my mother’s familiar cursive writing, so it almost feels as if she is there with me. Working for myself may mean a lot of work at times, but I feel so very blessed that I am doing what I love for a living and that my dream has been realized.
I know there are lots of great bakers out there to choose from with great baked goods. My baked goods come from recipes of two of the kindest and best bakers I know. They both have since passed and I can’t help but think that they’re getting a kick out of the fact that I’m selling the same baked goods that they themselves once made for our family. When I’m selling at the market, I tell people that the recipes were my mom’s and grandmother’s. It resonates with most people, making them smile and reminding them of the times they’ve spent baking with their own mothers or grandmothers. They share that time with me, buy some cookies and are on their way.
Five years in the desert was long enough for me, so I moved back to the Chicagoland area in December of 2018. When I’m asked why I moved back, I simply tell the truth-I moved back because it’s where my heart is. My family and friends are here and so is the Lake.
Since returning, I set my sights on continuing my business here in the Chicagoland area. This past 2019 summer season, I did farmers markets in Homewood, Orland Park, Tinley Park, and Oak Lawn. I had a great experience and developed a good customer base with loyal regulars. My peanut butter pies still reign as the number one favorite!
Stay tuned for the upcoming 2020 Farmers Market and other locations to purchase Lizzie’s Baked Goods!
I use eco-friendly packaging: bio degradable and compostable bags and recyclable raffia. I use paper bags when needed and never plastic. I believe in leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible.