Baked from the Heart

Senior Brooke Abbott is busy on Thursday nights. She’s busy on Friday nights, too. Saturday mornings? Still busy. While most of her peers are sleeping, hanging out with friends, or relaxing after a long week of school, Abbott is baking delicious treats and preparing for the upcoming weekend. 

“It takes me probably eight to nine hours – it takes a while just to bake it all through,” Abbott said. “Since my cookies are very large, I can only make a dozen at a time.” 

After Abbott is finally finished baking, she sells her products through online orders on Instagram and Facebook and at farmers markets, usually the Fulshear farmers market, on the weekends. Her business, Brooke’s Gluten Free Bakery, offers a wide range of treats, including morning glory muffins, oatmeal breakfast bars, cinnamon sugar donuts, and more. 

“My favorite thing to bake is probably banana bread,” Abbott said. “I love banana bread, and it’s just super fun to make.”

Abbott started her business in July 2021, the summer before her junior year of high school. However, Abbott loved baking long before she even had the idea of opening a business. 

“I learned to bake from my cousin,” Abbott said. “She was a huge baker, and she’s actually sponsored by a lot of different baking companies. So I baked with her from a really young age, and I just fell in love with it.” 

Abbott said she uses her own recipes for her business but also looks online for ideas. 

“I look on Pinterest just for inspiration, like for what the type of cookies are,” Abbott said. “Then, I adjust my recipes to fit it. I have my standard, like chocolate chip [or] sugar cookie dough, and then I add flavors or take certain things away to adjust it to the new recipe.” 

What sets her business apart is its dedication to providing different choices – such as gluten free, vegan, and dairy free food – to people who have dietary restrictions. 

“I personally have a lot of stomach sensitivities,” Abbott said. “Whenever I go to the different markets or coffee shops, they never have anything I can eat. I’ve figured out that a lot of people have the same stomach issues that I do, so I thought it’d be good to offer those options so people can enjoy whatever.” 

Because Abbott sells gluten free treats, there are some changes she has to make when she is baking. 

“It depends on the flour you use,” Abbott said. “Almond flour really will make them a lot more dense, so you have to put a little bit less flour and a little bit more baking soda or baking powder just so that it gives it the same texture. But if you use a normal gluten free flour blend, it’s just a one to one ratio for normal flour, so you don’t actually have to alter that much.” 

Abbott said her biggest challenge, though, is her age. 

“In the business world, it’s really hard to talk to other business owners because they’re talking down to you since you’re so young,” Abbott said. “In reality, you’re at the same level they are, so that’s been really hard.” 

As the only employee, Abbott manages all aspects of her business and said she struggles to hire other workers. 

 “It’s hard for me because I’m so young to hire [other] people, so I have to do it all myself,” Abbott said. “I learned a lot of organization from it. I run the financials, I do all of the groceries, I do all of the baking myself, all the packaging, sales, orders, [and] deliveries, so if I have something on Saturday for school, I have to cancel market, and then that’s business gone for the week.” 

Despite these obstacles, Abbott said she plans to continue her business beyond high school.

“I am going into college for a business major because I want to use my business major in opening my own actual storefront, that’s the goal,” Abbott said. 

Until then, she said she wants to expand what she is already doing. 

“I really want to just get my name out there more past farmers markets and definitely more in actual Houston, too,” Abbott said. “I want to do a few markets in Houston, especially over the summer, because I know it’s a really trendy popular area down there.”

Abbott said that she encourages other teens who want to start a business to choose something they are truly passionate about and find innovative ways to keep themselves interested. 

“Once you start doing it every week, you can get bored with it very fast,” Abbott said. “I change things out weekly because it keeps me engaged – if I did the same cookies every single weekend, I would be so bored with it by now. So you really just [have] to keep yourself engaged and make sure it’s something you’re really, truly into and love.”