In the heart of family gatherings, celebrations, and the warmth of home-cooked goodness, the passion for baking has woven itself into the fabric of Matt and Michelle Broxterman’s lives. What started as a hobby is slowly evolving into a potential business venture; a dream nurtured by the duo over nearly four decades of marriage.
Michelle and Matt spent plenty of time in the kitchen growing up. In fact, they met as teenagers working in a kitchen at a local retirement community. Matt’s late mother, Betty, shared with them a rich tapestry of family recipes: homemade bread for dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and Krautstrudel, to name a few.
“I learned from her,” Matt says.
As a teenager, Matt would occasionally find solace in baking a batch of cookies. He enjoyed watching his mother bake, especially around the holidays. When the couple married, Betty taught Matt how to master the art of pie crusts, while Michelle whipped up the various pie fillings. They became so good at it, their large extended family always assigns pies to Matt and Michelle for family holiday meals.
Betty passed on to Matt the recipes she learned from her mother, mother-in-law, sisters, and sisters-in-law. The culinary legacy continued when Matt and Michelle became parents. With four children and five grandchildren, the Broxtermans’ kitchen is not just a place to whip up treats, but a space for passing on culinary traditions. Their son has taken an interest in pie-making, and Matt and Michelle eagerly share their baking wisdom. They also gifted the women in the family with Kitchen-Aide mixers as wedding gifts.
As a fun activity for the family to do together, Matt began to enter gingerbread house contests, winning first place a few times. Word really spread about their abilities in the kitchen when Matt and Michelle made cupcakes and wedding cakes for their children’s weddings. Family and friends began making special requests for their baked goods.
“We offered pies one year to our family and friends on Facebook for the holidays, and we haven’t stopped providing since,” Matt shares.
In fact, one of Matt’s baking bucket list items was to create a full-sized wedding cake. He had the opportunity at Michelle’s late parents’ 60th wedding anniversary, where he created an impressive 5-tier cake, complete with handmade flowers and topped with their refurbished, original wedding cake topper. They also recently created cupcakes and a wedding cake for their son’s wedding in Texas.
While they appear to have mastered cakes, their decorated sugar cookies have become their most-requested treat for various occasions throughout the year. Matt and Michelle continuously seek new designs and techniques to improve their cookies, keeping their creations fresh and exciting. They were kind enough to share the sugar cookie recipe – which was acquired many years ago from Michelle’s sister - with Topeka City Lifestyle magazine readers!
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts and beat. Add salt and flour, beat until dough is smooth. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour surface, roll out one half of dough to1/4 inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes and transfer to baking sheets.
Refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes to prevent losing shape during baking.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring them. Decorate with icing if desired.
Repeat for the other half of chilled dough.
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp almond extract
Combine sugar and 1/4 cup milk in bowl and mix. Add milk as needed one tablespoon at a time to create a smooth mixture. Add corn syrup and almond extract.
Working together as a baking team, Matt and Michelle operate like a well-oiled machine, ensuring efficiency and delivering the best possible products. While their baking journey has brought them joy, this successful hobby may one day lead to something more.
“We will continue to bake items for family and friends and may someday open a shop that we will name after our inspiration: Betty’s Bakery,” Matt says. “When we bake, we can feel her close to us and remember all the wonderful times we gathered, enjoying her baked-with-love items.”
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