Article written by Terri Jones
A while back, my boyfriend told me that baking represented love to him. At the time, I thought it was just a thinly veiled attempt to get me to bake more to satisfy his raging sweet tooth. Apparently, however, he isn’t the only one who feels that way.
Teresa Rogers started baking about 15 years ago as a treat for her hard-working colleagues in MCV’s busy ER. “I love to make people happy,” she explains. Each night the registered nurse would bring in a pan of warm, freshly baked brownies, and in 20 minutes flat, the pan would be as clean as a whistle.
Her brownies were so popular around the hospital that people started asking her to bake them for fundraisers, and each time she did, those chocolaty treats would sell out in record time. Soon it was obvious to Rogers that this wasn’t simply a labor of love. There was a business here.
In 2008, the ER nurse began using her days off (she still works three 12-hour shifts each week) to launch Sweet Temptations by Teresa. Since then, her 10 varieties of brownies have replaced cakes at weddings, been to the Governor’s Mansion twice, been shipped around the world (including to soldiers in Afghanistan), and almost tasted by Gayle King and her best friend, Oprah (unfortunately, they didn’t make it past Gayle’s staff, who said they were delicious!).
What makes Rogers’ brownie a “square-ful of decadence”? First, how moist it is-there’s nothing dry or cakey about this brownie-and the depth of flavor you can only get from really good chocolate. (Yep, I taste tested!) “The Brownie Lady,” as many know her, buys local- with her main ingredient from For the Love of Chocolate and her spices from Penzeys. Rogers also does her research. A student of “brownie-ology,” she’s pioneered a sea salt brownie and an apple blondie for fall. And for those who want the decadence while remaining on their diets, she’s currently conjuring up a sugar-free brownie and a fat-free brownie (with black beans no less).
Although Rogers still cooks out of her home kitchen, Sweet Temptations by Teresa is by no means a small operation, and that’s why it is important that all of her appliances are working as they should so she doesn’t fall behind on any tasks that need completing. As such, making sure that she has the relevant home warranty coverage for the items in her kitchen (read more here) will help to make sure that she doesn’t have to waste all of her hardworking cash on getting them repaired as they will be protected. This is the best thing for her to do, especially with all the success that has been coming her way recently. Already this year, the baker has sold 13,000 brownies by phone, online and through an ever- growing list of retail outlets including Rostov’s, Sefton Coffee Co., Alamo BBQ, and Farmer’s Foods (from Highland Springs to North Carolina). Rogers also makes “insanely good” chocolate chip cookies and zucchini loafs, with a variety of other sweet creations coming soon.
Rogers also gives away plenty to benefit causes such as breast cancer and leukemia research, the Virginia Hospitality House, Family Lifeline (recently she donated 500 brownies for a Chocoholic event) and the YMCA, among others. “We give a lot but it comes back,” Rogers says. Recently she even helped a Girl Scout troop earn their cooking badge (and they weren’t even Brownies). “Everywhere I go, I carry brownies,” explains Rogers.
In everything she does, making people happy is Rogers’ number one goal. When a friend’s father was dying in 2011, the family couldn’t find anything he liked to eat that he could also taste. “One day his daughter carried him some of my brownies. He would hide them under the covers,” recalls Rogers. “His family mentioned love for my brownies at the funeral.” For her, that’s the icing on the brownie.