Name of business: Smudge Brownies
Type of business: Home bakery
Contact information: @smudgebrownies on Instagram; etsy.com/shop/smudgebrownies
Specialty: Unique half-pound brownies and blondies
History of business:
Pitman High School alumna Megan Starr has always enjoyed baking, but recently put her skills to the ultimate test by starting her own small business.
Smudge Brownies is Starr’s second foray into baking, her first being a small operation making cupcakes and cakes as a teen. The experience didn’t pan out quite as well as she had hoped, she said, as she wasn’t cut out for decorating the treats once they were cooked.
Starr has tapped into her creative side in the years since, and the current Modesto Junior College student began offering fun, colorful and definitely filling treats through Smudge Brownies in December.
“I saw some cool recipes and I wanted to try them this past winter break, so for my dad’s birthday I went out on a limb and baked a ton of brownies. I gave them out and they were a hit, so I just rolled with it,” Starr said. “I thought, ‘maybe I can channel some creativity here.’”
Starr’s brownies and blondies are creative to say the least, inspired by the dessert known as a “brookie.” Typically, brookies feature a regular fudge brownie filled with Oreos and topped with chocolate chip cookie dough. At Smudge Brownies, however, there are countless takes on the classic sweet that Starr has crafted herself.
Starr drops the flavors in batches, which are available for order and pick-up through her Instagram account and Etsy page. Each batch features four new flavors; the most-popular flavor from Starr’s last batch was the monster cookie — peanut butter oatmeal cookie dough with chocolate chips and M&Ms.
Smudge Brownies’ latest batch drops this week, and Starr anticipates the “cosmic fun” brownie, which features a blondie base layered with a frosted confetti pop tart, funfetti cookie dough and sprinkles, to be another hit among customers. Her treats are not only one-of-a-kind, but also weigh in at a half-pound per brownie.
“Right now it’s mostly just me and what I feel would taste good, however, in the last two weeks or so as I grow more of a customer base, they’ve been giving me input and feedback and my family is also throwing out flavor recommendations,” Starr said of her unique treats. “It’s not just about me and my needs, it’s about serving my guests and customers.”
Starr spends all day creating each new batch of flavors, she said, which are selling out more quickly as word of her business spreads. She recently provided brownies to a customer for a Super Bowl party, which she cut into bite-sized pieces for the football fans to enjoy.
As Smudge Brownies continues to grow in just two short months of operation, Starr is grateful for the community’s support. She hopes to eventually offer her products in stores, she said.
“Initially, starting a small business was scary and didn’t feel like something I could do. Once I started posting, just channeled my own creativity and put out there exactly who I am, the response has been so positive. People love sweets, so that's a thing that helps also just by itself,” Starr said.