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When close-knit sisters Lisa Sorensen and Suzy Sultemeier bake for their families and friends, they don’t follow recipes. Messing with bags of flour, boxes of baking soda, or measuring spoons is out of the question. Even as devoted from-scratch bakers, they prefer directions as simple as “dump” and “stir.”

 

By taking care of baking’s more precise details in advance, these enterprising siblings enjoy the act of making cookies and brownies as more of a social occa­sion, chatting away while sweet aromas waft. That’s the easygoing philosophy behind Dacula-based Sisters Gourmet, their everything-in-one-jar business.

 

The atmosphere in Lisa’s home kitchen—the company’s de facto headquarters—is tranquil, breezy, and spiced with pleasant conversation. There’s no worrying or scrambling for ingredients, even with as many as seven children present. Lisa has three kids and Suzy four, each an accomplished cookie taster.

 

As the oven heats, Lisa dumps a mason jar of Sisters Gourmet Million Dollar Cookie Mix, while her business partners, husband Rob and sister Suzy, watch. Neatly arranged layers of chocolate chips, oats, flour, sugar, and cocoa powder cascade into a bowl. “It’s so easy,” Lisa says. “You just add eggs and butter.” After a few turns in a stand mixer the gooey dough is ready to spoon onto baking sheets.

 

“I just love homemade baked goods,” Suzy says, pitching in to help. “Lisa and I learned to bake when we were little by hanging out with our mother, who would always say, ‘Good things come to those who bake.’ We still like hanging out together in the kitchen, now with our husbands and kids and Mom too

 

Sisters Gourmet mixes, found online and at specialty stores, typically call for only a couple of added items. That and their pleasing looks make them popular gifts. The siblings got the idea while running a booth at Coomers Craft Mall in Stone Mountain. “It was our little crafts shop that started it all,” says Suzy, who shipped her hand-woven baskets to Lisa to stock the booth even after relocating to Houston for her husband’s job (she returns to Dacula often to stay involved in the cookie business). “While we were doing that, we saw a magazine article showing the dry ingredients for soups measured out ahead of time and layered in jars. We thought we’d try it with cookie mixes, because cookies are our favorite food.” “Soon we were getting calls from Coomers every two or three days saying that they had sold out of our cookie-mix jars again,” Lisa says. To keep up with demand, the sisters devised techniques for filling the jars in ever larger numbers while also diversifying the variety of mixes offered. They eventually closed their crafts booth to concentrate entirely on Sisters Gourmet.

 

New product development still takes place in Lisa’s kitchen, where the whole family participates in taste testing. Actual production and packing has moved to a nearby industrial park. On a good day employees fill as many as 10,000 jars, going through tons of nuts, rolled oats, chocolate, and other ingredients. For Lisa, family life remains a top concern. “I’m trying to do this and be a stay-at-home mom,” she says, “but when sweets are involved, it can be difficult to separate job and family. As ‘the cookie lady,’ I get volunteered a lot to bring goodies to the kids’ functions. That’s okay, though, because I really like doing this.”