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Ready, Set…Bake! Kalamazoo Dessert Recipe Contest

James Beard once said that “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” For many of us, our childhood memories and identities are linked inextricably to the dishes that showed up over and over again on the table when we gathered together. Can you think of anything more nostalgic than the aroma of your Grandmother’s famous sugar cookies or your Uncle Frank’s delectable brownies coming out of the oven? Food has an amazing power to bring and bond us together.

The folks at MacKenzies’ Café and Bakery believe deeply in the connections between food, family and community. This family business had humble beginnings, starting when Grandma Nona’s baked goods were sold on the farm stand Grandpa “Cap” built outside their family farm. Eventually Nona’s sister, Auntie Blanche Rosenberger, joined the small family operation, bringing with her plenty of experience in catering and baking from her time in Chicago.

Auntie Blanche opened The Little Home Bakery on S. Burdick Street in 1922 and in 1938 Nona, Cap and Blanche opened a bakery in South Haven. Nona andCap’s son, Gerald, starting buying into the family business (and working there full-time) in 1954. When Gerald’s children, John and Mary, completed college, they decided to start a bakery of their own. With their father’s help, they opened the first MacKenzies’ Bakery location on W. Main Street in 1980. An additional location on Westnedge opened in 1988 and the rest (as they say) is history.

To say that John and Mary are grateful for their family’s legacy in the baking business would be an understatement. A number of the recipes they currently make were passed down from the family members that came before them. From Grandma’s recipe for potato fried cakes to their Dad’s Honey Grain Bread, John and Mary Mackenzie deeply value these contributions that make their bakery what it is today. “Food brings families together,” John explains. “Whether we’re baking cookies with our children, made from a recipe handed down for generations, or sharing a birthday cake—there’s something special that takes place when we sit down at the table together.” With this in mind, the MacKenzies wondered what would happen if they reached out to the community they love to find new and exciting dessert recipes.

“We’re looking for that gem hiding in the family recipe box in someone’s kitchen,” Mary says. “With this recipe contest, we will uncover wonderful desserts – and give recognition to some incredible bakers.”

MacKenzies’ Dessert Recipe Contest is on the hunt for the best dessert recipe the Kalamazoo area has to offer. Entries are limited to one per resident living in the Greater Kalamazoo area and the recipes must be unique and not affiliated with a national or professional brand. Whether you choose to enter your family’s secret recipe for the perfect apple pie or you hit the kitchen to create your own recipe for a sweet treat, your submission needs to be emailed to customerservice@mackenziesbakery.com by December 1, 2017. No drop-off submissions will be accepted. Questions about the contest can be directed to editor@wlskazoo.com.

Recipes will be prepared by Mackenzies’ Café and Bakery and then judged by a panel comprised of staff from Mackenzies’ and Women’s LifeStyle of Greater Kalamazoo. The top five finalists will each receive a $20 gift certificate for Mackenzies’ Café and Bakery and one of the finalists will receive a $20 gift certificate to the bakery every month for a year. Winning recipes will also have the chance to be sold in Mackenzies’ Café and Bakery, allowing the people of Kalamazoo to sample your delicious creations!

Erica Shier is a married mother of four who loves reading, scrapbooking & thrift stores. When she’s not driving her small pack of children around, she spends her time volunteering, writing & trying to keep on top of the laundry.

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