The enticing aroma of sweets baking in her mother’s kitchen ignited a passion for creating homemade desserts in a young California girl. Her fondness for sweets inspired Mona Sanders to share her love of making cookies, cakes and other desserts from scratch with the people in her life. “Cooking and baking is something I enjoy doing,” says the founder of A Little Taste of Heaven.” When I see the smiles on people’s faces, and they light up because of something they experienced or might have experienced in the past, it always warms my heart.”
Sanders remembers standing on a step stool to pour batter or start the mixer in her mom’s kitchen. She favored the chocolate and nuts they used in desserts made for school bake sales and family gatherings. Her father’s special treats for kids in the family also had something to do with the sweet tooth the old-fashioned baker still has today. “He would always give them a chocolate kiss when they just started walking. We kept chocolate kisses in the house because he loved sweets too,” Sanders says.
Bigger and Better Than Expected
Before retiring from her job as a sales manager for the California State Lottery in 2017, Sanders baked primarily on the weekends. After she and her husband moved to Georgia, the baker took a long-held dream off the shelf and started A Little Taste of Heaven last October. The online dessert company is satisfying the sweet cravings of customers in the Douglasville and Metro-Atlanta areas as well as in California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia. “I didn’t think it would take off like it did, but it has, and I’ve been truly blessed to say that it has. I always saw it as a business. I just didn’t expect it to be on this level,” Sanders says.
The soon-to-be 60-year-old entrepreneur credits her four decades of baking experience and her daughter Deven Trowers’ expertise for the rapid growth of her mostly online dessert business. Trowers’ company, DT Communications, handles public relations, social media and marketing for A Little Taste of Heaven. “She really encouraged me more than I encouraged myself,” says Sanders. Her daughter said to her, “Mom, you just don’t realize it. Everybody loves your baking. You have a gift. You need to put it out there.”
Currently, the dessert company ships dozens of orders a month for cookies and pound cakes. Sanders distributes other sweets she makes by meeting up with customers and selling at a Farmers Table pop-up in Douglasville every three months. “I ship everything express and I don’t use preservatives.”
Passing On a Family Legacy
The commitment to making homemade desserts with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives comes from the baking lessons Sanders received from her now 90-year-old mother. Shirley Thompson was born in Louisiana and she stuck to her culinary roots when she moved out West. Some of the recipes Sanders still uses today were passed down through generations of family cooks. Thompson taught her daughter how to adjust a recipe to suit her taste. “My mother always told me if you want it a little softer, you put this in. If you want it a little crunchier, you put that in. If you want it to rise a little higher you put that in,” says Sanders. “I can look at a recipe and tell whether it’s going to be to my liking.”
Experimenting with recipes does not always produce a heavenly dessert, as Sanders explains with a laugh. “I’ve thrown out quite a bit of stuff sometimes. I’ll say, ‘Oh no. This is not right. It’s going in the trash.’”
The failures do not discourage Sanders from trying out different flavorings and other ingredients in her cookies, cakes, cupcakes, cobblers, bread puddings and cheesecakes. Her Amaretto pound cake is one of the best sellers along with a Bourbon chocolate pecan cookie. “I never stick just to what the book says. There’s always a little extra love that I say I put in there.”
A Little Taste of Heaven’s founder is also trying out some keto recipes to satisfy the sweet cravings of customers who want to limit their consumption of sugar and carbohydrates. She substitutes almond flour for wheat flour and monk fruit for sugar. “You shouldn’t have to get rid of everything in your life just because you change your eating habits,” Sanders says.
With four daughters and 13 grandchildren, the baker loves the idea of sharing her passion for making desserts. Her 14-year-old granddaughter Jazmine Trowers is already helping out in the kitchen. “She does a lot of scooping. She bakes the cookies and she makes sure the timer is set properly. We’re easing her into the business.”
Make the Most of God-Given Talent
Sanders usually spends five days a week baking for her customers. Yet she still takes time to prepare special treats for relatives and friends because that’s how she gives from the heart. She and her husband also carve out time to enjoy life as retirees while Sanders dreams of what A Little Taste of Heaven could become in the future. “I would love to see myself manufacturing on a larger scale and having some celebrities endorse my products,” says Sanders.
Seeing her gourmet baked goods on store shelves would also be a thrill. But she knows that would mean finding a way to transition to large scale production without losing the homemade quality of her desserts. Sanders is following the recipe for success that she offers other aspiring entrepreneurs. “Make sure it is something you really enjoy doing. Do your research. Make sure it is a passion of yours because that way, it doesn’t feel like work. You’re doing what you love.”
That formula could take A Little Taste of Heaven to the next level, along with help from the source of inspiration behind Sanders’ decision to go for it. “If God gives you a gift, don’t sit on it. Use your talent. That’s why he gave it to you. I’m a true believer in that, and He’s never failed me yet.”
A Little Taste of Heaven will ship cookies and pound cakes anywhere in the U.S. Call 470.240.1821 to place an order or visit the company’s website at www.altoh.net. You can also follow the company on Instagram or Facebook.