It took Molly Kohrman about a year to develop the perfect recipe for her “Razz” brownie — a chocolatey twist on a raspberry cheesecake.
She couldn’t give it up, working late into the night — after her full-time job in suicide prevention — trying to calculate the right balance of raspberry puree and white chocolate.
It was the same story with each of the dozen brownies on the menu at her Salt Lake City bakery, BROWNIES! BROWNIES! BROWNIES!
After training with a former White House pastry chef and attending the Park City Culinary Institute, all while working in the social services field, Kohrman decided that baking was not just a passing interest. She leased the building at 1751 S. 1100 East and opened a bakery.
But that didn’t mean her hunger to help others was satiated.
“It can be very draining emotionally to be working for causes that are so important to you,” Kohrman said, “so when I was thinking about opening my own business, I looked at it as a way to still help those organizations and work on awareness and fundraising for those causes that really mean a lot to me.”
That drive is what made Kohrman stand out in her community. This week — two years after opening her brownie shop — Kohrman was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Women’s Business Center of Utah, an award that recognized her community leadership.
During 2020, as protests for racial justice collided with the coronavirus pandemic, Kohrman decided that donating a percentage of her profits to causes wasn’t enough.
“One good thing that’s come out of COVID is that it kind of spurred me into action,” she said, “to really think about what can I physically do now to help people instead of continually making plans for the future.”
In June, BROWNIES! BROWNIES! BROWNIES! organized a food truck roundup to showcase Black-owned business owners. It included a free pop-up market for small businesses, with a portion of her brownie sales going to Curly Me!, a nonprofit that supports and empowers girls of color.
The following week, she hosted a similar fundraiser for suicide prevention with the Utah Pride Center.
Peter Lee, owner of Dawgz N Leenks, participated in the food truck rally. “I couldn’t believe the turnout,” he said. “Everybody got to interact. There was a lot of stuff going on, but people still were able to come out.”
The event included music by a local DJ and dozen of happy people enjoying food, Lee said. “She pushes for the community,” he said of Kohrman, “and she earned my respect.”
Giving back to communities isn’t a requirement for the Entrepreneur of the Year award, but this year was nothing like the past five editions of the acknowledgment, said Ann Marie Wallace, director of the Women’s Business Center of Utah. Kohrman’s volunteer work during the pandemic and social unrest impressed the board.
“Navigating this new economy is a challenge for everybody, whether you’re doing good or whether you need to pivot,” said Wallace.
Kohrman not only “provides yummy brownies — that’s really important and that people love them — but also she’s there to support other people. And I think that comes back around when you’re a business owner,” Wallace added.
Kohrman said the award is an encouragement to continue baking and helping important causes.
“I’m hoping that these things will increase understanding and compassion for each other. That’s really my biggest goal with these events,” Kohrman said. “I just wish there was more kindness in the world.”