I was born in Amsterdam and my earliest memories revolve around family celebrations. They were events that featured delicious cakes and pastries, a house filled with laughter and the joy of being together. These times were filled with feelings of love and they created indelible memories that I've carried with me forever. In the Netherlands we call those times "gezelig" and it is something I've always tried to create wherever I go.
High-quality pastry shops were everywhere in Amsterdam and no gathering was complete without something from the local bakery. My mom's favourite bakery was "Bakker Bartles". When I was four, my class went on a school field trip to that bakery and we made raisin buns. I remember feeling very creative as I placed my raisins just so. Perhaps those were the earliest seeds of my baking dreams!
I had two cousins who studied to become pastry chefs and I dreamt of returning to the Netherlands to do the same, but in my late teens I was living in Canada, dating my future husband and well, life got in the way. I forged forward with a career in the software development field and had a family. To satisfy the creative (and sweet) side, I baked for every occasion.
When my kids were little, celebrating them on their birthdays was so important to me and I worked hard to make their days extra special. I made fancy cakes and we had parties with elaborate themes. Surrounded by people who loved my girls, we made days to remember!
I continued to bake as a hobby, for everyone and for every occasion. Eventually it turned into a business, turning out everything from pies to wedding cakes to elaborate candy and cookie gift boxes out of my home kitchen. My business continued to grow and by 2010 it was time to move to a dedicated business kitchen. I started selling at the Bradford Farmers' Market in 2011 and in 2012 I started specializing in high-quality custom decorated cookies.
It's a full circle moment for me when I work with a parent who wants to make their child feel extra special on their birthday with cookies to match their themed party. I remember the love I received when I was a child and the love I bestowed on my children when they were little. How lucky am I to continue on that journey with you?
I love every part of Sweet Handmade Cookies, from being in my special cookie kitchen, to the beautiful designs I get to create, to helping people create special memories with their families, friends and clients and I love the friendships I have made along the way. I hope I get to make something wonderful for you and yours soon!