About Me & A Tour of My Kitchen

Since I was just a young girl, I have always loved being in the kitchen.  It soon became clear that pastry was my passion.  I used to dream about returning to the country of my birth, the Netherlands, to become a pastry chef, but soon life got in the way.  After "retiring" from my career in the software development field to raise my two daughters, I continued to bake as a hobby, for everyone and every occasion.  My cakes and treats got progressively more difficult and detailed and my family became less and less interested in eating everything I baked. Luckily, friends were happy to receive any of my baking and I used every opportunity to give treats away. Eventually, I had to consider how I was going to continue to finance the cost of the ingredients, the supplies and the courses.  Mostly self-taught, I gained a lot of experience through the Bonnie Gordon School (now known as the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionery Arts) and I began Sweet Handmade (now Sweet Handmade Cookies) in 2008.  For a while I made only cakes and cupcakes, but after perfecting beautifully decorated sugar cookies, they became my biggest seller and my greatest joy.  Soon I decided to leave cakes behind and concentrate on these beautiful little works of art.

I specialize in beautiful custom designer cookies made specifically for your occasion, prepared exclusively in the health board approved Sweet Handmade Cookies kitchen.  These delicious cookies make beautiful and thoughtful gifts; the perfect bonbonniere to match your wedding theme and cake; a terrific end to a party, meal or part of a buffet table, a great addition to a swag bags, loot bags or take home gifts; and they can be customized to promote your event or business with your logo or business card.  Canada-wide shipping is available.  I use only the freshest and most delicious ingredients, such as fresh creamery butter, eggs and Madagascar vanilla beans. Each custom cookie is baked fresh by me in the Sweet Handmade Cookies kitchen, each cookie is iced by hand using royal icing, sugar dragees and sugar pearls, as well as lustre dusts and edible glitters for gorgeous finishes.

After clearing a lot of hurdles, in late 2010, construction began in my home to convert an office into a dedicated business kitchen.  Upon completion, my kitchen was properly zoned with the town I live in, insured and most importantly, health board approved!  My kitchen gets regularly inspected by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.  My Food Safety Training Certificate is also up-to-date.  Enjoy this tour of the Sweet Handmade Cookies kitchen.

This bright space is a joy to work in and when I arrive in my dedicated kitchen each morning, I am filled with happiness.  My trusty Kitchenaid mixer is the work-horse of this kitchen, mixing up batch after batch of dough and icing.  On the far side of the stove is my dry ingredient station and the drawers under this long stretch of counters store my food colouring, piping supplies, mixing bowls and utensils. Also pictured are the double sinks for washing dishes.

There is also a separate hand washing sink next to the double sinks.

Here is the island with my beloved Kopykake, it is also great storage area for dry ingredients (although I have a pantry outside of the kitchen as well).  The island is where I roll out and cut the dough and where I sit to put on the finishing touches - you can see my chair peeking out from behind the island.  On the back wall is my cork board where I keep thank you notes and mementoes.

Here is shot of the rolling rack, an absolutely indispensable piece of equipment.  Able to hold 40 half sheet pans, it frees up counter space and I don't know how I would have been able to complete many of my large cookie orders without it!  The cabinets to the left of the rolling rack is where I store my cookie cutter collection - ever growing, currently standing at close to 1000!

We installed cork floors (comfortable for long periods of standing) and used both new and reclaimed Ikea cupboards.  From the very beginning my kitchen was filled with special things that never found a home in my family kitchen.  From pictures on the wall to the cutlery I used in childhood.  I have been gifted some really special things from friends as well that have found a home here and that bring joy to my heart when I see or use them.  Not only is this kitchen so functional, it is a real special place for me and I think my love of being here and using the things I love come out in the work I do in this kitchen.  Thanks for taking this tour with me!