Happy New Year to all my friends and followers on here. I appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to read my posts and comment on them. Although my little blog is only a tiny corner of what’s on the internet, it really does boost and cheer me up when I see that it has had likes and interactions.
2022 was a difficult year for lots of us. Although it was a special year for me being that I celebrated my 50th birthday, there were other times of the year where I felt really flat and fed up. I couldn’t work out if it was due to peri-menopausal symptoms or the way the world is at the moment. I had to give up the online ordering part of SmartCookieSam which I had been so happy doing during lockdown. But spiralling costs of running an ecommerce website, higher shipping costs and costs of raw ingredients and packaging left me with no choice but to give up. So now I concentrate on baking for locals as I did when I first started back in 2008 as well as adding in handmade crochet blankets to the SmartCookieSam “side hustle”.
Back at Christmas 2021, my lovely friend Amy (who is a fabulous baker herself) gave me a #100bakeschallengeposter. I have mentioned this poster several times in posts over the last few months but it really has been an excellent way of giving me ideas of what to bake. I was intending to make all 100 recipes throughout 2022 but obviously sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes holidays, feeling like you’ve lost your baking mojo or even having your kitchen being redone stop you from achieving things. I still feel really happy that I completed 76 out of the bakes though.
I’ve gone through all my bakes from 2022 and found the best one for each month. It’s such a great feeling when you look back over a year and realise exactly how much you have done in that time.
It’s Mr S’ birthday in January and as his previous (milestone birthday) had been during lockdown, I chose to make him the cake he didn’t have. He had a chocolate birthday cake decorated with his favourite chocolates. It was also a great way of using up the chocolates left over from Christmas.
My favourite bake of February just has to be these Mint Empire Biscuits. I absolutely ADORE Empire Biscuits and need no excuse to bake them. So I made mint versions topped with mini Mint Lindt D’or Balls.
March was a busy month for SmartCookieSam, what with Mother’s Day and I also had a few birthday cakes to make. My favourite cake was a sea themed one which had handmade shortbread dolphins leaping out of it. It was a challenge to get the waves just right on the cake but I enjoyed making this so much.
All the Easter bakes kept me really busy but just before we broke up for the end of term, I made some Salted Caramel Pretzel cupcakes for a work colleague who was leaving.
May was extremely quiet on the baking front as I was away for two weeks on holiday for my 50th birthday. I also had no time to bake leading up to and on the week following our return from New York. But in the very last week of the month I baked some of these New York themed “Big Apple” toffee apple flavoured cupcakes. The NYC themed cupcake picks were bought on Ebay.
Early June was all about the Platinum Jubilee and I made several Jubilee themed bakes made up into special Afternoon Tea packs which I donated to our Village Hall Coffee Morning. For our own Jubilee Picnic, I made a Victoria Sponge but added blueberries and raspberries to the top of the cake to look like the Union Jack flag.
In July I enjoyed making lots of little bakes but my favourite was to make some sunflower cookies for my friend Barbara’s friend who was celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary that month. Sunflowers always cheer me up so I really enjoy making those cookies.
In August I don’t enjoy baking as much as it’s always far too hot but we ended up with some cooler days when my Mum was staying with us for a few days. On the day of her arrival, I made some of Mary Berry’s Cheese Scone wedge which is a huge favourite with a bowl of comforting soup on a cold day. And this was August!
September was so busy for me this year that I couldn’t commit to any orders for SmartCookieSam in the baking front but instead the crochet took over. I did manage to make a couple of things to scratch off the 100bakeschallenge poster, though. This included this Red Velvet Bundt Cake.
It’s a busy month for birthdays in October as both my daughter and my Mum have their birthdays then. My daughter loves a birthday cheesecake so this year she had a Kinder Bueno cheesecake with added Kinder Hippos.
November was quiet for me in the kitchen as we had our kitchen repainted and a new floor laid. My favourite bake of the month was a Dundee Cake which I’m ashamed to say Mr S and I troughed between us over a few days.
It was back to business with all my Christmas baking once December was underway. Lots of mince pies, cupcakes and other treat left the kitchen this month. But the highlight has to be these black Labrador cookies which I baked as a thankyou gift for our local vets. Our black lab Charlie had a tumour removed in the last week of term and I was beside myself as our dog is definitely our third child. The vets looked after him so well and are such a fabulous surgery that we had to say thanks. So we made Charlie cookies and made them look festive.
SmartCookieSam isn’t just about the baking now but also about the crochet blankets. I’ve been so busy making a mixture of bespoke blankets and ones created from Attic24 wool packs and patterns. I’ve shared several of these blankets as blog posts with others in the pipeline. Watch this space!
So what’s in store for SmartCookieSam in 2023? I intend to blog more regularly as there are times when I’ve let it slip. If there are any recipes you’d like me to try out, do let me know in the comments below. Sometimes I use/ create my own recipes and other times I use favourite ones which I will add the links to if I can. I will also try out new cookbooks where I can.
Hoping 2023 is much kinder to you all and once again thankyou for all your support on here.
Happy New Year!
Love Sam xx