2019 festive cookie swap launch

Christmas themed cookies

I’ve seen enough Hallmark Christmas films (thanks to channel 5 in 2017) to know that cookie swaps are the sweetest way to celebrate the festive spirit. I also know from Pinterest that cookie swap parties are forever popular in America and look like the most calorific fun! So, what with the world going to hell in a handcart at the moment, I’ve decided that I want in. I want to spread a little light and happiness through baked goods. I’m asking you today to join me and #bakelove for the festive season.

The idea is simple: sign up now, bake early December and be assigned a stranger to give your baked goods to. Receive baked goods. Emit a warm glow as you a) eat something delicious and b) realise that there are some jolly good people in the world. Pretty simple eh?

Sign up
Plate of cookies

Ok so of course this cookie swap will have to happen by post – I’ve not got it in me to organise a giant baking party (more’s the pity). But that would still be fun, right? Over in America, Food52 have been organising something like this for a few years so it can be done. I am suggesting that we keep this open to people in the British Isles in order to keep postage logistics as simple as possible. Start small and let’s see how it goes.

Sign up

I don’t know why, but I’m really excited by the idea of meeting new people through their food. Am I being sentimental and crazy? Or greedy and nosey?!

Key dates

  • 15 September: sign up is open
  • 21 November: sign up closes. Don’t be late to the party!
  • 22-24 November: all bakers will receive details of who they will be sending bakes to
  • 2-15 December: send your bakes out at any time during this period
  • Dig in and enjoy!
  • What do I need to know?

    • Cookies of course, but include what you like. Make a good Christmas cake? Bake a miniature! Mincemeat? Jar it up!
    • It’s not a beauty contest. Don’t worry about making pretty bakes if decoration isn’t your thing. We’re looking for tasty treats
    • Let’s celebrate love and goodness in all forms – keep it non-religious please
    • There is no set amount to send, but think about what you would like to receive
    Sign up

    Ready to get involved? Sign up and start planning your bakes. Let’s #BakeLove this winter 💛💛💛

    PInterest image for Great British cookie swap 2019

    Recipe: peach semifreddo

    A semifreddo on a plate with a slice removed

    An easy, creamy peach of a dessert!


    A few years ago, I thought that ice cream was going to be the new rock and roll – or at least the new cupcake. There is no denying that ice cream quality and flavours have gone through the roof in the past few years, but it can let you down when it comes to presentation: too hard to scoop, splodged on the plate. That is where semifreddo comes in. Ice cream’s foxy, insta-ready cousin is rich and creamy, looks great on the plate and, vitally, can be made well in advance without the need of an ice cream maker.

    That last point is key, because I looked at my ice cream bowl last week (it attaches to my beloved Kitchen Aid) and it has blue goo coming out of it, a bit like the robots in that series, Humans. I have a strong suspicion it is no longer safe to use…

    A peach semifreddo with peaches around it on a pretty serving plate
    Continue Reading

    Recipe: caramel chocolate brownies

    A plate full of caramel brownies and serving forks

    Caramel chocolate brownies are a proper classic, and I must have made them about six times already this year!

    Half the size, all the flavour!

    I have a confession. When I make these brownies, I actually make them HALF the size of a normal one – because otherwise I find them a little too much *shock face*. I know I’m not losing my sweet tooth, so maybe it is something to do with hitting middle age! With caramel sauce blobbed through the centre and Rolos on top, they give an extra layer of flavour and texture. They are so satisfying that a little does go a long way! Don’t worry, it is still a normal batch size, you just cut them as big or as small as you fancy.

    Gooey caramel chocolate brownie on a plate
    Continue Reading

    Recipe: banana bread with cardamon and chocolate

    Sliced banana bread

    You may have noticed on my social media that we saw the new year in over in Kerala in India. There is going to be a some more ‘what I did on my holiday’ on here over the coming months, but I am here today to talk about banana bread!

    It was a busy holiday – seven stops in 15 days. But absolutely everywhere we went, there was always a slice of banana bread to be had! Either on the breakfast buffet, with tea in the afternoon, or both! So to come home and be bereft of banana bread was a bit of a downer.

    I’ve been making banana bread for years. The original recipe was given to me by my friend Nic and I twiddle with it! This time, I decided to add a touch of chocolate and cardamom – both of which were grown on an organic spice farm we visited in Thekkady. But I definitely don’t want it to be a chocolate cake so it is just a hint of cocoa.

    Continue Reading

    Recipe: maple bacon brownies

    AKA the breakfast brownie!

    3 chocolate bacon brownies on a plate with forks and napkin

    This one is going to have you firmly divided – you will love it or hate it! Andrew rather un-poetically described these maple bacon brownies as meat and chocolate! I, however, think they are something of a sweet and salty sensation. And I have tried them out on a few people and the response has been brilliant!

    Bacon is no stranger to having a sweet bedmate – bacon, maple and pancakes are a brunch institute. So adding dark chocolate to the mix and baking into brownies isn’t too much of a leap…is it?

    Continue Reading

    Simple orange and rhubarb cake

    rhubarb loaf cake

    It doesn’t matter how neglected it is (and it is very neglected), my rhubarb crown never fails to deliver.  I have been handing it out to family and friends, and making cake – a rhubarb cake is a wonderful, simple thing.

    Rhubarb loaf cake in the sunshine

    My rhubarb is super tart which I love, but I appreciate that isn’t to everyone’s taste. So I looked around my kitchen for something to soothe and compliment it. A few wrinkly clementines caught my eye. 

    Continue Reading