One local mum has been inspired to start a business making creative cookies, as Diane Cooke finds out

WHEN Victoria Beckham, below, first championed the all-American cupcake, it created a trend that swept Britain. Now, its equally fancy sister, the cookie, is about to find its way into the hearts and mouths of Brits everywhere and one Ribble Valley mum is at the forefront of the revolution.

But Sarah Lawrenson-Sharples’ cookies are not simply yummy decorated biscuits – each one is a work of art. It’s almost a shame to eat them.

Sarah, 46, from Worston, the ‘queen’ of the Queen of Hearts Cookie Company bakes for every life event – from moving home, to getting married – and her creativity really knows no bounds. She has hand-crafted hundreds of designs, ranging from Christmas tree hangings and Advent calendars to Easter treats and vintage-themed delights.

She says: “It was fate that a few very special people and events were responsible for the inspiration and the conception of the company. My daughter Iris and her friend Alice were baking in our kitchen at home. They were creating such lovely things, I couldn't help but join in. From then on there was no stopping me.

“Two things close to my heart – my wonderful mum and my summer wedding – then happened to collide in my thoughts. It was nearly Mother’s Day and I needed an original gift quickly. Looking at the vintage china we used to decorate our wedding tables gave me the idea to try and make her some vintage china inspired cookies. And that was it! I started to dream about cookie designs and the possibilities seemed endless.”

And the business, which is just 18 months old, is taking off so rapidly that Sarah is looking to move out of the family kitchen into a bigger self-contained unit, something inspired by the fact the youngest of her three children has started school.

Her most prestigious job to-date has been a commission from a PR company representing the TV programme Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She was asked to provide cookies for 12 celebrity contestants, including gym supremo Duncan Bannantyne and Olympic Gold long jumper Greg Rutherford plus some Corrie cast members.

She also baked 300 peacocks for guests at an Asian wedding and a selection of sea-themed cookies – mermaids and lighthouses – for the wedding of a couple who were sailing enthusiasts.

Sarah, who previously worked for her husband’s accountancy practice, buys some of the cookie cutters from America, but she can also create her own designs and styles. Although she has experimented with flavours, the most popular is made with the all-important ingredient butter, vanilla paste, flour, sugar and eggs, and she sources local products.

When cooked she decorates the cookies with icing.

“Sometimes it’s exciting and sometimes it’s scary. I once made 2,000 biscuits in 10 days, but mostly I find the creativity of it relaxing,” says the cookie queen.