Heather Charlton never dreamt that her home-baked cookies would go beyond a lighthearted post in her Facebook baking group, but now they’re being seen by a global audience.
Recently, the Langford woman’s Christmas cookies were featured in two Hallmark movies.
“It’s weird and humbling,” said Charlton. “I think it’s wonderful that I was chosen, but there are many bakers doing similar things that don’t get the recognition. I feel like I somehow just ended up at the top of an alphabetical list.”
It all began in the summer, when Charlton received a call from Greg Aarons, a prop master working on The Christmas House, which follows two brothers who head back home for the holidays.
After baking dozens of Christmas tree-shaped cookies for the film, she was asked to bake several more varieties for Christmas, She Wrote, which follows a journalist as she returns to her hometown just weeks before Christmas.
In all, she ended up baking around 11 dozen cookies for the two Hallmark productions.
Charlton pointed that although she has more than 300 cookie cutters in her arsenal, she didn’t have a single one two years ago. In fact, she never went to pastry school or had any formal training.
Charlton credits her skills to consistent practice and failed attempts. Her earliest memories of baking trace back to her mother’s kitchen. The duo would make chocolate chip cookies on Friday evenings.
Now, she’s done all the holidays you could think of. If there’s an event to celebrate, she most likely has the cookie cutter – from baby showers, to vasectomies. When her husband’s coworker shared the news of getting the surgery, his wife requested a handful of celebratory cookies.
Charlton ended up making lemon-shaped cookies that said, “All juice, no seeds” – and the second batch said, “Retired swimming team,” with the date of the surgery on the cookie.
“I’ve realized that although it might just be a simple cookie to me, it could mean the world to someone else,” said Charlton. “One woman started crying when I brought her the cookies she ordered for her baby shower.”
The process of making a single cookie isn’t as simple as it looks.
It’s usually a three-day process for Charlton, as she only bakes when her kids are sleeping, sometime after 8 p.m. The first night, she’ll bake the cookies, then she’ll apply a base coat of frosting the day after. On the final day, she’ll add piping and detailed decorations.
Looking ahead, the Langford baker said she’d love to be a part of future Hallmark projects, as she points out that one of the films in which her cookies were used, prominently featured a same-sex couple, a first for the television cable channel.
At present, she’ll begin prep for several custom batches in early January, as the waiting list for cookies continue to rise.
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