“IT’S sharing, it’s how I show people I care about them.”

Describing her favourite pastime - which brought her to the nation’s attention as a former contestant of the Great British Bake Off - Sandy Docherty is now passing on the pleasure of baking to others after launching her first cookbook.

‘Sandy D Bakes incorporating the title ‘Baking Down Barriers’ - the brand Sandy is busy developing since setting it up in 2015 to share her love of baking and the benefits it brings - is an extension of the initiatives Sandy is already involved with to pass on this precious tradition.

“I’ve been collecting recipes as you do and as you develop them you keep them and tweak them,” explains Sandy.

“They are age-old recipes from my family - there are about 30 - and it is a simple, straight forward little book.”

Spiral bound for ease and convenience “you can make a shepherd’s pie without getting double cream on top when you turn the page!” quips Sandy demonstrating the familiar humour Bake Off fans remember during her four week stint on the show, the book also features areas for notes and jottings encouraging people to put their own twists on meal-time favourites.

“They are everyday recipes you can do with what is in your store cupboard,” explains Sandy.

Priced at £8, the book features recipes from biscuits, Sandy’s favourite, to pies and cakes including a favourite of her late father, Gordon Driver, to whom the book is dedicated.

Sandy describes Japonaise as a meringue-style cake with a coffee cream filling.

“That was Dad’s favourite, it’s a real special one,” she says.

Garsdale Pie pays homage to the cheeses from Wensleydale Creameries, there are quick and easy snacks and savouries such as bolognese and bakes - and there are ginger biscuits too based on ingredients you can blitz up in minutes in a food processor.

According to Sandy, their creation is quicker than you could walk down to the local shop to purchase a packet!

“I like my biscuits because I feel you get a lot for you money,” - wise words from a typical Yorkshire woman!” says Sandy.

“My favourite is biscotti because they keep for a long time.”

The book took around six months to complete and has certainly been a labour of love for Sandy who has sufficient recipes to bring out a second book.

Baking has been a life-long love for Sandy and it is a skill she has been perfecting since baking with her Mum, Grandmas and Auntie.

In 2015 she had the opportunity to showcase those skills in front of millions of viewers when she was successfully selected for the Great British Bake Off.

Viewers soon warmed to Sandy’s down-earth style. She’d hoped to go further but bread week proved to be her nemesis.

Sandy had the opportunity to redeem her culinary talents clinching a commendable second place in the technical challenge when she took part in a special New Year’s Day Bake Off on Channel Four.

“I had to do a baked Alaska Tart and I got the Hollywood handshake,” says Sandy, referring to her reunion with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood.

“I got a little bit weepy,” she admits.

“I know what it feels like to get that handshake and I felt like I had achieved a bit more. It boosted my confidence.”

Sandy says she enjoyed meeting up with Paul again and also meeting the new Bake Off team, Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding.

“They were brilliant. I felt like I had come home. It was like I was walking into somewhere so familiar. It really was like meeting old friends and it was nice to go back,” she says.

Inevitably, since participating in the show Sandy, from Yeadon, has been invited to judge Bake-Off style competitions. Being a Bronte fan, she was particularly proud to be approached to produce the commemorative fruit cake for a garden party held as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Charlotte Bronte’s birth.

Sandy also regularly showcases her culinary skills at high profile cooking demonstrations - she was returning to the Great British Food Festival at Harewood House near Leeds when we spoke, and she is also attending an event with fellow Bake Off contestant, Howard Middleton, at Ingleton in June.

Although Sandy hasn’t yet given up the day job - she has a rewarding role as a child protection officer at Titus Salt school, Baildon - she is busy developing ‘Baking Down Barriers’ and sharing her recipes so people can build up their own library of her books.

“I am really, really proud of it,” says Sandy, who also credits her pals - those involved who helped her to bring it to fruition.

“It’s been a collaboration with my mates and I am really proud of it.”

For more information about Baking Down Barriers, or to purchase a copy of the book, visit bakingdownbarriers.co.uk or search ‘baking down barriers’ on Facebook.

By Sally Clifford