Welcome to Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #22 where, this month, we switch gears from edible lace to edible paper! I only began experimenting with wafer paper this past year, so I still have a lot to learn myself. I do hope you will join me in this challenge and see what we can learn together from all of the the wafer paper "experts" as well as from each other!
I will not spend too much time on an introduction for this challenge because I am dying - yes, DYING - to talk about the INSANE prize that we are offering. Do I have your attention? Well, good, because one VERY LUCKY winner, who will be chosen at random from among all of the entrants to Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #22, will receive the most incredible wafer paper ever created: four (4) sheets that have been handpainted, signed, and most generously donated by the incomparable @Evelindecora! These completely original works of art were created specially as a prize for this challenge. On top of it all, we will throw in worldwide shipping. (Retail value of this prize: priceless.) You will not believe the incredible beauty of these four sheets of wafer paper, so suffice it to say, you could use them for decorating cookies, but you could also choose to frame them and hang them in your living room, or perhaps donate them to the Louvre. I am NOT kidding.
With a prize like this one, who wouldn't want to enter Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #22?! So, without further ado, let's talk about this challenge.
What is wafer paper? Quite simply, wafer paper is an edible paper-type substance, most commonly made of rice or potato starch that has been mixed with water and oil and then dehydrated into thin sheets. It can be used in practically every way that regular paper made from tree pulp can be used, with a few minor exceptions. It can be cut, torn, quilled, and punched, as well as stamped, painted, airbrushed, stenciled, computer-printed, and drawn on with various forms of food coloring. Plus, it has the added benefit of becoming more flexible when dampened (ever so slightly) with water, allowing it to be morphed into all sorts of fun things, like flowers, spirals, bows, and more! Wafer paper can be found from a wide variety of retailers who offer everything from large stacks of plain 8 1/2 x 11-inch (or A4) paper sold in bundles to elaborately decorated preprinted sheets, smaller preprinted images, wafer paper "confetti," and 3-D wafer paper flowers. Some wafer paper is now even sweetened and flavored, making it more palatable.
Below are several examples, from your fellow Cookie Connection members, of wafer paper used in cookie decorating.
Roosters by Yankee Girl Yummies
Succulents Framed by The Cookie Architect
Peacocks and Wreath by Nature.kumi
A Wafer Paper Lantern by Manu
Christmas Box Card by Nanatartas Fondant Granada
Love by The Painted Box
Vintage Cookie Set by Emma's Sweets
Royal Icing and Wafer Paper Cookies by Evelindecora
The cookies exhibited above are just a very small sample of the amazing gallery of wafer paper cookie art that can be found right here on Cookie Connection in the Edible Papers on Cookies clip set, which should definitely be reviewed for inspiration for this challenge. I also encourage you to take a look at the entries to Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #14: Mixed Media, many of which creatively utilized wafer paper as a mixed media element. The entries to Challenge #14 can be found by scrolling backwards through the Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge Entries clip set.
As you can see, wafer paper is an extremely versatile medium! To give you even more ideas and instruction about how to use wafer paper, I have gathered some links, below, that I have found helpful. These links are by no means an exhaustive collection of all the wafer paper information that's out there, so I encourage you to do a little research on your own too. If you discover a particularly helpful tutorial or other information that you think might be instructive for the rest of us, I would love to have you post about it in the comments below!
- How to Make Wafer Paper Flowers on Cookies video by Emma's Sweets
- Wafer paper flower tutorial by Yankee Girl Yummies
- Cookie Connection discussion about rubber-stamping of wafer paper, including other wafer paper handling tips
- Cookie Connection live chat transcript featuring Angela Niño of The Painted Box discussing all things wafer paper, including her signature watercolor wafer papers and wafer paper roses
- Colouring Tip for Wafer Paper tutorial by The Violet Cake Shop
- Cookie Connection interview with wafer paper expert Lucia Simeone
Now that you're familiar with the wonders of wafer paper, let's talk about the rules for this challenge. Please read and follow them carefully.
1. Create a set of at least five (5) cookies with at least one (1) wafer paper element on every cookie. Not every wafer paper element has to be different (they could all be the same), but if you want the extra challenge of making different elements on each of the five cookies, go for it!
2. As always, your challenge entry must not contain any copyrighted images or characters (printed, painted, drawn, etc.), without the express consent and crediting of the copyright owner. (That is, you must follow Rule #8 of the Cookie Connection posting guidelines.)
3. You may create a set of more than five cookies, but at least five of your cookies must comply with Rule #1.
4. Please state where and how you used wafer paper in your entry. This information helps the judges to understand and appreciate your entry and helps to eliminate any guesswork on our part. Place this information in the comments area under your photo.
5. Because I want you to stretch yourself and see what you can really do with wafer paper (the sky is the limit!), you may NOT create a cookie that is essentially an image printed, drawn, or painted on wafer paper (regardless of whether that image is copyrighted material or even your own original design) and affixed to a cookie with a decorative border. Any such cookies will NOT be included in your required five cookies for this challenge. For example, while totally awesome in their own right, the following types of cookies will NOT be allowed:
Menus Impresos by Mariana Vega Sugar Sisters
Peter Rabbit in Wafer Paper Cookies by Mãe com Açúcar
GOP Gag Cookies by Sweet Treats by Melissa
6. As always, we ask that you make a brand new set of cookies for this challenge.
7. Think outside the box, take some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.
- Please post an image of your cookies to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than May 14, 2017 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges will be ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #22" in your photo caption field AND in a tag, so that we can tell the challenges apart from month to month. Please use the main title field to uniquely name your cookie as you normally would.
- Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your image, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photo won't easily be found with keyword searches.)
- You can enter more than once, but please post only one clip of each distinct entry/cookie set. Multiple clips of the same entry/cookie set are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.
After the challenge has closed on May 14, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (May 20). The next challenge will be announced after that Spotlight.
And one last thing . . . This is NOT meant to be a competition. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Period. These challenges are intended to inspire the artist in you and push you to be the best cookie artist YOU can be at this snapshot in time. Remember, the whole point of this exercise is to get you out of your comfort zone - to "take healthy risks," as my wise-beyond-his-years son always reminds me. Plus, prizes are given entirely at random, so healthy risk-taking has its own rewards!
I would love to chat with you as you journey through this process, so if you have any questions about the challenge, are having trouble getting started, need help bringing an idea to life, or want technical advice, please leave a comment below.
Christine Donnelly began her professional baking career at 16, when she was hired on the spot at her local bakery to work the counter and decorate cakes. After detours to college and law school, she worked as a trial lawyer in Chicago for many years, ultimately leaving that career to become a stay-at-home mother to her two children. In her “retirement,” she continued to bake at home, at last finding her preferred artistic medium in decorated cookies. In February 2013, Bakerloo Station was born with a presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Christine makes cookies to balance her left brain, to inspire and share creative ideas, and to feed those needs that only art can satisfy.
Photo credit: Christine Donnelly
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Donnelly that poses inspiration or challenges to get you to stretch as a cookie artist - for practice, for prizes, and for fun! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Christine's past Cookie Connection posts here.