The inspiration for this challenge was none other than a stroll down to my local beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, where the milkweed is in abundance this time of year and monarch butterflies glide through the warm summer breeze. And so, as with the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful monarch butterfly, this latest Practice Bakes Perfect challenge will ask you to take a basic butterfly shape and transform it into something completely different and new.
For this challenge, one lucky entrant will be chosen in an entirely random drawing to win a super fabulous MYSTERY PRIZE, donated by none other than Cookie Connection's owner and founder, @Julia M. Usher! (Is it a unicorn? A genie in a lamp? A lifetime supply of Pop Tarts? . . . We're not telling, so enter the challenge to find out!) And, to put icing on the cake (or, em . . . cookie), this prize comes with free worldwide shipping, so every entrant is eligible to win, no matter where in the world s/he lives! How awesome is that?!
With visions of that fabulous mystery prize dancing in your heads, let's talk about what I would like you to do in this challenge. Essentially, I would like you to take a very basic butterfly shape (a template will be provided later in these challenge instructions) and transform it into three completely different designs. Allow me to illustrate. Thanks to a tutorial by BZ Bees Sweet Treats, I repurposed my butterfly cutter to create the adorable crabs in this set.
Specifically, in this challenge, I will be asking you to create three (3) DIFFERENT designs using the same butterfly shape that I used to make the crabs shown above. However, you will NOT be allowed to make a crab, since that would be a gimme!
For example, a few years ago, for fun, I used my giant copper gift cutter to make a whole array of different cookie designs. Here it is as an Easter bunny:
And here is the same cutter as a leprechaun:
And here it is again as a birthday cake on a stand:
And so, for this challenge, I would like you to take the butterfly shape below (a PDF file is provided in the "Attachments" section at the bottom of this post), to create THREE (3) entirely different cookie designs, just as I did with my present cutter.
To make this shape, you can either print the PDF file provided below and hand-cut your cookies, or have an actual cutter made using this template. There is an EXCELLENT discussion of how to hand-cut cookies using a paper template in Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #2 by then-host @RebeccArchitect.
In this challenge, I want you to think outside the cookie box and learn to repurpose all of those cutters you have been collecting. I really became adept at repurposing cutters when I moved to England and could only bring a fraction of my giant collection of cutters with me. In fact, I made all of the present-cutter cookies that I used as examples in this post during the years I lived in England. Perhaps, as a result of participating in this challenge, next time you need to make a specific cookie, you will consider repurposing an old cutter rather than buying a new one. (My apologies to those of you who sell cookie cutters!)
1. Create THREE (3) DIFFERENT cookies using the butterfly shape shown above. Remember, the shape is available for download and printing in the PDF file in the "Attachments" at the bottom of this blog post.
2. Your three cookie designs must be COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from each other. For instance, you cannot make three different crabs, but you could make three different types of sea creatures, like an octopus, a fish, and a shell.
3. For your challenge entry, please create a triptych-style COLLAGE of your three cookies, something like this:
There are many easy-to-use and free apps that help you do this, such as PicMonkey, LiveCollage, and Layout, to name just a few that I know, but feel free to use any app or program you would like. And feel free to post individual pictures of your cookies in the comments under your entry if you would like us to see more detail.
4. Your entry may NOT include a crab, since I have already used that subject as an example.
5. Your design must be completely original, and not a copy of any other artist's design.
6. You may make your three cookies any size (or combination of sizes) you would like, but they have to be the exact butterfly shape provided in this challenge.
7. As always, we ask that you make a brand new set of cookies for this challenge.
8. Think outside the box, take some healthy risks, and HAVE SOME FUN.
- Please post an image of your cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than September 9, 2017 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #24" in your photo caption 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 cookies as you normally would.
- Please also assign other relevant clip sets and tags to your images, as you normally would. (Meaning don't just use the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set and leave it at that, or your photos 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 September 9, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight the following weekend (September 16). 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 or send me a Cookie Connection private message.
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.