In this challenge, we asked you guys to cookie a theme onto a terribly random set of cookie shapes: a gnome, a pear, a skull, a rectangle, and a fleur de lis. I thought for sure you'd either be bored or stumped. Boy, was I wrong. Each and every one of you who participated was a rock star!!! Wow!! Seriously, you should feel free to skip the highlight reel and just go look at the whole shebang!
Wait . . . still here? Oh, that's right, we promised there would be prizes and spotlights . . . And so the winner of our drawing is:
Welcome to the Zoo by Kelcy Helga Mae Workman
But let's also take a moment to admire how well she used her shapes in these designs. That perspective on the hippo fits perfectly in the skull cutter, and that silly giraffe is only slightly more adorable than the penguin! Love it!
And now to the spotlight, just some of the cookies that appealed to our panel. We could have easily done this three times over and still had cookies that deserved a special mention, but here goes!
The Painted Elephants of India by Litterelly Delicious Cakery
What a delight! Look at these great colors! We especially loved the details for the elephant on the pear - the water coming out of the trunk. The whole thing fits the shape perfectly. And that eye is gazing right at us. The rectangle cookie with the great cracked background and paisley piece was also much admired. I personally am going to give a shout-out to the elephant face on the gnome - love that you found a perspective to fit the face on there, and also love the piped details. So lovely!
Under the Sea by Killer Zebras
Under the sea was a great recurring theme in this challenge, and this one got rave reviews - first of all for the colors! They were so bright and cheery, and reminded one panelist of the cartoons she used to watch as a kid. They evoke fun! The submarine in the pear was a popular design - though with so many in this set, it was hard to choose! And I'll do the obligatory shout-out for the gnome - the diving mermaid is perfection, and those bubbles to fill the space are graphic genius!
Vegetables! by BAKR GAL
What! No gnome? Well, nevertheless, we were wowed by these vegetables from BAKR GAL. The choice of subject matter is great - showing the beauty in the mundane. The combination of royal icing and painting added great depth and realism. Wonderfully done!! For extra credit, please post a gnome, maybe corn?
Hidden in the Garden by Fernwood Cookie
I was not alone in admiring this creative and beautiful set from Fernwood Cookie. Let's start with the fleur de lis nose on that crazy carved stone face cookie. Wow! There must be five different techniques on the cookie, but it looks cohesive and almost understated - very natural. The perspective on the snail to fit it on the gnome is masterful, and we loved the little hidden details on each cookie. The colors, the shading. The little hedgehog of adorableness . . . Really love this set!
Travel to Key West by If You Give A Nerd a Cookie
Gnome on the gnome cookie. Genius! Especially when it works with the whole theme. And in addition to that - an alligator on a gnome shape, and an accurate rendition of a road sign or two. And then, kabam! A great big fancy Key West postcard cookie. We loved that the subject was very specific, yet still worked well with all the shapes - and each cookie is well done in its own right.
Koi Pond by Sugar Pearls Cakes & Bakes
Ahhhhh! So dreamy. The entire panel would like to sit by this koi pond for hours, sipping tea and chatting cookies. This set has such great soft colors and varied textures. The painted piping really makes the elements pop. The lily pad in the leaf of the pear was a great touch. And the little fondant lotus flower on the gnome is the perfect detail to fill out that cookie!
New York City Icons by Wendy M
"Crazy original." One panelist in particular was impressed by the leap from subject matter to cookie on this set. The two-gnome bridge is pretty darn awesome, and that rectangle now seems like it was made for a metro card - I would not have guessed that when I made the cutter! The little hydrant is great, and the whole set is a wonderful use of design, and nicely executed.
Sailboat Scene by El rincÓn de glass
This set was so well executed and composed - we loved how the rectangle became the frame that unites these shapes together into one scene. It's a piece of beautiful art that seems to tell a story - wonderful! Also, the technique used to paint on the cookie feels like canvas or a mural - very textural - and had more than a few of us intrigued by her technique. We were amazed and in love!
Lobster Boil by The Cookie Monger
Everyone loved that by shifting the scale of the shapes around, The Cookie Monger achieved a very natural-feeling set that worked out perfectly as a theme. Also, we all would like to go to your lobster boil, stat! And, okay, I think we can all accept that anyone making a lobster cookiefrom now on should follow the lead here and use the gnome cutter!
Funny Bunnies by T Cupp Cookies
Cookie designs don't fit on these shapes? Well then, just give them a good squish, we're sure you can make it work! I get a goodchuckle even just looking at these bunnies while I type this, and the panel agreed! All of their expressions are great, but the guy on the pear is worried about his other ear. So funny!
You know what I want? All of the gnome cookies in one place! If you read this note, and you participated, please come post a photo that shows off your set, or just the gnome in it, on my Facebook page - I'll make an album!!
All photos shown here are the courtesy (and copyright) of the designers listed.
Rebecca Weld came to cookie decorating from gingerbread house making. As a "real" architect, busy business owner, and mom of two small kids, Rebecca discovered that gingerbread houses had a way of getting out of hand, and that cookie baking offered her a more manageable artistic outlet. Always eager to be a part of the cookie conversation, Rebecca maintains an active Facebook page as The Cookie Architect, as well as Pinterest and Instagram presences. She makes cookies to inspire herself and others, to feed those needs that art fills in all artists: expression, sharing, stretching yourself.
Photo credit: Rebecca Weld
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Rebecca Weld 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 Rebecca's past Cookie Connection posts here.