It takes a small community to keep a large community like Cookie Connection alive with content and tuned into members' needs. In addition to my partners at who maintain the technical aspects of this site and constantly dream up new site features for us to enjoy, I have the following talented writer-cookiers to thank for their regular and very generous contributions. Please join me in giving them a hearty round of applause - and check out the quick links to some of their work to the right!

Christine Donnelly is author of Practice Bakes Perfect, a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature that poses inspiration and challenges to stretch you as a cookie artist - for practice, prizes, and fun! A lifelong baker, Christine began her professional 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. Catch up on all of Christine's Cookie Connection posts here. Photo credit: Christine Donnelly.

Leoni Eckart, aka Laegwen, contributes every other month to Get Inspired with Laegwen, a series of cookie decorating tutorials that follow her personal experiments with gumpaste, royal icing, and other cookie decorating materials and methods. Leoni started her baking career way before her own memory sets in, decorating Christmas cookies with her mother (at least that's what she's been told!), and has never entirely stopped puttering around in the kitchen since. Her first decorated cookies as an adult were her own wedding favors, and then, over Christmas 2014, her cookie fever went into overdrive! As of present, it shows no signs of cooling off. To read all of Leoni's past Get Inspired tutorials, click here. Photo credit: Leoni Eckart.

Manuela Pezzopane, affectionately called Manu by her friends and family, is the author of the blog feature Made by Manu, where each month she shares the method behind a magical cookie of her own making. A fan of everything handmade, Manu professes to have tried every possible hobby. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2014, when an American friend invited her to a Christmas cookie exchange, that she first discovered decorated cookies. In 2015, after watching Julia M. Usher's videos and signing up on Cookie Connection, Manu finally attempted her own. Since then, cookie decorating has become Manu’s passion – one that she continues to develop by actively participating in the challenges hosted by fellow Cookie Connection contributor Bakerloo Station. Married with two children in college, Manu harks from Rome, Italy, but currently resides in Dubai. You can email Manu at, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or catch her past Cookie Connection posts here. Photo credit: Manuela Pezzopane.

Liesbet Schietecatte is the author of Cookie Connection's bimonthly blog feature Toolbox Talk, which explores similarities and differences in cookie tools and ingredients from all over the world. Born in Belgium but permanently living in South Africa since 2005, Liesbet accidentally found her way into cookie decorating in 2012. Grabbing moments in between her career as an archaeologist and being a mommy and a wife, Liesbet bakes Belgian biscuits like speculoos in the tradition of her grandmother’s family who were bakers for several generations, but she gets the most creative satisfaction from decorating with royal icing. She bakes and decorates for occasional orders and at times for a crafters' market, but mostly for the enjoyment and challenge of trying out new things. To honor her family's baking legacy, Liesbet uses the family name to give a home to her baking pictures on Facebook: Stock’s – Belgian Artisan Bakes. Catch up on Liesbet's Toolbox Talk here. Photo credit: Liesbet Schietecatte.

Samantha Yacovetta is the author of Every Little Detail with Aproned Artist, a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature that focuses on the special little details that make big statements in cookie design. Also the decorator behind Aproned Artist, Samantha began cookie decorating in 2013. While working at a local bakery, she became captivated by cookie art when a customer requested princess-themed cookies. Attracted initially to the precision of cookie decorating, Samantha soon found that the limitless design opportunities turned it into her artistic passion. Samantha began regularly stocking the bakery case with decorated cookies and has since transitioned to running her own company, Aproned Artist, a cottage food operation. She enjoys the challenge and inspiration of creating designs that feel personal and unique to each customer. Samantha lives in San Jose, California, USA. To learn more about Samantha, please check out her Cookie Connection portfolio, her site, and her past Every Little Detail tutorials here. Photo credit: Samantha Yacovetta.

I am constantly striving to take the site's content to the next level with more tutorials, posts about the business of baking, and other thought-provoking content. If you have a unique decorating angle or story to tell and would be interested in becoming a site contributor, please contact me at to discuss the possibility! And don't forget to check out the quick links to the right to some of our contributors' latest content!

Live sweetly,
Julia M. Usher
Founder and Host, Cookie Connection