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2014 Cookiers' Choice Awards - Meet The Finalists!

Well, well, the nominations for the 2014 Cookiers' Choice Awards are all in, and they have finally been tallied! But before I spill the beans, thank you to those who cast votes in celebration of the accomplishments of their fellow cookiers. It's important to pause from time to time to take stock of the advancements within this profession and to recognize those who have made those advancements most possible.


And, for us here on Cookie Connection, NOW is that time! Why, after all, it's knowing that our work is appreciated that keeps most of us creating - and we want to make sure that this community's creativity continues to blossom in 2015!




So, without further ado, let me introduce the finalists. By way of introduction, I'll be sharing some of the reasons why our members selected these candidates, as well as each candidate's personal favorite tutorial or photo from 2014 - i.e., the piece of work that each felt best represents herself. For up-close-and-personal views of each candidate, I'll also be providing links to their Cookier Close-up interviews on this site and interviewing those we've missed over the upcoming weeks. But in the meantime, let's give the finalists a huge round of applause! It's a major accomplishment to have earned the recognition of so many talented peers and to have made it this far!

** Cookier of the Year Finalists ** 




As a reminder, the Cookier of the Year Award will be given to the cookier whose collective portfolio of work posted to Cookie Connection most impressed the Cookie Connection community and awards judging panel. Cookie portfolios will be evaluated on technical difficulty, number of techniques used, mastery of techniques, originality, and overall design appeal/artistry.


And here's why the Cookie Connection community thought these three candidates fit the bill . . .


Sandra "Sandie" Beltran of You Can Call Me Sweetie


Sandie's villain set, her favorite collection from 2014.


"Sandie's work is absolutely phenomenal. Each and every set she produces is unique and in a class of its own. She has taken cookie decorating to a new level and is a complete inspiration to the cookie world."


"Every collection of cookies she creates is incredible."


See Sandie's complete portfolio here, and stay tuned for her Cookier Close-up coming in February.


Evelin Milanesi of Evelindecora


Evelin's favorite cookie creation from 2014, a Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge entry.

"From painting to piping, all of Evelin's cookies are pure perfection."


"Her work is exquisite and original. She is an artist. That's all . . . and I've seen her cookies live and there are no words to describe the perfection!"


See Evelin's complete portfolio here, and read her recent Close-up here.


Marta Torres of The Cookie Lab


Marta's Girl in the Snow, her favorite cookie from 2014.


"[Her] work is always precise, detailed, requiring a high level of skill, and beautiful."


"Each piece of artwork Marta creates is more breathtaking than the next!"


See Marta's complete portfolio here, and be on the look-out for her Close-up coming later this month.


** Cookie Educator of the Year Finalists ** 




The Cookie Educator of the Year Award will be given to the cookie artist, blogger, instructor, or other entity who is deemed by the Cookie Connection community and awards judging panel to have contributed most to advancing cookie decorating instruction in 2014.


And here's why this community felt these cookiers were so deserving, along with links to their Close-ups and favorite tutorials . . .


Elizabeth Adams of Arty McGoo



"Along with her stupendous talent, she has created stellar videos that delight the viewer while [teaching] at the same time."


"She is an awesome teacher. [Her] techniques are great."


Click on the image above to see Elizabeth's McGoo U video previews (in lieu of her favorite tutorial), and read her Close-up here.


Hani Bacova of Haniela's


"Haniela's tutorials are delightful. She presents many different techniques and they are user-friendly."


"I watch more of Hani's videos than any other."


Watch Hani's favorite tutorial (Princess Cookie Rings) above, and stay tuned for her upcoming Close-up.


Marlyn Birmingham of Montreal Confections


"Marlyn consistently provides quality video tutorials, along with templates for new and different cookie-ing techniques. Her paint-a-cookie innovation is worth this nomination alone."


"For Marlyn's great work providing such a wide variety of cookie [techniques], and in such a way that [is] a huge help to cookie sellers."


Watch Marlyn's favorite tutorial above (yes, her famous paint-a-cookie innovation!), and learn more about her in her Close-up.


Amber Spiegel of SweetAmbs



" . . . her tutorials are the ones I used the most. She's so great and talented . . . and she taught me to make things I thought I wouldn't be capable of doing."


"I have personally corresponded with Amber on a few occasions, and she has provided guidance and valuable information on techniques to assist me. Her tutorials are easy to follow and thorough."


Click on the image above to read Amber's favorite 2014 tutorial (Mini Plaque Monogram Cookies), and read her Close-up here.


** Cookie Philanthropist and Innovator of the Year Finalists ** 


Lest you thought that the emptiness of this area meant I forgot the finalists in these categories, I didn't! It's just that, in both of these categories, your nominations indicated a clear and decisive winner! So rather than name finalists, we're going to keep you on pins and needles a bit longer and declare these winners later this month once our judges have made their final selections in the other two categories.


** What Happens From Here **


From here, our illustrious panel of judges (below) will spend the next two weeks or so carefully considering the personal favorites that were provided by each candidate, as well as each candidate's complete 2014 Cookie Connection portfolio (for Cookier of the Year) or body of 2014 educational activity beyond the site (i.e., videos, written tutorials, classes, books, or other teaching vehicles, for Cookie Educator of the Year). Each of our four judges will evaluate the candidates independently, across several different criteria, before making her final determination. I will personally tally the judges' votes and serve as the tie-breaker if one is needed. We've tried to make the process as systematic, fair, and thoughtful as possible, because we know - based on the caliber of these candidates - that our decisions will be very tough ones to make.


Now, for the judges: they are none other than the following very talented Cookie Connection contributors. As all are skilled artisans and active members of this site and the broader cookie community, I can't think of a more qualified team to invest with making these important decisions. Please give them a hearty "woo-hoo!" for accepting the challenge and responsibility of the tough task that lies ahead.




While the judges are busy deliberating, please also take a moment to congratulate each of our finalists on their remarkable accomplishments this past year! The cookie community owes them all a huge debt of gratitude for their continual inspiration and generous contributions of time and talent. What would cookie-land be without any one of them? It's impossible to imagine!


And, of course, stay tuned for the final winner reveal at the end of the month!



Images (9)
  • Cookiers' Choice Awards - Meet the Finalists Banner: Graphic Design by Pretty Sweet Designs and Julia M Usher
  • Cookier of the Year Finalist Banner: Graphic Design by Pretty Sweet Designs and Julia M Usher
  • Villian Set: Cookies and Photo by Sandie Beltran of You Can Call Me Sweetie
  • Elegant 3-D Bathroom Cookie: Cookie and Photo by Evelin Milanesi of Evelindecora
  • Girl in Snow: Cookie and Photo by Marta Torres of The Cookie Lab
  • Cookie Educator of the Year Finalist Banner: Graphic Design by Pretty Sweet Designs and Julia M Usher
  • McGoo U Logo: Courtesy of Arty McGoo
  • Mini Plaque Monogram Cookies: Cookies and Photo by SweetAmbs
  • The Judges: Graphic Design by Pretty Sweet Designs and Julia M Usher

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Comments (29)

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All in a class of their very own! Congratulations to all of the fantastic artists above. I am so proud to be part of this profession and am glad I am not a judge - Way too hard to choose! 

Thank you everyone for having nominated me among two amazing artists. It's an honor being a finalist with Sandra and Evelin. Couldn't be a better beginning if the year, besides, this nomination cames on the 3 Wise King's Day which is a day when so many received theirs gifts rather than on Christmas. It's a perfect day! Thank you so much and Congratulations Sandra and Evelin.

congratulations everyone on their nominations too, for other categories.

thank you Julia for having put it together.

cheers, Marta Torres

Congratulations to all the nominees!  These master artists are wonderful inspirations for all of us apprentice and journeyman decorators.  I give a big THANK-YOU to them for helping me grow and improve.  Also thanking the judges for stepping up to make such a tough decision and Julia for putting together and maintaining this amazing community.

Thanks so much Julia for creating this place, where the cookie community can assemble and share in this wonderful craft. I'd also like to thank everyone who took the time to vote and congratulate all the other wonderfully talented nominees. May 2015 be an amazing cookie year for everyone! Marlyn xo

Congratulations to everyone!  I'm thrilled to see Liz and sweet ambs nominated.  Both have been inspiring to me.  outside of cookie connection Liz has sat with me and taught me so much.  Sweet ambs has such wonderful ideas and directions that I have used to help me get praise for my cookie projects.  Thanks to both!

I would also like to thank Julia again for her work including creating cookie connection!  This site has been a huge help in my cookie decorating! Thank you so much!

Thank you so much Julia for creating this community for us where we can all come together and share our passion for cookie decorating. Thank you to all who have taken the time to like and comment on my pictures and for all who nominated me.  It has truly changed me in a way that I can never put to words. To know that I am admired in such a way by my peers is truly a blessing that I will cherish forever. This month marks You Can Call Me Sweetie's 2nd birthday and just being nominated is the best gift I could have ever imagined. Congratulations to the fellow nominees. I feel so honored and I am so humbled to be part of such an elite group of women. A round of applause and a POP FIZZ CLINK Ladies xoxoxo Sandie <3

Congratulations to each and every 2014 Cookier Choice Awards finalist! What a wonderful way to honor the best of the best! I want to thank each of you for sharing your beautiful and amazing cookie art, for everyone to enjoy and admire. Each of you have your own stlye, and bring an amazing amount of talent and creativity to the cookie decorating communtiy. A big part of visiting Cookie Connection, becoming a member and coming back time and time again, is because of people like you! I don't want to miss a single cookie! Thanks to each of you, for sharing your time, talent, and inspiration! It's always a pleasure! So exciting!!!

These biscuit artists are really the best of the best. I love their work. And the jury is not going to have anything easy. Finally congratulations to all three, because the three deserve win, and Julia by these great initiatives.
Questi biscotti di artisti sono davvero il meglio del meglio. Mi piace il suo lavoro. E la giuria non avrà facile. Infine complimenti a tutti e tre, perché tutti e tre meritano di vincere e Julia per questi grandi iniziative.
Esses "cookies" são na verdade os melhores dos melhores artistas. Eu gosto do seu trabalho. E o júri não vai ser fácil. Finalmente, parabéns a todos os três, porque todos os três merecem ganhar e Julia para estas grandes iniciativas.

What a way to start the year!  It is so humbling to know that something I enjoy doing so much is being recognized by the incredible cookiesphere.  I can't tell you how exciting it is to see my name alongside these wonderful teachers and friends.  Thank YOU doesn't being to cover it, but I'll say it anyway:  THANK YOU