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Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #37: Water


What could be more basic than water? On one level, water is so essential that no life would exist without it. And yet, on the other hand, few things are as complex as water. It can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas, depending on its temperature. Water covers roughly 71 percent of the earth's surface.

But enough science; let's pivot back to cookies. What I am getting at is this: with water virtually everywhere we look, it's no surprise that water assumes a very prominent place in art, and cookie art is no exception. In this challenge, I am going to ask you to swim in the sea of creativity and make some water!

We'll get to the details of this challenge in a moment, but, first, let's talk about the prize we are offering to one lucky challenge entrant who will be chosen completely at random from among all of the challenge entrants. (Remember, the more times you enter the challenge, the more chances you have to win!). Our lucky winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Creative Cookier, donated by Cookie Connection founder, @Julia M. Usher. Recall, Creative Cookier is the genius-company behind the Stencil Genie and other stenciling and airbrushing products. Ginny and Doug Levack, Creative Cookiers' owners, also sell their own lines of meringue powder and gel and airbrush colorings, and are all-around great people with great customer service!

Genie Gift Card Border

Now let's get back to our challenge, which was inspired by my co-contributor Samantha of @Aproned Artist who told me she is constantly searching for the best way to represent water in her cookie art, and was hoping she could tap this community of cookie genius for some inspiring ideas. As someone who is constantly looking for a better way to depict water in my cookie art as well, I was more than happy to oblige! (Perhaps, I thought selfishly, we might even get a fabulous water-related tutorial out of @Aproned Artist in the future!)

That said, this will be one of those easier-said-than-done challenges. The instructions are simple, but I want you to get really creative about how you make and display water! For this challenge, you must create a cookie or set of cookies that somehow represents and showcases water. And by "showcase," I mean that water should be the focus of your cookie(s); it should be a dominant element. I think the best way to explain what I mean is to offer some examples . . .

Water Lily Pond by ManuBF282489-5A8F-4237-BEC2-6C7B32818B3A

Lily Fountain by Bakerloo StationLily Fountain _ Bakerloo Station

Water Lilies by Cookie Celebration LLCWater Lilies

Swimmer in the Water by El rincón de glassgalleta nadadora

Viking Ship by Bakerloo StationViking Ship _ Bakerloo Station

Stained Glass Giant Gingerbread Koi Cookie by Lucy (Honeycat Cookies)DSC_0053adjusted

Koi Pond by Kim Damoncoy5 edited [1)

Since I want you to get creative about how you make the water aspect of your entry, I will not give you the instructions for making the water in the cookies shown above. However, you are, of course, welcome to do your own research on these cookies, reverse-engineer them, and/or use them as inspiration. My goal here is not to teach you a specific technique for representing water in your cookie art. My goal is to see how many different ways you can collectively come up with to represent water in cookie art. And so, for purposes of this challenge, the more original and creative your idea, the better! Perhaps YOU could create the next ubiquitous, iconic cookie technique for water!

With all of that in mind, let's talk about the rules for this challenge, shall we?

Rules: PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. Nothing makes me sadder than having to disqualify a fabulous set of cookies because someone failed to read ALL of the rules!

1. Create a cookie or set of cookies that has water as a dominant feature.

2. For purposes of this challenge, "water" means liquid water only, NOT solid or gas. Therefore, water does NOT include, for example, ice, snow, steam, or vapor. However, this restriction does not mean that your water should be made of actual liquid. It simply means that the type of water represented in your cookie should be liquid water, as in all of the examples above.

3. You may NOT use the following techniques:
  • Plain blue flooding-consistency royal icing 
  • Single-color blue paint
  • Water-specific stencils, such as waves

4. You may NOT make any beach scenes like the one directly below, which I believe was originally created by SweetAmbs in this tutorial from 2013, and has already been done ad nauseam.

Beach Cookies by Melissa~The Occasional CookieIMG_8062

5. Your design must be completely original, and not a copy of any other artist's design. (In my eyes, the more original the entry, the better! And, remember, no copyrighted designs may be used without written permission.)

6. If you plan to make multiple challenge entries to Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #37, then each challenge entry must be substantially different than your prior entries. At a minimum, the final cookies should look substantially different. Ideally, each individual entry would also use a different technique for creating your water.

7. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie project for this challenge.

8. Think outside the box, get creative, and immerse yourself in this challenge by taking some healthy risks. Perhaps this should be Rule #1, but. . . HAVE SOME FUN.

To enter:
  • Please post an image of your cookie(s) to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than December 15, 2019 at 5 pm central.
  • Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #37" 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. Multiple clips of the same entry are not allowed unless added in a comment beneath the one primary clip.

After the challenge has closed on December 15, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight on December 28 (not on December 21, as Julia will be out of town at that time). The next challenge will be announced about a week 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.


Images (10)
  • Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #37 Banner: Photo by Steve Adams; Cookie and Graphic Design by Julia M Usher
  • Creative Cookier Gift Card Prize: Graphic Courtesy of Creative Cookier; Prize Donated by Julia M Usher
  • Water Lily Pond: By Manu
  • Lily Fountain: By Bakerloo Station
  • Water Lilies: By Cookie Celebration LLC
  • Swimmer in the Water: By El rincón de glass
  • Viking Ship: By Bakerloo Station
  • Stained Glass Giant Gingerbread Koi Cookie: By Lucy (Honeycat Cookies)
  • Koi Pond: By Kim Damon
  • Beach Cookies: By Melissa~The Occasional Cookie

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Comments (9)

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Ooh, I can't wait to see everyone blow this challenge out of the water, as they say!  

Thanks, @Bakerloo Station, for another great one.

Everyone, please also take note that the recap for this challenge is likely to come on December 28, not December 21 (as would be per our usual schedule), as I will be in NYC and unavailable on the weekend of December 21.

Last edited by Julia M. Usher

What a wonderful CHALLENGE! Why cap-locked? Because this one is soooo hard!  Thanks for raising the bar, and getting us all geared up to do (fun) hard things! And thanks for using the little Koi Pond cookie from the candy challange! I hope I can make the image (in my mind) come to life! Thanks for the inspiration, @Bakerloo Station!

Oh, how unique and fun can this get?!  I so wish this cookie order time of year was a little less hectic, but I will definitely try to jump in with something! This IS a challenge, Christine @Bakerloo Station!! I've scratched my head many a time over this...Thank YOU for your creative ideas and wonderful support

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