Hello, everyone! I am so excited and very honored to be taking over the challenges from the amazing @Bakerloo Station. Thank you, Christine, for creating so many wonderful challenges over the years. I think we can all agree that they have helped us to grow to become better cookiers all around. And thank you, @Julia M. Usher, for entrusting me to continue these challenges, and for providing a community where we can all share and grow together as cookie artists. Now, on to our challenge!
To start with, I must confess that I am one of those people who loves a good April Fool's joke. And since this challenge happens to run through April Fool's Day, I thought it would be fun to turn Cookie Connection into "Food" Connection! Not real food, of course, but rather cookies so realistic looking that people will be wondering why someone posted last night's dinner to the clip set.
To show you what I mean, here are some great examples of realistic looking food cookies that give no hint that they are not what they appear to be:
Bread and Jam Cookies by @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.
Life-Size Pizza Cookie by @KellyMadeThat
BBQ Rib Cookies by @Patricia Johnson
The Steak by @Le Monnier du Biscuit
Miniature Bakery by @Noaa
Miniature Italian Food by @Evelindecora
Before we get into the details of the challenge, let's talk about our PRIZE! One lucky entrant will be chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive the entirety of Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher's CookieCon 2020 swag bag!
Julia reports that this bag contains three stencils; one Ultimat work mat by Creative Cookier; one mold; assorted sprinkles, dusts, and food coloring (six); pastry bags, clips, and tips (four); various labels and magnets (three); lots of cookie cutters (15); and the pièce de résistance, the special five-piece CookieCon instructor-designed cutter set made by Ann Clark (pictured front left)! Wow!
For this challenge, I want you to take a good look at your food - really study it. Think about how you might recreate it in cookie form. How would you recreate the look of freshly baked bread; a bowl of sweet, juicy berries; or a triple brownie sundae, smothered in extra hot fudge sauce? What different media would you use to create your masterpiece - royal icing, fondant, isomalt, wafer paper, candy melts? What techniques would you use - stippling, painting, wet-on-wet? The possibilities are endless.
Since the "food" that you create will be unique to you, I will leave it up to you to research your project to determine which techniques and media are best to use for your particular entry. The goal for this challenge is to create a "food" cookie (or cookies) so realistic looking that only progress shots will convince us that it's not the real thing. So, be creative and use your imagination.
PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. The last thing I would want is to have to disqualify an entry because someone failed to read ALL of the rules!
1. Create one cookie or a set of cookies that are a realistic representation of a food item or items.
2. Your cookie(s) must include both a solid and a liquid food item. Beverages (including smoothies and shakes), thicker liquids (e.g. honey, purées, sauces, gravies, etc.), and other pourable items (e.g. syrups, glazes, pourable icings, etc.) are acceptable forms of liquid food. For the purpose of this challenge, condiments (e.g., ketchup, mayonnaise, etc.) and other soft solids or gel-type foods (e.g., sour cream, custard, whipped cream, etc.) will also be considered liquid food items.
3. You must use at least two different types of media (e.g., royal icing, fondant, isomalt, wafer paper, etc.).
4. You must use at least two different techniques (e.g., stippling, painting, pressure piping, wet-on-wet, etc.).
5. Anything in your photo that represents something edible must be made with sweets (e.g., cookies, icing, other forms of sugar, etc.). For example, if you want a piece of parsley to garnish your steak cookie, then that parsley must be made out of sweets. Inedible food accessories (e.g., cutlery, plates, napkins, etc.) are allowed as props for styling your photo.
6. Your design must be completely original, and not a copy of any other artist's work. And, remember, no copyrighted designs may be used without written permission.
- the techniques and media that you used,
- what you are most proud of,
- what you might do differently,
- what you learned, and,
- if you are able, step-by-step photos so that we can all learn together.
8. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie project for this challenge.
- Please post an image of your cookie OR cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than May 3, 2020 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #39" 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.
- Prizes are given entirely at random. This means that everyone who participates in the challenge has an opportunity to be rewarded with a fantastic prize!
After the challenge has closed on May 3, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight on May 9. The next challenge will be announced about a week after that Spotlight.
And, remember, these challenges are NOT a competition. They are intended to inspire and motivate you to step outside of your comfort zone, to experiment and be creative, and to try something new. The goal is for you to challenge yourself artistically and technically, and to develop your skills so that you may reach your full potential as a cookie artist, and, of course, the goal is also to have fun along the way.
I can't wait to see what you create. If you have any questions about this challenge, or if you are looking for ideas, technical advice, or creative help - or if you just want to talk cookies - I would love to chat. You can leave me a comment below, or you can send me a private Cookie Connection message.
Christine Dutcher's journey as a cookier began in early 2013 when an online search led her to the amazing world of cookie decorating. After spending countless hours learning all that she could, Christine decorated her first set of cookies in October 2013. In 2016, she decided that she would begin to focus on perfecting her skills, challenging herself each time to create more detailed and progressively complex pieces of cookie art. In 2019, Christine became one of the very first sugar artists from around the world to be named as an "Honourary PME Five Star Sugar Artist" by Knightsbridge PME. You can learn more about Christine's work here on Cookie Connection, and by following her Facebook and Instagram pages.
Photo credit: Christine Dutcher
Note: Practice Bakes Perfect is a bimonthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Christine Dutcher 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.