Summer is that time of year when Mother Nature dazzles us with a spectacular show of beautiful flowers and an endless array of stunning colors and exquisite designs. With so much inspiration all around us, now is the perfect time to create your own floral masterpiece.
But before I mention the details of this challenge, let's talk about our PRIZE! One lucky entrant will be chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive a collection of Sugarin® products, all perfect for making or coloring edible flowers.
These products were gifted to Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher who is passing them on untouched, with the hope that the lucky winner will put them to amazing use. This set of goodies includes three packages of Anna Austin's modeling paste, one bottle of bakers' spirit, one bottle of edible glaze, one bottle of edible glue, one Petal Palette by Patty with 12 stunning colors of compressed petal dust, six containers of edible petal dust, six oil powder colors, and five icing paste concentrates! Ooh, I can only imagine the beautiful bouquets that one could create with this loot! Now back to business . . .
This challenge may be all about flowers - but it is not about creating the typical flower cookies that we so commonly see. The goal of this challenge is to create a unique floral arrangement with lifelike flowers. And there are so many ways that this objective can be accomplished.
Here are a few examples of the different techniques and media that can be used to create your flowers.
Rustic and Roses by Teri Pringle WoodFor this cookie, Teri used fondant to create her flowers and embossed leaves.
Experimenting with New Techniques by Heather Bruce SosaHeather handpainted each individual wafer paper petal, then dampened and shaped them before attaching them to the cookies.
Dogwood Cookie Close-up by Julia M. Usher
After getting motivated by @Manu's water lily tutorial, Julia created this delicate dogwood cookie using individually piped, contoured, and airbrushed royal icing transfers.
Fondant Bamboo Sugar Cookie and Flowerpaste Asian Orchid Spray by bobbiebakes
These orchids were made with gumpaste. The first comment under this clip contains a link to a tutorial showing how they were made.
Sculptural Painting of Royal Icing Roses by EvelindecoraEvelin created this "sculptural painting" using spackled royal icing (icing spread with an assortment of palette knives). Her inspiration came from the works of Evgenia Ermilova.
Chocolate Flowers by tweets...cookieconnection
This modeling chocolate creation offers up one more delicious option for creating a floral masterpiece.
Now that we have seen some of the different media and techniques that can be used, here are some inspirational ideas that show how your flowers can be arranged.
Basket of Flowers by Gigi's Fresh Baked
This basket is made of gingerbread and filled with wafer paper and fondant flowers.
Christmas Cookie Lantern by Olivera Vlah
This wafer paper poinsettia adorns a cookie lantern with isomalt glass.
Christmas in Bloom by LisaF
This giant cookie planter box is overflowing with embossed fondant poinsettias.
3-D Garden Arbor Cookie by Julia M. UsherJust in case you're feeling a little overambitious, this stunning garden scene by Cookie Connection founder and host @Julia M. Usher is the perfect inspirational clip to start you on your way!
Once you have decided on a design, there are plenty of tutorials and videos to help you create your flowers.
Tutorials, Videos, and Tips
If you are interested in creating sugar flowers made of fondant or gumpaste, this post from Cake Geek Magazine is a great place to start. Here, all in one spot, you will find tutorials about how to create several different flowers. Additionally, this CakesbyLynz video demonstrates how to create a realistic looking sunflower. And be sure to check out the other gumpaste tutorials on her channel. Here on Cookie Connection, @Laegwen shares a beginner-level lavender tutorial with us. If you do not have gumpaste, this Veena Azmanov post teaches you how to make your own, and also provides a wealth of helpful information.
There are a number of videos that demonstrate how to create wafer paper flowers. I really like how real the chrysanthemum looks in this Cheshire Bakery video. In another video, Astashkina Cakes shows us how she makes a delicate Japanese anemone. You can learn how to create a simple orchid with this Annika's Cake Tutorials video, or a more advanced peony with this Я - ТОРТодел! video. And this Winifred Kristé Cake post is the perfect guide to learning all about wafer paper flowers.
If you would like to create "sculptural painted" flowers, this short video by Evgenia Ermilova gives a great overview of the technique.
For chocolate flowers, I highly recommend you watch this video by @Julia M. Usher that explains everything you need to know about creating perfect modelling chocolate. Afterwards, this Robert Harwood video walks you step by step through the entire process of creating a chocolate peony.
For piecework flowers made of individually piped and contoured royal icing transfers, @Julia M. Usher's dogwood and snowdrop how-to videos and @Manu's water lily tutorial will expertly guide through the process. Additionally, you can take inspiration from videos that use buttercream, such as this YOUNGYI video tutorial.
Your floral arrangement does NOT have to be three-dimensional; however, if you would like to create a three-dimensional cookie, @Julia M. Usher's YouTube channel has several tutorial videos that show you how.
You can also add details to your cookie using ideas from this 3-D Cookie Lantern tutorial by @Manu or this Holiday Cookie Candle Holder tutorial by @Dolce Sentire - Aixa Zunino that features a series of stacked cookies with a wood bark texture. And, as luck would have it, @Aproned Artist has a newly posted Charmed Cobra Cookie tutorial that teaches how to pipe a perfect basketweave.
I also want to add that these are just some of the ways that you can create your floral arrangement. There are so many more real-life examples from which to draw inspiration. There are floral wreaths, archways, bouquets, and tablescapes. And there are even floral necklaces and fascinators as well as all-out floral haute couture, such as this exquisite work by Tobey Nelson and Françoise Weeks. Where will you find your inspiration? Take a look around you or search online. And don't forget that Mother Nature can also be one of the best sources of inspiration when creating your floral masterpiece!
PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. I would hate to disqualify an entry because someone failed to read ALL of the rules.
1. Create an artistic floral arrangement using a minimum of THREE different types of flowers and at least TWO different types of media. You may use one cookie or a set of cookies to create your arrangement.
2. Everything on your entry MUST be edible. Wires, tape, and all other nonedible items are NOT allowed for this challenge. For instance, gumpaste flowers should be made without wires, or, alternatively, a different medium or technique could be used to create a particular flower instead.
3. Classic piped royal icing roses DO NOT COUNT toward the three required types of flowers, since they were already done in Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #16. If used, classic piped roses should be kept to a minimum. You may, however, use roses that are made with less traditional techniques or media.
4. Since this challenge is about creating something that goes beyond the typical flower cookie, simple-style flowers such as molded or cutout fondant flowers (pictured below, upper left), piped rosettes or swirl roses (upper right and lower left), and brush-embroidered flowers (lower right) DO NOT COUNT toward the three required types of flowers. The use of these types of flowers in your arrangement is strongly discouraged.
Note: Cookies and photos, clockwise from top left, by Teri Pringle Wood (May Flowers), Punky's Sugar Shoppe (Rosettes), Evelindecora (Spring Cookies), and Kat Rutledge-ibicci (Pink Swirl Roses).
5. Your flowers must be handcrafted. You may not use molds, stencils, edible prints, Russian tips, or similar media and techniques to create your flowers. You may, however, use molds to emboss your flower petals and leaves as needed.
6. Your floral design must be original, and not a copy of any other artist's design. And, remember, no copyrighted designs may be used without written permission.
7. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie project for this challenge.
And because Cookie Connection is all about learning and sharing, I would love for you to share in the comments section under your entry your inspiration, the different methods you experimented with, and how you created your magnificent floral designs.
- Please post an image of your cookie OR cookie set to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than August 30, 2020 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #41" 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.
- The prize is given entirely at random. This means that everyone who participates in the challenge has an opportunity to be rewarded with our fantastic prize!
After the challenge has closed on August 30, we will announce the winner in the Saturday Spotlight on September 5. 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 for you 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.