If you're anything like me – and countless other cookiers - you probably have at least ten or twenty (dozen ) cookie cutters in your collection. And with all of those cookie cutters to keep track of, there's bound to be one or two that will have you asking, "What's this cutter for, again?" Sure, you could post a photo online and ask the cookie community if they know what your "mystery" cutter is supposed to be, or you could contact the maker to find out. But where's the fun in that?!
Here at Cookie Connection, we're all for fun AND a good challenge. But rather than spending time trying to find out what our mystery shape cutter is supposed to be, we're instead going to throw caution to the wind and create our own designs! (In the recap, I'll share what the actual shapes were supposed to be, but mum's the word 'til then!)
Before I mention any more details about this challenge, let's talk about our AMAZING PRIZE! One lucky entrant will be chosen at random from among all of the challenge entrants to receive a $100 gift card to Confection Couture Stencils' site, donated by Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As with all of the gift cards that Julia donates, this value is applied to your total order and is capped at $100. So if you purchase $100 worth of product, it will be covered, but your shipping will not. VAT is also not covered. Other geographical shipping restrictions may apply, and we'll alert you if they're known in advance.
As you may know, Confection Couture Stencils is Julia's stencil partner, but they recently introduced a new line of 3-D printed cookie cutters, called DuraCut Cutters. They are super sturdy with reinforced side walls, while still having a precise cutting edge. Check out this fun video displaying some of DuraCut Cutters' features (like you can drive a car over them, and they won't break!). [EDITOR'S NOTE: It's true; they actually ran over several cutters with both a car and forklift, and they were unscathed! ~JMU]
So, Confection Couture Stencils now has lots of non-mystery cutter shapes for you, though the gift card applies to anything on their site!
Now, on to the details of our challenge . . .
Cookiers require many skills to decorate beautiful cookies, and creativity is certainly one of them. For this challenge, I am providing you with three mystery shapes (templates are at the bottom of this post) that will serve as "cutters" for your cookies. Your challenge will be to reimagine and decorate at least one of these cookie cutter shapes in such a way that it looks like the shape was made for your design.
To show you what I mean, here are examples of mystery shapes that were completely reimagined by some of our Cookie Connection members:
This cookie is an excellent example of decorating in such a way that the shape looks like it was made for the design, when in fact it was not. Notice how the image of the frog was designed to fit the shape of the cookie, and there are no undecorated or empty areas.
Crazy Fool Boy by Le Monnier du Biscuit
In this clip, you can see how the design was first sketched out on paper. Proper planning will help to ensure that your design works well with the shape of the cookie and that it can be decorated to fill the shape in its entirety, or close to its entirety.
Ready to Enjoy the Rain! by Ines Doherty
This cookie shape is exactly the same as the one above, but you'll notice that it has been flipped around and decorated in a completely different way. This shape may be simple, but it is certainly versatile!
Now that you have an idea of what I am looking for when it comes to decorating your mystery shape cookie, here are three mystery shapes from which you can choose for this challenge:
Mystery Shape #1 (Beginner)
Mystery Shape #2 (Intermediate)
Mystery Shape #3 (Advanced)
I have included three mystery shapes of varying difficulty for this challenge, so that you can pick the one that is best suited to your skill level, or, if up to the challenge (pun intended), try all three! (Again, the PDF files for these shapes are in the "Attachments" section at the bottom of this post.)
You can decorate each shape more than once, or you can try your hand at all three shapes, but each cookie should be submitted as a separate entry. (Remember, the more entries you submit, the greater your chances of winning the prize!)
This challenge is all about being creative and using your imagination, which is an important skill to cultivate whether you're decorating cookies for clients, friends, or family, or even for competitions like Julia M. Usher's Cookie Art Competition™! [EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks for plugging my competition, Christine! Prizes now top $14,000, and there's still plenty of time to create, as entries aren't due until October 15. So, everyone, what are you waiting for?! Check out the competition rules and regs, and get started! ~ JMU]
When decorating your mystery shape cookie(s), remember to experiment, try new ideas, and think outside the box. If you believe you know the real, intended shape, I ask that you design something else. Challenge yourself to turn a blank cookie canvas into something spectacular!
PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. I would hate to disqualify an entry because someone failed to read ALL of the rules.
1. Decorate one cookie using one of the shapes shown above. (Remember, the shapes are available for download and printing in the PDF files in "Attachments" at the bottom of this post.)
2. Your cookie should be decorated in such a way that it looks like the cookie shape was purposefully made for your design. Again, if you think you know the real, intended shape, I ask that you design something else. Get creative!
3. You may NOT alter the shape of your cookie, however, you may increase its overall size if needed for your design.
4. Your design MUST BE ORIGINAL and NOT a copy of any other artist's design.
5. As always, we ask that you make a brand new cookie design for this challenge.
6. And because Cookie Connection is all about learning and sharing, I would love for you to share in the comments section under your entry the media and techniques you used to decorate your mystery shape cookie, where you drew inspiration, and what you learned along the way.
- Please post an image of your cookie to the site under the Practice Bakes Perfect clip set no later than October 24 at 5 pm central.
- Because these challenges are ongoing, we ask that you put "Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #48" 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 this month's terrific prize!
After the challenge has closed on October 24, we will announce the random winner in the Saturday Spotlight on October 30. 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.