So back when I gave the Cookie Connection contributors' team the impossible task of selecting the winners in the 2014 Cookiers' Choice Awards, I also gave them the equally impossible exercise of choosing their two favorite cookie photos posted to the site last year. Crazy-hard, right?! I know . . .
But I persisted. I asked them to consider many of the same factors evaluated during the awards process - things like degree of difficulty, originality, number of techniques used, mastery of techniques, and overall design. But most importantly, I wanted to know which cookies (contributors' cookies excluded) left the most indelible impression, for whatever reason. Aren't you also dying to know?!
Well, here you have it - our 2014 contributors' picks, in no particular order, along with a few words about why these cookies moved them so. No consulting with one another allowed! (Of course, there were countless incredible cookies that got overlooked. Please chalk up any glaring omissions to the impossibility of this task. )
Spring Cookie Platter by mintlemonade
"[There are] so many techniques going on in this set and they all complement each other! She's got basketweaving, stenciling, fine piping details, royal icing transfers, etc. The colors are beautiful and it's a gorgeous set!"
Autumn Dreams in Spring by Tammy Holmes
"I love how Tammy uses a combination of painting on royal icing, wafer paper, and fondant to create her sets. It gives them both texture and depth. I especially love the painting of the girl in this set. Her style is SO unique!"
Hidden in the Garden by Fernwood Cookie
"I love this set, but the one cookie that stuck in my mind is the pear shape - the whimsical, endearing little hedgehog, holding that flower with those exquisite little droplets. Perfectly executed and beautifully designed to fit the shape. Occasionally cookies make me stare at them thinking, 'I *really* wish I had made that!' This is one of them."
Sailboat Scene by El rincÓn de glass
"This [cookie] stood out for me as another cookie that skillfully brought together all the elements of the challenge, whilst creating a single, original image. And it's one of those few cookies that gets you thinking hard, trying to work out how it was done. I'm still not really sure!"
History of Fashion by Kim of Sugar Rush Custom Cookies
"I chose this cookie set for its uniqueness and high level of detail. Kim adds so much depth and movement to each cookie and masters the art of handpainting. And let’s not overlook the fact that there are 28 cookies in this set! Not including the little plaque cookies! That’s A LOT of work!"
A Country in a Cookie: Russia by Dolce Sentire
"This cookie is so magical to me. She masters all the fine detail work of shading, blending, and outlining, and even adds depth to the big red flowers. It’s simply captivating!"
Garden Butterfly by Tammy Holmes
"All of Tammy's work in 2014 was very fresh, and inspiring to many. But this particular piece was so sharply done, and so beautiful all on its own, that I had to include it as one of my selections. Love her modern sensibility, romantic vision, and clarity of design."
International Women's Day! Premiere! by The Cookie Lab
"I just love how this cookie, based on Octavio Ocampo's "Mouth of a Flower," speaks to me on two very different levels - there's such beauty in the finely painted floral details, yet when you step back and take it all in, you're left with an even grander, more magnificent impression. It's a great example of that old adage, 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.'"
Earth Garden Cookies by Dolce Sentire
"These were some of Dolce Sentire's first handpainted cookies on the site, and I remember thinking when I first saw them, 'Wow, she's someone to watch!' I love the boldness, color selection, precision, and beauty of this set - and her work has continued to impress."
Alphonse Mucha by Mallory of ButterWinks!
"I mean, wow, it's amazing what this woman does with the humble ol' wet-on-wet technique. It couldn't get much more spectacular!"
Next week, I'll resume the usual format* for the Saturday Spotlight, but in the meantime, may these cookies and their designers move us all to never-before-attained cookie heights! (And from what I've seen so far in 2015, I have no doubt . . . . you're well on your way, people!)
* As a reminder, a word about how the rankings are determined: The rankings are not at all subjective. In fact, they are determined essentially by you, our members, and the activity (number of views, likes, and comments) you've bestowed on each photo. The site uses a top-secret algorithm that weighs these various factors to determine which photos are trending most quickly (i.e., are the "hottest") over specified periods of time. As such, the hot list at the time of this announcement may look a little different a few hours or a day from now as more photos are added to the site.
So that no one has an unfair advantage in making it onto a hot list, the algorithm is secret even to site administrators. Only our platform developers know the code, which has been exhaustively tested by those developers and Cookie Connection staff.
All photos shown here are the courtesy (and copyright) of the designers listed.
To check out our other hot lists, at any time of day, visit our Hot Spot, also found in the site's main navigation line.