Saturday Spotlight: Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #29 Recap

 

Greetings, world travelers! I hope that all of you have been having wonderful summers. Maybe some of you have even had the chance to travel and see with your own eyes a new and exciting part of the world. I spent the first half of my summer in Asia, where I got to visit Tokyo, Beijing, and Hong Kong. I had never been to Asia before, and, I have to say, it was all amazing - the people, the sights, and, of course, the FOOD! I took tons of pictures, and was so inspired that I wanted to immediately cookie all the things!

The Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall 1

Unfortunately, I was sidelined by a thumb injury (it's healing great!) immediately upon returning from my Asia trip, so I have not had a chance to "cookie all the things" yet, but, come fall, be on the lookout for lots of Asian-inspired things by me!

Before we take a look at which of Anthony Bourdain's favorite countries inspired all of YOU, let's talk about the winner of the prize for this challenge. Recall that this challenge’s fabulous prize is one deluxe Dough Sticks package (retail value: $75), generously donated by Tina Shedd, owner and founder of telebaker.com. This deluxe package includes:
  • 3 sets of rolling guides (2 guides per set) in the following thicknesses: 4 mm (~1/8 in), 6 mm (~1/4 in), and 10 mm (~3/8 in)
  • 1 (11 x 16 ½-in/28 x 42-cm) silicone rolling mat
  • Shipping anywhere in the world

Tina’s Dough Sticks are unique insofar as they are wider and longer than most (2 x 18 in/5 x 46 cm) and have laser-etched ruling guides to allow you to space your cookies perfectly on your mat. And those guides won’t rub off, or even wash off in the dishwasher!

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And the winner (randomly chosen from among all of the challenge entrants) is . . . @Fernwood Cookie! Congratulations, @Fernwood Cookie! Enjoy your new Dough Sticks! For more information about Tina Shedd and her Dough Sticks, please visit her site and Facebook and Instagram pages. Thank you again, Tina, for such a generous donation to our challenge!

Kerri of Fernwood Cookie made not one, but TWO of our judges' favorite entries (remember, the more times you enter the challenge, the more chances you have to win!), one inspired by Morocco, and the other by Vietnam.

A Taste of Morocco by Fernwood CookietempOur judges loved the many different elements of Moroccan culture that were incorporated into this set and how they all fit together like a puzzle to tell one cohesive story. Everyone agreed that the use of isomalt to create the effect of pouring tea across multiple pieces of the puzzle was brilliant!

Vibrant Vietnam by Fernwood Cookietemp-2In her second entry, Kerri wove many different background shades of green and blue throughout this hex puzzle, which served to connect all of the different images. The bright colors and chosen subjects of the individual tiles immediately evoke the spirit of Vietnam!

Now, let's move on to our other spotlighted artists for this challenge, which we will present in no particular order. Their entries spanned this very diverse list of Anthony Bourdain's favorite destinations:
  • Spain
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Vietnam
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • Iran
  • Jamaica

Join me, won't you, as we travel the world through cookies!

Iran Set by Elke Hoelzle20180719_160538
We were absolutely floored by this spectacular entry by @Elke Hoelzle. I can hardly avert my gaze from the utterly captivating woman in the lower left corner of this photo. Our judges were mightily impressed by all of the intricate wet-on-wet and painted patterns of the woman's headscarf, the rug, and mosque. The miniature food is incredibly realistic. Elke totally knocked this one out of the park!

Eats & Arts of Paris, France by Piper GirlPractice Bakes Perfect #29 France
There are so many things to love about this entry. We loved all of the 3-D elements of this set, and were shocked, upon closer examination, to find that even the art easel was made of cookie! We also like how well @Piper Girl used so many different techniques and materials. Finally, I was very excited to find out that this was the first time Piper Girl had ever entered a Practice Bakes Perfect challenge. We hope to see many more challenge entries from Piper Girl in the future!

The Beauty of Morocco by Olivera Vlah20180710_172841
Morocco was, by far, the most popular country for this challenge (and, really, what is not to love about Morocco?!). Still, we were amazed by how different each and every Morocco-themed set of cookies was. The level of detail and texture in this set of cookies by @Olivera Vlah is incredible. The portrait of the water seller is really special. As one of our judges put it, "His expression feels so genuine and joyful!" Simply put, this is a masterfully executed set of cookies.

Tuscany by Alison FriedliIMG_4427"Vintage." "Weathered." "Earthy." "Authentic." These are just a few of the gushing descriptives our judges used to describe this Italian-inspired entry by @Alison Friedli. I really love all of the 3-D elements, but I was especially drawn to Alison's use of texturizing and then painting the cookie dough to create that unique vintage/weathered effect. Brava, Alison!

Japanese Silk Kimono by Annelise (Le Bois Meslé)DSC02893Annelise got this entry posted just under the challenge deadline, and I am so glad she made it! The inspiration for Annelise's entry was a stunning silk kimono that she received as a gift. (Please take a look at a photo of the actual kimono in the comments to this entry here!) Annelise did a tremendous job of distilling the floral and geometric pattern elements of the kimono to create this lovely, very cohesive set of cookies. The execution here is flawless.

Moroccan Patterns by Annelise (Le Bois Meslé)PBP 29 MoroccoThere are some sets of cookies that, for whatever reason, just speak to me. This is one of those sets. I cannot say enough about the colors here. They are so incredibly rich and extremely representative of the colors of Morocco. The piped and hand-drawn patterns are incredibly precise. Annelise ended up using a brownish "breakfast syrup" to glaze the blue tiles because she did not have access to corn syrup, and I love the vintage pottery effect she "accidentally" created! Both the colors and textures of the spice cookies are perfection. In fact, I honestly wondered, briefly, if Annelise hadn't poured the actual spices on top of the cookies! (Congratulations, Annelise on having TWO spotlighted entries!)

Beauty of Vietnam in Springtime by Kanch JBeauty of Veitnam in Spring time by Kanch JThis entry is by yet another first-time Practice Bakes Perfect challenge entrant - and what an ambitious attempt for a first-timer! I love that @Kanch J made this set of cookies based on her own original drawings. I also very much like the sense of depth and perspective she achieved, especially in the lantern and flower cart cookies. This set of cookies is simply lovely, and very evocative of the spirit of Vietnam. I hope we will see many more challenge entries from Kanch J in the future!

The Carnival of Brazil by AdriaIMG_7361
@Adria said that one of the inspirations for this set of cookies, other than Brazil, was my own challenge instructions to "have fun!". And what could be more fun that this colorful homage to Carnival?! I especially love the two-cookie head/headdress in this set. The double cookie really gives the subject dimension. It's a genius design!

Relaxation with Moroccan Roses by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.29The brilliant bit of this entry is how @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. made the gorgeous rose windows, piping the colorful patterns over SugarVeil lace. I also like how Ryoko took her inspiration and created an imaginary scene - a view from inside a beautiful Moroccan bath. Ryoko made a really fabulous tutorial showing how she created her incredible rose windows. I strongly recommend you check it out in the comments to her entry here. This technique is one you could use over and over again in many different settings, not just a Moroccan bath!

And with that, I conclude Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #29! I hope you enjoyed our virtual tour of the world, and are maybe even inspired by our artists to explore a corner of the world that is unfamiliar to you. You can go by car, train, plane, or computer. No matter the method of transport, definitely go! Anthony Bourdain would approve.

Stay tuned for our next challenge, which will post on or about August 19, 2018.

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.

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It was great to see what everyone came up with! And also interesting to follow who gets inspired by what of each of the countries!

Congratulations to everyone being featured here!
Hoping I will be able to join the next challenge again ♥

Congrats to Kerri @Fernwood Cookie, to the cookiers featured and to all the challenge entrants. Watching your cookies was like travelling the world and gave me a taste of those places you represented so well using so many different techniques and materials. Truly inspiring. 

Congrats to Kerri of @Fernwood Cookie

I am really happy to see my cookies with such detailed works by talented artists.   Needless to say all entries made me 😮 wow.   Congrats to all who made the entry   

I studied Morocco and I started confused.  I have never been there and it was hard to guess what I smell and what I hear, well I do not know why I thought those were important to make cookies but  I wanted to feel something.   

I reached the fragrance of rose 🌹 light through windows, the texture of walls, coolness of tiles and the dream to Morocco 

Thanks to @Bakerloo Station I do not think I would make cookies inspired by the country I have never been if it weren’t the challenge and I really would like to hear your trip to Asia, please come back to Japan and let me show you around my town, Christine.  

Congrats to @Fernwood Cookie! Your Cookies are absolutely beautiful!💕  and congrats to all other featured cookiers.
Also Thank you so much for appreciation of my work. It's a really great challenge.

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