After seeing all of the amazing entries submitted for our Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #39 - Food, I must say that our mission of turning Cookie Connection into "Food" Connection was a success! You managed to create some incredibly realistic looking "food" cookies, and I am in awe of all of the effort that went into each entry. It was wonderful to hear the stories behind your creations, as well as the things you were most proud of and what you learned. The tutorials and step-by-step photos that you shared were awesome, and I know that many people learned tremendously from it all. Thank you for contributing such a wealth of information to the Cookie Connection community.
I also learned that, even with the help of my fellow judges, picking ten entries to spotlight was NOT an easy task because EVERYONE did such an amazing job.
But before we get to our spotlighted entries, I would like to remind you of our fabulous prize for this challenge. One winner, who was chosen entirely at random from among all of the entrants, will receive the entirety of Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher's CookieCon 2020 swag bag! 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, below)! Wow!
[EDITOR'S NOTE: And just because you all - @Sweet Prodigy included - did such a remarkable job on Sweet Prodigy's inaugural challenge, I'm tossing in a few more sweet surprises that recently came my way via Sugarin. They include some concentrated colorings as well as Arati Mirji's famous sugar paste, which our own @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. has come to love. Ryoko used it for both her rose petals and lettuce in this very challenge! ~JMU]
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #39 is . . . @LisaF! CONGRATULATIONS, Lisa! Lisa's wonderful entry was this sweet-filled bakery set, and it is just one of two entries that she submitted for this challenge. You can see her other terrific popcorn entry here. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't you just love the teeny pores in her tiny cake layers?! As they say, God is in the details! Well done, Lisa! ~JMU]
Bakery Sweets by LisaF
And now, here are our spotlighted artists for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #39. In no particular order . . .
Learn to Make Lemonade by Andrea CostoyaThis entry is a great example of creating a cookie and then taking it to the next level. Let's start with those lemons. You really have to zoom in to appreciate all of the details that went into making them look just like the real thing. The texture and shading of the lemons and foliage, and the way that they have been shaped and molded, are what make this entry stand out. Add to that Andrea's gravity-defying isomalt "juice", and you have a very creative and original piece of cookie art. The judges also took note of the positive message behind this fabulous entry!
Sri Lankan Breakfast Hopper Meal by Kanch J
I love how @Kanch J, aka Kanchana, created this traditional Sri Lankan breakfast by using several different techniques and media in very unique and creative ways. Her hoppers are a great example of this. They combine fondant, royal icing, gel colors, and icing sugar, and require several steps and techniques to create their shape, texture, and color. I also like how Kanchana created her other food items – each with their own unique techniques – in a very effective way that makes this breakfast look so much like the real thing!
Sushi Called "Chirashi-zushi" by Ryoko ~Cookie Ave.In this entry, @Ryoko ~Cookie Ave. used some great out-of-the-box thinking to create her chirashi-zushi. One judge observed: "Her use of gelatin, both in the 'roe' and as 'soy sauce' paint, is particularly effective and inspiring." I also like how Ryoko stretched herself beyond her usual style to try new things – like her sakura flower – for the first time. If you read Ryoko's comments under this entry and her "Pancakes" entry, you will get a sense of just how much thought and planning goes into her work. And bonus points go out for piping all those grains of rice one by one!
Miniature Food on Cookie by Evelindecora
The attention to detail on this cookie is impressive enough, but add to that the scale (one-twelveth actual) – a challenge even for @Evelindecora – and you have an outstanding piece of cookie art. I love how Evelin used multiple media and clever techniques to create some very realistic looking food items. As an example, take a look at those tiny royal icing dots, which she piped, inverted, and then handpainted to look like apples. (Wow!) All of the wonderful details and techniques that Evelin has so expertly applied are what make this miniature masterpiece look completely believable!
Tea Treats by ZeenaLooking at this entry, one cannot help but notice the sheer quantity of "treats" on this dessert tray. The variety and the details are nothing short of impressive. I love how @Zeena used several different media and techniques to create all of her unique dessert pieces. I also adore the tea set, with its elegant details. One of our judges noted that it was great to read that this was a learning experience for Zeena, as she made her first molded and 3-D cookies. This dessert tray is truly a treat for the eyes!
Splash by PUDING FARMThere are two things things that stand out with this entry. The first is its wonderful attention to detail. I love how @PUDING FARM, aka Timea, used different colored dusts and precision-piping to produce the fine details we see in her raspberries. The second is how she masterfully brought everything to life. My fellow judges said it best: "I love the stark contrast between the vibrant red berries and the bright white of the cream; the construction is creative and clean; the realism is incredible; and the dynamic movement of the molded icing 'splash' is nothing short of brilliant." And another: " . . . the movement is so perfect. The photography – shadows in particular – accentuate the splash and even make the raspberries appear to be in motion." This entry is a great example of creative thinking!
Beverages by Yulia Bunnell
I appreciate how Yulia went in a completely different direction with her entry by keeping everything all in one plane. Even so, her artistry really gives the impression that these beverages are three-dimensional. "She did an impressive job of capturing the transparency and shine of the glass and liquids," observed one judge. I would also add that the ice cube splashing into the glass truly brings everything to life. And the subtle gradation of airbrushed color, expertly applied around the edges, perfectly highlights her beverages without us even realizing it!
Nachos by The Sophistibaker
This mini bowl of nachos is a great entry by @The Sophistibaker, aka Patricia. I love how so much detail is packed into this tiny curved cookie, which, as you can see in the original post, fits neatly into the palm of Patricia's hand. The "nachos" and "ground beef", all royal icing transfers, add so much realism, as do the other "toppings." Patricia did a convincing job by layering all the ingredients so perfectly. One judge noted: "The attention to detail was fabulous." And another summed it up nicely by saying: " . . . all of the different components, and particularly the painting, come together to make a very real looking bowl of nachos."
Summer Barbecue by MANUELA CANTÙ
Filled with so many miniatures, this summertime smorgasbord is another feast for the eyes. I applaud how Manuela so wonderfully created the look of perfectly grilled vegetables, burgers, and sausages with all those teeny scored marks. I especially like the wrinkles on the tomatoes. The barbecue sauce and bread are also convincingly realistic, and everything is presented so perfectly on a "brick" cookie base. But . . . what wows me the most is how this "meal" gives no hint of the sweet ingredients that it is made of!
Chicken Parmesan by sylviawilson
Even though Sylvia did an incredible job of showing us how she masterfully created her entry, I still found it difficult to convince myself that this was not last night's dinner. As one judge commented: "The shine of the plate; the thin, distinct noodles; the combination of different cookie crumbs in the 'breading' - I can't get over how real this chicken parm looks!" Another judge noted: "The attention to detail is fabulous." And it is this attention to detail that makes this entry so very impressive!
There are many more entries beyond the ones in this recap that are also quite noteworthy. I highly recommend taking a look at the whole clip set, as there is so much to see and learn. Thank you to everyone who participated, liked, and commented on the entries. Make sure to look for our next challenge, which will post on or about May 17, 2020.
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.