Whenever a new challenge is posted, I always look forward to seeing the unique and creative designs that our members will develop to take their cookie decorating skills to the next level. I was especially interested to see the entries for this challenge since imprinted icing is a relatively unexplored technique. In this respect, both seasoned cookiers and those new to cookie decorating would be experimenting and learning together.
Seeing the entries come in, I was really impressed with all of the clever ways you incorporated beautiful and uncommon textures into your designs. These textures created so much visual interest and truly brought your cookies to life!
I also loved seeing the many interesting items you used to make your imprinted designs. Parchment paper was a popular choice since it's so versatile and easy to handle, and SugarVeil® mats were another popular choice that produced some very stunning results.
Speaking of SugarVeil®, let me remind you of the AMAZING PRIZE for this challenge. One lucky winner, who was chosen entirely at random from among all entrants, will receive a $100 gift certificate for SugarVeil® products, donated by Cookie Connection host and founder @Julia M. Usher. THANK YOU, Julia!
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #46 is . . . @LisaF! CONGRATULATIONS, Lisa! I'm sure you will find some great items to help with all of the cookie decorating that you do each week!
Lisa's entry was this vibrantly colored set of cookies that pays tribute to the breathtaking graffiti art that covers the shuttered doorways of Manhattan. Lisa achieved this ribbed look by placing parchment paper and then a cooling rack over the top of her flooded icing. This method is great because it uses common baking items found in most kitchens. Lisa's graffiti set was one of three entries she submitted. I encourage you to check out her other two entries to see just how versatile this imprinting method really is!
And now, here are our spotlighted artists for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #46. In no particular order . . .
At the Beach by Virago
Our judges agreed that this fun beach-themed set is filled with so many wonderful textures and colors. As one judge observed, "It's amazing to see so many different texture possibilities using just parchment paper with different types of folds. The various patterns and depths add such a unique and eye-catching element to this set." I like how @Virago has shown us that using simple marbling techniques, some basic imprinting items, and a little creativity can produce such beautiful results!
I always enjoy hearing the stories behind Ryoko's entries (in this case, it's about clean clothes and wrinkled laundry!). And I'm always impressed with the amount of time and effort that Ryoko puts into experimenting and learning about the different techniques and media that she uses, and how she always shares this information with us so that we can learn too. (Thank you, Ryoko!) For this challenge, Ryoko used several different items to create her various imprinted designs and, as @Julia M. Usher commented, "[Ryoko] didn't just try the technique in one abstract way, but wove different ones into the fabric of the story told with the cookies – with each technique specifically selected to best express each item." By doing so, Ryoko added wonderful interest and realism to her cookies!
This challenge was all about imprinted icing, and, with this entry, Kyra did an amazing job of keeping the focus entirely on the imprinted icing and the beautiful textures she created. The use of silver accents perfectly highlights the texture and pattern imprinted on each cookie. As one judge commented, "I love how she tried many different media and techniques to imprint royal icing. The result is a very cohesive cookie array." And keeping the cookies the same shape and color really allows the texture of the icing to shine through!
If you have ever seen any of the cookie sets that Petra has posted on Cookie Connection, then you will know that creating cookies rich with pattern and texture is part of her signature style. This challenge was no exception for Petra. She submitted a total of five entries, each one as uniquely textured and just as spectacular as the next. I liked this entry in particular because of how well Petra combines all of the different textures, some of which were imprinted directly on the cookies and others that were added as royal icing transfers. I also love that the textured icing has been done entirely in white, which allows it to contrast so beautifully with the deep shades of aqua, blue, and grey elsewhere in the entry.
Get Well Soon by Joanna ManuelThis entry was Joanna's first time trying imprinted icing, and, after a bit of practice, she created this wonderful set, which includes a thoughtful message. I liked this entry, partly because of the sentiment attached to it, but also because of Joanna's clever way of successfully overcoming many cookier's Achilles' heel: font work – and all without the use of projectors or edible markers and tissue paper. Imprinting letters is a brilliant idea that has so much potential to help make cookie decorating much easier. As one judge noted, "Joanna's contribution seems very simple at first glance, but it is so imaginative!" And both her message and the technique she used are filled with inspiration.
Zeena used over thirty cookies to create this impressive one-of-a-kind patchwork cookie quilt block. Equally impressive are the number of imprinting items that she used to create the textures. They include crumpled tin foil, parchment paper, silicone mats and molds, a plastic impression mat, and a paper cupcake liner (whew!), all of which are accentuated by a rich color palette. As Zeena herself observed, “Patchwork squares have different patterns, textures, and designs,” which is what makes this the perfect cookie project for the imprinted icing technique!
Creating lifelike texture using royal icing is not always an easy thing to do, however, Lisa did a fantastic job of creating realistic pavers and leaf impressions using only impression mats and colored dust powders. I especially like how Lisa used shading in between the stones to create depth and to enhance their three-dimensional look. The coloring of the imprinted leaves and the "imperfections" in the icing add wonderful character that make her cookies look like real fallen leaves on stepping stones. This entry was one of two submitted by Lisa. I recommend checking out her other entry to learn how she made perfect "folds" in her icing!
This amazing entry is one of three submitted by @Virago, and the second to be featured in our Spotlight. Virago's angels are divine! I love how the two-tone icing applied to the textured mats creates a stunning embossed look on the dresses. Notice the softly rounded raised pattern in her icing – this effect is something that can't be created with stencils. What I like best about this entry is that Virago has shown us a technique that produces stunning results, yet is easy enough for others to recreate with a little practice.
Everything you see in this set is edible. I don't know about you, but I never would have believed that those weren't real soap bubbles laying next to an actual crinkled piece of paper had it not been for Timea's detailed tutorial where she walks us through the process of creating her very realistic entry. As one judge commented, "Timea used the imprinting technique so creatively and purposefully in this set. The resulting textures lend impressive realism to the soap and accessories. The paper, with all of its little crinkles and tears, absolutely had me fooled!" Timea's keen attention to detail and outside-the-box thinking are what make this entry particularly noteworthy!
This elegant wedding set that Tina created is filled with visual interest, and the color, texture, and designs are perfectly balanced. I love how the imprinted icing sets a tone of understated elegance. As one judge noted, "In my experience, imprinted icing can get a little messy. That's why it's particularly well suited to more rustic objects (like concrete or paper bags). Tina controlled the icing beautifully in this set, capturing all of the textures without the air bubbles or unwieldy edges. She integrated the patterns seamlessly into very refined and clean wedding cookies, which shows not only great skill, but also a keen sense of design.'' Also of note is how the leaves, flowers, and other accents have been kept relatively simple. Not only does this allow the focus to remain on the more detailed imprinted icing, but it shows us that our designs do not have to be overly fussy in order to make an impression.
And that concludes another Practice Bakes Perfect challenge! Make sure you check out the whole clip set to see all of the amazing imprinted creations. They are filled with many wonderful ideas from which to draw inspiration for your next set of cookies! 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 around July 11, 2021. [EDITOR'S NOTE: The next challenge is posting a week later than usual, as we don't expect many people will be watching for it on Cookie Connection on the Fourth of July! ]
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.