With many cookiers owning dozens – even hundreds – of cookie cutters, losing track of the identity of one or two is bound to happen. And, trying to decipher those "mystery" cutters can be a challenge all on its own. Fortunately, our Practice Bakes Perfect challenge entrants have shown that this needn't be the case. With a little creativity, our spotlighted artists have taken three mystery shapes and turned them into things completely different than the original designs, all the while making each shape look like it was purposefully designed for their reimagined creations.
But before the identities of the three mystery shapes are revealed – along with our entrants' creative interpretations of them – let me remind you of the AMAZING PRIZE for this challenge. One lucky winner, who was chosen entirely at random from among all of the challenge entrants, will receive a $100 gift card to Confection Couture Stencils' site, donated by Cookie Connection host @Julia M. Usher. Confection Couture Stencils is Julia's stencil and now cookie cutter partner!
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; it is always collected on the recipient's end. Other geographical shipping restrictions may apply from time to time, and we'll alert you if they're known in advance.
And the randomly drawn winner of Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #48 is . . . @Tarryn Meiring! CONGRATULATIONS, Tarryn! Confection Couture Stencils has lots of non-mystery cutter shapes, including those in Julia's new cookie cutter line, from which to choose, though the gift card applies to anything on their site! Julia will contact you within 48 hours with information about how to redeem your prize!
Love by Tarryn MeiringTarryn's randomly drawn entry (she had other entries that you'll see below as well) is this fantastic floral "LOVE" cookie. She did an excellent job of matching both the wording and the flowers to Mystery Shape #3. [EDITOR'S NOTE: It's almost as if she knew what the real shape is! Hint! Hint! Wink! Wink! ~ JMU]
I know you're eager to find out the identities of the mystery shapes, but let's first take a look at our entrants' interpretation of each shape. So, without further ado, here are our spotlighted entries for Practice Bakes Perfect Challenge #48, grouped by shape and difficulty level . . .
Mystery Shape #1 (Beginner)
Elephant in Boot by Petra FloreanIt now seems obvious that the curves of this shape were made for Petra's elephant and boot. Although I wouldn't have thought so from looking at my original graphic, Petra's sketch, which is posted below her clip, easily convinces us that this shape and design belong together. As one judge commented, "This design is so unexpected! I never would have thought to transform the shape into an elephant and a shoe, but now I can't see it any other way!"
Purple Octopus by Tarryn MeiringThis octopus design is a very clever idea. "I love Tarryn's creativity!," gushed one judge, adding, "Her octopus has such attitude (as though she's examining her manicured nails). The composition of the design makes the cookie seem pleasingly symmetrical even though the actual shape is quite irregular." Making this design work so perfectly with an irregularly shaped cookie is nothing short of impressive!
Sourdough Bread by PUDING FARMThe judges agreed that this cookie is one of the most original and creative, and is so well executed. "I really appreciated the brief tutorial where Timea shows us all of the steps and techniques used to create this miniature bread that fits the cookie shape exactly," said one judge. Another added, "Timea really took this challenge to the next level by leaving the cookie itself as the sole decoration. Her boules perfectly fill the rounded areas of the shape. The carving technique (which she so generously demonstrates in her video tutorial) is such an innovative way to decorate the cookie, and the result looks exactly like the open crumb of real loaves."
Trading Places by LisaF
I love how Lisa used this shape to create a fun and lively scene. One of our judges also commented, "I like how the scene fits the shape. The design looks very simple, but the fish flying out of the fish bowls add movement to the scene. The dimensional details of the eyes, their expression, and the various orientations of each fish add interest to this cookie." This design is definitely a unique and creative take on this shape!
Mystery Shape #2 (Intermediate)
Oftentimes a cookie cutter's intended design is actually less complicated than its seemingly complicated shape. And in this case, Petra has used this thinking to her advantage. Petra's hovering ghost holding a "BOO" banner is the perfect design for the meandering curves and asymmetry of this mystery shape. And her ghost has me thoroughly convinced that this design is in fact the intended one for this shape.
There is nothing about this design that looks as though it was placed simply to fill a void. Dita did an outstanding job of using the penguin's pose, along with a strategically placed gift and other decorations, to convince us that this design was meant for this shape. As one judge noted, "The penguin and its Christmasy accessories look completely natural and balanced on this shape, as though the shape was created for the design rather than the other way around."
Snowboarder by Tarryn Meiring
I am impressed with how well the snowboarder fits the shape of this cookie. Tarryn also did a fantastic job of creating movement and adding perspective to her design, which is not an easy mission to accomplish when given a predetermined shape. The proportions of the snowboarder are also accurately and realistically illustrated, which is what makes this entry worthy of recognition!
Mystery Shape #3 (Advanced)
Succulents in Pot by Petra FloreanPetra creatively used and arranged several different types of plants and vegetation to occupy this shape completely. One judge noted, "Gorgeous arrangement. The planter fills the cookie shape crosswise, and a cactus and a pumpkin nicely fill the space in the upper left and the lower right. The dimensional details and use of different techniques (piped leaves, pumpkin transfers, etc.) add dimension and depth to the cookie." This shape is very complicated and tough to design a planter box around, but Petra managed to do so quite masterfully!
Ghouls Just Want to Have . . . Candy! by BevHAfter seeing this entry, one judge commented, "Bev fills the space so beautifully that I would have guessed she hand-cut this shape specifically for this design. In fact, the design is so captivating, it took me a second to figure out which shape she had used; the cookie just disappears in the background." Wrapping the fondant layers of the ghosts around the sides of the cookie is a brilliant way to achieve this look. I love how Bev uses the free-flowing shape of the cookie to create a billowing look for her ghosts. The pose of the ghosts and the strategically placed pumpkins and loot bag cleverly convince us that this design is the true one for this shape!
Mystery Shapes Revealed!
And now, the moment you have been waiting for . . . here are our three mystery shapes revealed:
• Mystery Shape #3 is a cutter from Confection Couture Stencils
As you can see from the diversity of the decorated cookies, our entrants have proven that cookie cutters needn't be tied to a single design or idea. With a little imagination and some creative thinking, you can make cookie cutters and all mystery shapes anything you want them to be!
And that concludes another Practice Bakes Perfect challenge! Make sure you check out the whole clip set to see all of the creative and unique interpretations of our three mystery shapes. 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 November 7, 2021.
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.