Cookie Connection’s Watch-Learn-Create Challenge #57 has launched, and the world as we know it has been turned on end! Okay, I exaggerate! But normal operating procedure has been changed up insofar as regular challenge host Manu Pezzopane is our featured guest, and past featured guest Evelin Milanesi has assumed the role of guest host! It’s quite the mashup of cookie talent!

If you’re a member of Cookie Connection, you likely already know Manu quite well, but if not, here’s her cookie story in a nutshell to help you get acquainted. Manu, aka Manuela Pezzopane or Manu Biscotti Decorati as she’s known on social media, resides in Rome, Italy. She is the author of the popular Cookie Connection blog feature Made by Manu, where each month she shares the method behind a magical cookie of her own making. In March 2022, Manu also assumed the role of host of Cookie Connection’s rebranded and reformatted Watch-Learn-Create challenge series, which debuted in a virtual video format in July 2022. Manu began her cookie decorating journey in 2015 after making her first Christmas cookies and then immersing herself in my YouTube videos. Since then, cookie decorating has become Manu’s passion, and her mesmerizing video shorts have earned her a large and loyal following throughout the global cookie community.

In her challenge kickoff video, Manu, a longtime fan of royal icing transfers, explores stenciled royal icing transfers by making her signature wax seals and dimensional flowers – both simple but striking assemblies of stenciled royal icing. If you’ve ever worked with royal icing transfers, you’ll agree with Manu about how liberating they can be. They minimize the risk of messing up when directly piping on cookies, and they can be arranged time and time again on cookie tops before being iced into place, thus affording the ultimate design flexibility. Not to mention, they add a lot of dimension to otherwise flat cookies, especially when assembled into larger transfers as Manu does in her demo. While Manu’s video focuses on two royal icing transfer designs, her stencil-making, stenciling, and assembly techniques are universal and can be used to make transfers of any shape or size. In fact, at the conclusion of the demo, Manu and Evelin encourage viewers to enter Challenge #57 where they can apply Manu’s techniques to transfers of their own design.

As with all of Cookie Connection’s Watch-Learn-Create challenges, entrants to Challenge #57 have the rare opportunity to expand their cookie skills with one of the industry’s best, but they also get the chance to win phenomenal prizes! In this case, Manu is giving away three stencil sets of her own design, and I am gifting a surprise goodie box filled with decorating supplies gathered on recent teaching trips. For more information about challenge rules and how to enter, please visit the kickoff post on Cookie Connection. If you don’t want to enter but would like to check out Manu’s tutorial, that’s, of course, perfectly fine! Simply click on the previous link, or navigate to the “Guest Series” section of this site (under “TUTORIALS”) where you’ll find the video filed along with the other kickoff videos in Cookie Connection’s Watch-Learn-Create series. Enjoy!