So how do you use my favorite decorating tool once it’s made? Regardless of the decorating technique you choose, there are some basic cone handling instructions to always apply! Read on, and/or check out Lesson 4 in my cookie decorating video series.
What you’ll need to fill a cone, and pipe with it:
- A parchment pastry cone, or cornet (To make, see my step-by-step how-to!)
- Some (1/4 to 1/2 cup) Royal Icing
Filling and handling instructions:
1 | Fill the cone about half to two-thirds full with Royal Icing. Never fill all the way up, as some unfilled paper at the top is needed to create a grip in Step 2; plus, if you do, the icing is more likely to backflow out the top as you work. I also never start with a bag much less than half full, because my piping hand too quickly gets close to the work surface and obscures the very cookies I’m trying to decorate!
For cones made from standard parchment paper rolls (about 7 1/2 to 8 inches long; 3 1/2 inches wide at the mouth), you’ll need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup icing to fill the cone to this extent. Hold the cone at the notch as you fill so the weight of the icing doesn’t unravel the cone.
2 | As a safeguard to prevent icing backflow while piping, fold the two top corners of the bag down and toward the center of the bag.
3 | Make the grip by rolling down the top of the bag until it meets the icing.
4 | Cut a hole of the desired size in the tip. Be sure to cut straight across the tip if you want to create beads and perfectly rounded lines. Cutting at an angle will make more angular shapes and is something I generally don’t do.
5 | Before you work on any cookies, press some icing onto your work surface to release any trapped air in the tip of the cone and to test the icing flow. (Don’t do this, and you can experience minor icing explosions on your cookies!) Apply steady pressure from the grip to push the icing out through the tip. Do not squeeze from the middle of the cone, or you will constrict the flow of icing to the tip and increase the chances of icing backflow out the top. You’ll often see me steadying the tip of the cone with my forefinger, but don’t mistake that for applying any pressure at the tip.
Also, for well-rounded lines and other patterns, don’t drag the tip on your work surface (or cookie); you’ll end up with a rough, scuffed look. Instead, hold the tip of the cone just above your work surface, slowly guide the cone in the direction you want the icing to go, and allow the icing to fall into place.
As you use icing, continue to fold down the top of the cone, as opposed to choking down on the bag, which can cause icing backflow. For optimum control, you need constant tension on the bag to help push the icing through the tip – meaning the bag should always appear taut without any slack.
Need more help? Check out Lesson 4 in my new video series, available on DVD here or in the link below, to watch me making and working with a parchment cone.