We’ve got a little trick up our party sleeve that we thought might be one you’d like to hear a little about. It’s the oh-so-simple art of piping. Piping was always something that we saw as something only the Martha Stewart caliber entertainers were capable of, but every now and then we like a good challenge. So we gave it a shot. And what we discovered in the process was that piping was something ANYONE can and should try—its just too easy not to! The results will knock your socks off. It can make even the most meager dessert look red carpet worthy. The supplies are easily attained and very easily mastered. We typically use Wilton’s pastry bags, which you can get at any grocery store, and a very large and “wide open” pastry tip, which we acquired at our local cake decorating supply shop but can also be found online. We’ve piped cupcakes, pudding, phyllo cups, mini cheesecakes, macaroons, meringues…you name it! We have actually found that piping is easier and provides a much cleaner-looking result than the old spoon-and-finger approach. Not to mention the speed at which you can do it and clean it up.

A few examples of some of our the things we have piped or love seeing piped:

Miniature Cheesecakes

Macarons courtesy of The Culinary Life

Meringues courtesy of Simply Recipes

Miniature Cupcakes

Now….Wanna know how to do it?

  1. Cut tip off of the piping bag approximately 1 inch.
  2. Push piping tip into the bottom of the newly cut bag, making sure there is a secure fit and the tip fits snugly within the contour of the piping bag.
  3. Using a large drinking glass, place the piping bag (tip side down) into the cup. The excess bag at the top can be draped over the outside of the cup, holding the bag in place and freeing up your hands to fill the pastry bag.
  4. Place the stuff that you want to pipe into the bag (frosting, dessert, etc), but make sure that you only fill to about and inch below the top of the cup.
  5. Take the bag out of the cup, cinching the top with your hand (use the hand you write with to do this part).
  6. You’re ready to pipe! Gently use the opposite hand to guide the piping bag and the “cinching” hand to gently squeeze the bag—doesn’t take much squeezing or you’ll end up with a big mess.
  7. There are many different ways you can pipe, but we prefer the Hold It Still In The Middle of Your Treat and Squeeze approach (we’re working on patenting that phrase ;o). The mixture just magically spreads to the edges of your treat until you are satisfied with the amount and then you slowly lift the bag to give it a nice little icing/cheesecake/chicken salad tip. Another option would be to start in the middle and gradually swirl your way out like a swirl lollipop, but this takes a little more skill. It’s up to you which method you prefer.

Our only advice is to try it out and get the hang of how much (or how little) pressure it takes to pipe the amount you need before you launch into icing three dozen cupcakes. You’ll be amazed at your oh-so-professional results. Good luck, and we’d love to see your next piping project pictures!