Category Archives: Assembling Pastry Bags & Cones

How to Make a Parchment Cone

Ever since I put up the post about assembling a plastic pastry bag, I’ve been besieged by requests for instructions on how to make a traditional paper pastry bag or “cone.” I confess I don’t use these much, though they’ve been the #1 tool of every professional or semi-professional cake and/or cookie decorator I’ve ever known. Why don’t I use them very often? Because a.) I’m not a particularly good decorator and b.) I’m lazy. Every time I set out to make a paper cone I have to think hard to remember the process. I don’t like doing that. I much prefer to avoid thinking and just whip out the plastic bags and tips I’m accustomed to. However it must be admitted that a paper cone vastly increases the amount of control the decorator has over where icing goes. So if you can get in the habit of using paper cones, your decorating — and especially your writing — will improve noticeably. Make a few and the process will soon be second nature.

So then. You’ll want to begin with a square of parchment paper. Here I’ve trimmed a rectangular sheet into a square.

Using scissors, cut the square from corner to corner into two triangles. (Alternately, you can be slick about it and simply fold it, then use a sharp knife to slit the piece in two along the crease).

Set one piece aside. You might think the point of triangle up at the top is what’s going to end up as the point of our cone. It would be very natural to think that. Intuitive, even. You’d be wrong, is all. The point is actually going to be the exact center of the long side of the triangle, at the bottom. I’ll show you how we’ll make that happen. Begin by taking up one of the far corners of the triangle…

…and curling it around until the points meet. Ah yes, ze cone, she is already beginning to take her shape, yes?

At this point you might want to apply a piece of tape to secure it. This works great for parchment that isn’t silicone-coated, not so well for parchment that is. In the latter scenario, the tape will hold only very briefly, if at all.

So alright, we still have another corner to deal with. What you’ll want to do is grasp it and curl it around the back of the cone, thus creating a double layer of parchment.

Pull it tight, so the points all touch (or almost touch).

Fold the pointy part down and inward…

…and voilà there’s your pastry cone. See how sharp that tip is. You can use a scissors to cut whatever size hole you wish (but wait until it’s filled with icing, since the cone will want to unravel at this point if you let go).

To load the cone with icing, take a generous scoop with a spatula, and insert it into the cone.

Pinch the cone and remove the spatula, thus leaving the icing inside. Do that a few times and your cone will be fully loaded.

Now then all you need to do is fold the excess from the far end down to enclose the payload. There are formal methods for doing this, but frankly, I don’t care what they are. Any old folding or crinkling will do the job.

All you need to do now is cut an opening and apply a little pressure. Like so:

Kinda cool, yes? Yes.

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How to Assemble a Pastry Bag

Trained pastry chefs are taught elaborate techniques for fashioning pastry bags out of folded paper. I admire that, but I also have things to do and places to go. So when I need to do a little piping, say of jam into a doughnut, I go the pre-fab route. The basic components, tips and couplers, can be had at many specialty shops. As for the bags, not being a decorating professional, I vastly prefer the cheapie pre-made plastic versions over the real fabric bags. You can also use Ziploc bags if you want, though I’ll warn you now that those things tend to pop open at inopportune moments.

Experienced pastry people out there will probably say the process of putting together a pastry bag is obvious. That may be true, but obviousness didn’t prevent me from spending a bewildering hour fiddling with the pieces the first time I tried it. So for those who might be a little intimidated, I offer this short tutorial. Start with a tip of your choice, here a monster #230 for filling doughnuts, plus a two-part coupler and a bag.

Hey wait! That bag doesn’t have a hole in it! See what I mean? The process isn’t intuitive at all! You have to snip the end off with scissors. How much depends on the size of the coupler. You may need to experiment a little, but the idea is you want a snug fit for the coupler. Trim off about three quarters of an inch:

Then insert the coupler into the bag and push it toward the hole you made. You don’t want it to protrude out of the hole, since the idea is to pinch the bag between the base and the collar. Push it in tightly. Ideally, you’ll stretch the plastic a bit so it’s tight over the coupler’s threads.

Once the base is in place, put the tip on…

…then the collar, and just screw it down.

You’re done! Wasn’t that obvious? No, in fact it really wasn’t.

Filed under:  Assembling Pastry Bags & Cones, Techniques | 12 Comments