How to pipe icing or frosting from a decorating bag fitted with couplers and tips is an essential part of cookie decorating. This is how I hold my decorating bag.
how to pipe icing
You won’t get far in cookie decorating if you can’t pipe icing or frosting. Good news! It’s easy. And ultimately, “how to pipe icing” is how it is most comfortable for you.
How to hold a decorating bag: No matter what you may think of me for admitting this truth, I love Martha. I believe there is little she doesn’t know about the domestic (and business) world, and I concur with the general assumption of her flawlessness.
Except… for how she holds a frosting bag. It seems to not inhibit her piping skills (by “piping” I mean squeezing the frosting bag in a controlled way). But whenever I see her decorating cookies, cakes, gingerbread houses, whatever, she consistently uses huge, full frosting bags. The bigger the bag, the harder to control. I ache to reach into the TV to relieve her hands.
Until you master total control over your frosting bags, perfectly–or near perfectly–decorated cookies and cakes will be impossible. It does take time and practice, of course, to learn how to manipulate the bags and to choose exactly the right tips. But knowing how to properly hold a frosting bag can help immensely.
First, fill your bags half way. Only put about 1/2 to 3/4 cups of frosting in the bag. If the bag is too full, you can even twist the bag in the middle and hold at the twisted section.
Second, hold the bag with your dominant hand at the top, by the rubber band, or, if the bag is too full, at the twisted section in the middle. Your thumb and forefinger should be at either of these places, and the frosting resting in your palm. As though you are holding a glass of water. Or a gin and tonic.
Third, rest your other hand on top of your dominant hand. It’s very important to use two hands when decorating, even if you only squeeze with the dominant hand.
Fourth, hold the bag at a 45 degree angle to the cookie (or parchment paper, if you’d like to practice first). Squeeze steadily and constantly. Let the tip hover a bit above the cookie or paper. Don’t use the tip to push the frosting around. The frosting should fall to the cookie or paper. The only time you come close to the surface is starting and stopping.
By the way, these photographs are from my book, Cookie Sensations, and yes, that is my hand. I hired a fabulous photographer, but I’ve not yet made it far enough to hire a hand model. (Ooh, updating years later. Cookie Sensations is pretty much extinct, but you might be able to find Sugarlicious.)
Good luck! And check back for more tips and techniques. Or just ask me stuff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
cookie decorating resources
the best recipes for cookie decorating, including sugar cookies, sugar cookie icing, buttercream frosting, vegan sugar cookies, and more
where to buy cookie decorating supplies