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Jan 29, 2005 10:06 PM

Best Pastry Bag w/Tips

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I am finally going to try decorating cakes & cupcakes but have no idea which pastry bag is best to use and what tips I need to decorate cakes and cupcakes. I won't be making fancy flowers, just the general swirls and stuff. Does anyone know which Pastry bag is best for a novice? Which tip(s) would I need. Where in NYC can you buy them? Much appreciate your help.

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  1. I like using ziplock bags instead of pastry bags. Just cut off a corner and screw on the tip. Clean up is easy peasy!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Kimm

      I agree. If you're not doing anything fancy a ziplock bag will work fine. You don't even need to use a tip; just snip off a small bit of the corner and you'll get a nice round line. I do this to decorate gingerbread cookies all the time.

      1. re: Liz

        I tend to agree. I find cleaning a pastry bag to be a real pain in the patoot. I like to "roll my own" from the parchment paper triangles you can buy at a cake decorating store, but the ziploc bag idea is great since A) you don't need any special materials -- you already have them in your kitchen, most likely; and 2) by "zipping" them shut, you avoid the problem of learning to keep the stuff from coming out the top of the "roll my own" type bag.

      2. re: Kimm

        I use ziploc bags as well, but learned the hard way not to use the sandwich bags- they split. (I thought it would be smart for the small amounts of icing I needed for accents.) Use freezer bags or something more heavyweight.

      3. I went to my local restaurant supply and bought ateco bags and tips and have had them for years with no problems. Richie

        1. There are alsways the ubiquitous Wilton tips and bags. I kind of like the bags, though they don't last for heavy use. Wilton stuff in general is flimsy and overpriced-don't go near the pans! That said, Wilton is the training wheels of the decorating world. Many people start out with the classes (teacher skill varies WILDLY)with the extremely nasty Crisco frosting. Any crafts store like AC Moore or Michaels would have a class or someone who could explain drop tips and roses. One caution: Wilton magazines and some classes are emphasizing fondant shapes - personally, I'd eat Crisco before Play-Dough, but that's a tough call.

          I like Ateco tips in parchment paper bags for little jobs like cookies or cupcakes - you can have lots of bags for lots of colors!

          1. I don't use tips much, but for casual yes I've never seen any difference among the different manufacturers. Ateco seems to have have the widest selection of shapes and sizes, but that may just be what I've seen. Bags are mostly an issue of cost and clean-up. Not using them constantly, I can't imagine you could damage any of the ones I've seen and a bag is, after all, a bag. I like the baggie idea, can't believe that never occurred to me!

            In Manhattan, a few places jump to mind. There must be places in the other boroughs, but I haven't seen any in the parts of Brooklyn and Queens I get to regularly.

            Bridge Kitchenware and Zabar's both have some, but a pretty limited, utilitarian selection. Broadway Panhandler has a much wider selection and if they follow their general pattern, probably the best prices. NY Cake and Decorating probably has the widest selection, but their prices are often ridiculous. Sometimes they surprise you by being normal - they're never a bargain - but watch out. On the other hand, NYC Cake is worth a trip at least once just to look around. (It's on W 23rd just east of 6th.)

            I think I rememeber being told about another baking supply place in that general vicinty, but someone else will have to fill in the details, I have no recollection of what/where, etc.