Procedures for Decorating with a Paper Cone
Adapted from Professional Baking

The following instructions for using the cone and pastry bags are written for right-handed people. If you are left-handed, simply reverse the hands in the instructions.

  1. Make the paper cone as shown in illustrations
  2. Fill the cone about half full of icing. If the cone is too full, it is hard to squeeze, and icing is likely to come out the top.
  3. Fold down the top of the cone to close the open end.
  4. With scissors, cut off a very small piece of the tip of the cone. It is better to make the opening too small than too large. Squeeze out a little of the icing to test the cone. If necessary, cut off a little more of the tip to enlarge the opening.
  5. Hold the top end of the cone between the thumb and the first two fingers of the right hand. The fingers should be positioned so that they hold the folded end closed and at the same time apply pressure to squeeze the icing from the cone.
  6. The left hand does not squeeze the cone. Lightly hold the index finder of the left hand against the thumb of the right hand or against the cone in order to steady your right hand and help guide it.
  7. Different types of decorations and inscriptions are made by the following two methods for using the cone.

The falling method:
The falling method is so called because the cone is held above the surface, and the icing is allowed to fall or drop from the tip of the cone onto the surface being decorated. This method is used to make lines of even thickness on horizontal surfaces. Much, if not most, paper-cone work is done this way, generally with royal icing, fondant, chocolate fondant, melted chocolate, or piping chocolate.
Hold the cone vertically. Touch the tip of the cone to the surface attach the icing to the point where you want the line to start. Then, as you begin to squeeze the cone, lift the tip of the cone from the surface and start the line. Hold the cone about an inch (2.5 cm) from the surface as you trace your pattern. The thread of  icing is suspended in the air between the tip of the cone and the surface being decorated. Keep the pressure light and constant. To finish a line, lower the tip of the cone and touch the surface at the point where you want the line to end. At the same time, stop squeezing the cone.
This method allows you to make very fine, delicate lines and patterns while keeping the thickness of the line perfectly even. The opening in the tip of the cone should be cut quite small. At first, it may seem difficult to control the line while holding the cone an inch above the surface, but with practice you will be able to make very precise patterns.

The contact method:
The contact method is used in two cases: (1) When you want to vary the thickness of the line; (2) When you want to decorate a vertical surface, such as the side of a cake.
Hold the cone as you would hold a pen, with the tip in contact with the surface and at an angle of about 30 to 45 degrees. Draw lines as though you were drawing on paper with a pen. Control the thickness of the line by adjusting the pressure of your thumb. Squeezing harder makes a thicker line.
It takes a fair amount of practice to control the thickness of the line. Normally, it is best to practice the falling method first, until you make simple lines and patterns easily. Then, when you practice the contact method, you can concentrate on controlling pressure. In addition to royal icing, fondant, and chocolate, buttercream is also used for decorating with the contact method.

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