Pastry bags and tips are standard for any cake decorator or home cook who likes to make the occasional swirl or rosette on top of their cupcakes or tortes. There are dozens of star tips from which to choose, in both types small and large sizes but if we had to pick a desert-island (should that be dessert island?) star tip, the Wilton 1M would win, hands down. Why? After decades of decorating and using pretty much every tip out there, this is the one that not only makes the prettiest swirls and rosettes, but does so effortlessly. When you see cupcakes in a bakery window with those perfect swirly mounds of icing, many times a 1M was at the helm.
The funny thing about star tips is that they all look fairly similar, and maybe that’s why home bakers haven’t branched out once they’ve tried one or two. A good analogy might be how you think you might have two pieces of clothing that are the same red, but when you put then side by side, you can see that they are not the same color – subtly so, but still different. So it is with tips.
In the image you can see, left to right, an Ateco 9885, Ateco 844, Wilton 1M, Ateco 842 and Ateco 824. The variations are not so subtle (like the #9885) to very subtle, but if you look closely at the 1M, you will see that the opening is very clearly defined, with straight lines and an opening that is neither too open nor too closed. Perfect.
Another thing to remember is that pastry tips are cheap, less than $2 in most instances and if cared for well, they will last a lifetime.
The 1M can make straight lines (top), simple kisses, small rosettes, big swirls and s-curves (left to right, middle row) and shells (bottom left). With a 1M loaded in your pastry bag, you will have some of the prettiest cakes ever coming out of your kitchen.