Photo: Courtesy of Elise Strachan

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That You Already Have the One Tool That Makes Every Decorating Job a Snap
The unsung hero of almost every showstopping dessert that Strachan pulls off isn't an expensive item she picked up at a specialty baking shop—it's a plain old zip-top bag. She uses these jacks-of-all-trades in so many ways. One of her favorites is to store leftover candy melts (which she uses to make cake pops and to decorate cupcakes with); she pours the melted chocolate into a bag, flattens it out, lets it cool and refrigerates or freezes it. Then, she just breaks off whatever she needs for another project. Strachan also loves to turn the bags into piping tools for frosting cookies and cakes. Snip a small triangle off one corner to make a hole and either squeeze the frosting straight through, or insert a piping tip for a star, petal or other shape.