Friday, April 13, 2012

Silky Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My choco-holic husband said about this icing:
"It's like eating a chocolate cloud."

What You Need:
4 Egg whites
1 cup Sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) Unsalted butter (at room temperature)
4 oz. Melted dark chocolate
1-3 Tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 Tbsp. Vanilla (optional)
Special equipment, etc.:
Candy thermometer
Saucepan with about 1/2 inch water
Lemon juice or vinegar & paper towels

Click the link to see my complete tutorial on making this kind of icing, known as Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I will give you the entire recipe here, but I have a few extra tips and "be careful about's" on the Vanilla Buttercream Tutorial.

Always start any meringue icing by wiping down all of your equipment with lemon juice or vinegar. This takes away all of the grease.
Then, in a double-boiler, or in your mixer bowl above a pot of simmering water, combine the sugar and egg whites, whisking the entire time... until the mixture reaches 160-degrees (F). (This is the egg-safe temperature. Don't cheat here!)

Allow that to cool for about 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 4 oz. of dark chocolate. Set aside to cool a bit. (I usually melt my chocolate in the microwave on 30% power. Check and stir it every 30 seconds or so.)

Cut your butter in to about 1 Tbsp. chunks.
*Note: I eliminated 2 ounces (half of a stick) of the butter because I was adding so much melted chocolate. I felt like they were interchangeable. You can leave it in, take it out, whatever.

Whip your egg white mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form. In my stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, that usually takes about 4-5 minutes.

Add the vanilla when you switch to the paddle attachment.

Then add the butter, melted chocolate and cocoa powder. I usually have the mixer running on low speed while I add these things in.

Then turn it up to high speed to whip the mixture to a yummy icing consistency. (It will turn soupy at first... that's okay!)

*Note: Because I was impatient and added the chocolate while it was still really warm, my icing took a while to come to the right consistency. I had to put the whole bowl into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool it so that it would whip up. 

I realized while I was doing this that I "listen" to my icing a lot when I'm mixing it. I know it's ready when the sound goes from a "thwack, thwack, thwack" of the paddle in what sounds super soupy to a more quiet mixing of what's basically a whipped meringue that doesn't flop around as much.  Please feel free to ignore this "tip" if it makes no sense to you... and if you're not weird and don't listen to your icing talk to you!

You can then spread this icing on a cake, pipe it on cupcakes, or lick it straight from the bowl. Your call.

Click the Links Below to See:
Decorator's Chocolate Buttercream Icing
Chocolate Ganache Icing/Frosting 
Other Chocolate Ideas and Recipes

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