Monday, November 8, 2010

Buttercream Frosting

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.

This makes a LOT of frosting, so you might consider making half if you're icing one cake or one batch of cookies.
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • a candy thermometer

1) Combine whites and salt in a large bowl (your mixer if you have one). 

2) Stir together water and 1 1/3 cups sugar in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring. 

3) When syrup reaches a boil, start beating egg whites with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until frothy (see below for example).

4) Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat at medium speed until whites just hold soft peaks. (Do not beat again until sugar syrup is ready.) 

5) Put thermometer into sugar syrup and continue boiling until syrup registers 238 to 242°F. Immediately remove from heat and, with mixer at high speed, slowly pour hot syrup in a thin stream into whites, beating constantly. 

6) Beat until meringue is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes in a standing mixer or 15 with a handheld. (It is important that meringue is properly cooled before proceeding.)

 7) This is the time to add food coloring if you are going to. 

8) With mixer at medium speed, gradually add butter 1 piece at a time. (Buttercream will look soupy after some butter is added if meringue is still warm. If so, briefly chill bottom of bowl in a bowl of ice water for a few seconds before continuing to beat in remaining butter.) 

9) Continue beating until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all of butter is added but will come back together by the time beating is finished.) Add vanilla and beat 1 minute more.
10) Frost your cake, cupcakes, cookies. Place in refrigerator for half an hour to set frosting before serving.
You can refrigerate what you don't use for a week, or freeze it for a month. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature (without a microwave) before applying it.

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