Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I recently took a fondant class and afterwards decided it was time to try to make the real buttercream used by bakeries. It always intimidated me a little, but it is really rather easy. I wouldn't suggest attempting this if you don't have a stand mixer, your arm will be tired by the end! I have made two batches so far, one chocolate and the most recent an Andes mint chocolate (I had to know if it would be good and it is delicious in my opinion...can't wait to try it out on others - perhaps at Val's xmas party). It doesn't have a dark color to it, but that could possibly be due to the chocolate I used. Maybe black or brown food coloring would help deepen the color to fake the extra chocolately look, or using dark chocolate.

Chocolate Buttercream (adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe)

Ingredients
5 large egg whites - save the yolks for something else tasty
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate, or Andes mints, melted and cooled

Directions:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler style). Whisk continuously until mixture reaches 160 degrees, about 5 minutes.
The mixture will look white and fuller after the cooking period.
2. Transfer bowl to the stand mixer and beat egg whites on high until they become thick and fluffy and cooled (the bowl will no longer be warm to the touch). This will take about 10 minutes (I time it out) hence the importance of the stand mixer. :)
This is what it looks like after:
3. Reduce speed to medium and add in butter one tablespoon at a time.
4. Reduce speed to low and add in melted chocolate.
Here's a look at the melting of the Andes mints...I used the larger sized ones so there was less to unwrap. If not using mints, just use one bag of semisweet chocolate chips.
5. Up the speed to medium-high and mix until all incorporated, making sure to scrape sides of bowl.
6. Frost your favorite cake, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. After refrigeration, let frosting come to room temperature and re-whip with mixer before using.

I made a witch's hat cake for Halloween with my first batch of chocolate buttercream. Not the most perfect hat but it was fun to try! The Andes mint version is waiting in my fridge to be used on a birthday cake for friends this week. :)

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