Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thou Shall Eat Buttercream Frosting

As someone who is perenially terrified of things such as trans fats, partially hydrogenated anything, and high fructose corn syrup, I decided a long time ago that I would no longer purchase frosting from tubs at the grocery store. Though delicious, store-bought frosting is the intersection where all of these scary ingredients come together.

This realization never really bothered me because my wise mother had pointed me to the direction of a Domino's powdered sugar box, which, if you've ever looked on the side, has an ages old buttercream frosting recipe which is easy and is hands down a favorite that people have always enjoyed. I used this recipe for everything, but two of its ingredients have recently proved problematic for me: milk and butter.

A couple of weeks ago, I made cupcakes and took the opportunity to play around with two separate recipes: veganizing the Domino's recipe and applying the same techniques to the Barefoot Contessa's unbelievable peanut butter frosting. I was truly pleased with the results; the buttercream frosting was decadent and, I think, tasted identical to the Domino's recipe, and the peanut butter frosting was so good...that maybe I finished up the leftovers as a snack. I'm just saying...

Both recipes are below and can easily be increased in size.

"Buttercream" Frosting - Vanilla and Chocolate
Yields: Frosting for 12-15 cupcakes

2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. non-dairy butter substitute, softened (Earth's Balance Vegan Buttery Spread is still my fave)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. soy milk or soy creamer
1-2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa (if making chocolate frosting)

1) Cream together sugar and butter substitute until mostly mixed (it won't mix all the way without the liquid ingredients)
2) Slowly add the soy milk or creamer until the desired level of creaminess while mixing the ingredients on high. A little goes a long way here; I would start with 1 Tbsp and gradually work your way up. If you inadvertently add too much milk, you can add more sugar to even out the mixture.
3) Mix in vanilla. For vanilla frosting, stop here; you're done!
4) If you would like to make chocolate frosting, add 1-2 Tbsp. of cocoa, a little at a time, until desired chocolatey-ness. I tend to use a heaping spoon of cocoa. I have found that 1 Tbsp isn't quite enough, but once I used more than 2 Tbsp. and found that there was a slightly bitter aftertaste, so I'd add a little cocoa at a time. (A special thank you to Dave Lieberman, author of Young and Hungry, whose chocolate icing recipe was the inspiration for my own adaptation.)

Peanut Butter Frosting, adapted from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa
Yields: Frosting for 12-15 cupcakes

1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter**
1/4 c. non-dairy butter substitute, like Earth's Balance, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. soy creamer

1) Cream together sugar, peanut butter, butter substitute, and vanilla, until well mixed.
2) Slowly add soy creamer while mixing the ingredients at high speed until the ingredients are blended and smooth.

**After reading my opening paragraph of this post, you will probably be surprised to read that, for this recipe, I don't recommend natural peanut butter; though I love it and use it elsewhere, I would use a shelf-stable creamy peanut butter. This probably seems odd, since shelf-stable peanut butters often have partially hydrogenated oils. However, if you poke around your grocery store shelf, you will can probably find a stabilized peanut butter that does not contain these ingredients. When baking, I use 365 Everyday Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, which is found at Whole Foods and is delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment