Substituting milk, semisweet, and dark chocolates for frosting


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I help a lady make cakes and cupcakes and their frostings for soldiers deploying to places unknown but often to the Middle East. Much of the ingredients are donated and include cake mixes. Still, I just can't bring myself to use the canned frosting on the shelves at Walmart. They taste like a massive dose of raw corn starch. So instead, using the recipe below, I use (donated) semisweet chocolate chips to make it and butter or margarine that I buy on sale. The frosting is very good. Problem is, I just got a load of chips that contained milk chocolate and dark chocolate chips. How do I adjust to make up for the differences and wind up with comparable volumes of frosting? Use more sugar for the dark chips and, for the frostings made with milk chocolate, increase the butter and skip the sugar altogether?

I've done some Googling with no luck. Any easy and authoritative answers?

Fluffy, Creamy, Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place the chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave them for 90 seconds, at 50% power, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir until smooth. Let cool to almost room temperature, do not skip the cooling step. (The chocolate can also be melted in a glass bowl over a simmering pan of water on the stove. Use whichever method works for you, just melt it slowly, until the chocolate is smooth.)
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat again. Scrape the sides and add the remaining powdered sugar. Continue beating for about a minute, scraping the sides as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and the cooled chocolate and beat on high for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides as necessary, until the frosting is creamy, smooth, and very fluffy. Spread across the cake of your choice, or just grab a spoon. Enjoy!
 
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1. butter based icing requires refrigeration. Are you trying to give our soldiers food poisoning?


2. powdered sugar butter icing is poor quality icing not any better than shortening powdered sugar icing. Fat and powdered sugar icing is still fat and powdered sugar icing—it doesn’t matter if the fat is animal fat or vegetable fat. It is still fat and powdered sugar.

3. You don’t have to make any adjustments just because they color chips are milk or dark chocolate.
 
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  • But I thought buttercream frosting WAS butter and powdered sugar frosting. What else is there? (Besides, butter has flavor; shortening doesn't.)
  • So if I want the frosting to taste like the results you get with the recipe I posted, I don't have to make the dark chips sweeter or somehow mute the sweetness of the milk chocolate chips? There's no difference among them from the dark to the milk chocolates?
  • Some of the soldiers are health conscious. Vegetarians, I guess. When the military kitchen provides them sandwiches, a few will throw the ham away and eat the rest, even if it's low-fat ham. The majority go for the cakes and the cupcakes. Besides, I'm making the only frosting I know, unless I Ieave out the chocolate, compensate for the volume loss with more butter, and throw in a couple of tsps. of lemon extract and add some yellow food coloring. Then it's lemon frosting. :)
 
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  • But I thought buttercream frosting WAS butter and powdered sugar frosting. What else is there? (Besides, butter has flavor; shortening doesn't.)
  • So if I want the frosting to taste like the results you get with the recipe I posted, I don't have to make the dark chips sweeter or somehow mute the sweetness of the milk chocolate chips? There's no difference among them from the dark to the milk chocolates?
  • Some of the soldiers are health conscious. Vegetarians, I guess. When the military kitchen provides them sandwiches, a few will throw the ham away and eat the rest, even if it's low-fat ham. The majority go for the cakes and the cupcakes. Besides, I'm making the only frosting I know, unless I Ieave out the chocolate, compensate for the volume loss with more butter, and throw in a couple of tsps. of lemon extract and add some yellow food coloring. Then it's lemon frosting. :)


The reason fine patisseries Do not use that horrible butter/shortening and powdered sugar icing is it’s cloying sweet. It’s also dense and greasy. It’s a very poor quality icing.

If you have refrigeration Swiss meringue buttercream. It’s a base of meringue with butter whipped into it.

The eggs whites and sugar are heated to 160°F, then whipped into the meringue. Butter is then beaten into the whipped in. Melted chocolate or whatever flavoring is then added.

it’s a little involved but it’s by far the superior buttercream. If you want a recipe of post one for you. But it’s in metric weight so you’ll need a food scale.

Most pastry chefs use Italian meringue buttercream which is also a meringue but made with a boiled sugar syrup. But you need to hold eggs at a temperature of 132°F for at least six minutes to ensure salmonella is killed. And with the Italian method you can’t guarantee that the egg whites are at that temperature for six minutes, so I wouldn’t serve it to the soldiers. So it’s better to go with Swiss meringue.
 
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Then please post that recipe. I think I saw both types of meringue mentioned on the great British baking show but really never looked into the differences. I figured they were pretty much all the same. For me meringue is beaten egg white, then you add sugar, then you beat it some more until it is stiff. Then you top your pie with it. Then again, they made so many things on that show I’d never heard of . . .

Oh, and does that meringue buttercream have to be refrigerated even after it has been put on the cupcakes? We have a culinary school at a community college near me. Now if only they would offer courses to the curious public.
 
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Swiss Meringue Buttercream



Ratios

  • Egg whites 100%
  • Sugar 122%
  • Butter 260%
  • Fine Sea Salt



Notes: Eggs whites should be heated to 160°F to ensure salmonella is killed. A n unsalted butter with 82% - 83% butter fat is best. Plugra, Land O Lakes are two brands that I use with good results. C&H or Domino Cane Sugar is recommended for best results.



Batch
  • 175g egg whites
  • 215g sugar, divided into equal portions
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 455g unsalted butter, 68°F
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar


Equipment:
  • Stand mixer
  • Whisk attachment
  • Paddle attachment
  • Hand whisk
  • Instant read thermometer
Pot large enough to set mixer bowl over



Method

Fill pot large enough to hold mixer bowl without the bowl touching the bottom. Fill with a few inches of water. Water should not touch the bottom of mixer bowl. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.


Place egg whites, HALF the sugar, salt in mixer bowl. Hand whisk to combine.

Place mixer bowl over simmering water. Whisking slowly and continuously to prevent eggs from cooking. Heat egg mixture to 160°F. The sugar will dissolve as the egg whites heat. If you pause for a few seconds, it will not destroy the egg whites. When egg whites reach 160°F remove from heat and attach bowl to stand mixer.

With whisk attachment, beat egg mixture on medium speed (kitchenaid #4) for about a minute. Egg whites will be translucent, but very bubbly. Add Cream of Tartar and continue to beat on medium speed another minute, until egg whites begin to turn from translucent to white.


Gradually pour in the remaining sugar.


Increase speed to med-high (kitchenaid #6).


Beat until a quite reach stiff peak. The egg whites will go from dull white to very smooth and glossy. I always watch the ring of egg whites up against the bowl. When that ring looks smooth and glossy, I know the egg whites are ready.



Stop mixer. Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment.


On low speed (kitchenaid #2) begin adding butter, a one or two smashed cubes of butter at a time. Allow the cubes to incorporate a bit before adding additional cubes of butter.


After all the butter has been added, set a timer for eight minutes. Now walk away. The buttercream will probably look like soup. In fact, the minute you begin adding a butter it will deflate. This is perfectly normal. Have faith. Set the timer walk away.


When the timer goes off, you will have a lovely bowl of fluffy white buttercream that is not too sweet. If the buttercream is not emulsified, continue to beat on the lowest speed. It will come together.



Flavor as desired


Extracts: Mix in any flavor of extract. I normally use vanilla bean paste.



Chocolate or white chocolate: melt and cool approximately 6-8 oz of quality chocolate. Chocolate should be fluid, but cool. Mix into buttercream.



Purées: with purées, you have to take care as too much can ruin the buttercream. Add small portions at a time. The moisture in purée will vary by fruit, and batch by batch. So don't assume you can add the same amount of purée of the same fruit.



Coloring: buttercream can be resistant to color due to the butter. I would NOT recommend Wilton colors as they are poor quality all around. And certainly do not bake with Wilton as they are not heat safe, so fade far more than other brands. Americolor gels mixed with a bit of their Flo-coat will create a smooth even colored buttercream. The Flo-coat essentially converts the gel color to a food color that can be used in applications where moisture is an issue, like in candy.
 
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I have never made such a frosting, but I will be doing so in the very near future. Always up for a challenge. This frosting is a lot more work than the one I'm accustomed to making.
 
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Here’s a video. She does hers a little bit differently. Her butter is on the colder side which can leave lumps of butter. The butter should be around 68°F - 70°F.

I didn’t check her recipe, i’m not sure if she uses cream of tartar. Which is an acid that is important for stabilizing the egg yolks.

I separated the sugar because beating and some sugar Will help to stabilize it. And I think for a beginner who has never made a meringue that can be helpful.

 
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Swiss meringue buttercream can be used for filling in a cake or icing on a cake or to ice cupcakes. Ice cupcakes and cakes should be stored in the refrigerator. To serve, let sit at room temperature for about 30 to 45 minutes before.

Since it’s butter-based you don’t want to leave it out in really warm weather. Like any butter-based icing it shouldn’t be left out in temperatures much above 75°F as it will begin to melt.
 
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Didn't you say you were going to publish a book about baking or had already published one?
 

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