Sunday, August 19, 2012

Espresso Buttercream

Difficulty level: easy
time consuming: nope

I.  Love.  Frosting.  My mom and I have been known to keep extra in the freezer, pull out spoons, and snack on it like ice cream.  Healthy, I know.  So when I made macarons the other day (my second attempt ever), I filled half with Nutella, and I asked my husband what flavor filling he wanted for the other half.  He said, "Coffee, but only because I can't think of any other flavors right now."  I perused my go-to baking blogs and came across this frosting recipe before he could change his mind.  After whipping up a batch, I brought him a spoonful to see if it met his expectations.  He told me it tasted "flour-y."  Which I guess was his way of saying he didn't care for the texture of the powdered sugar (but he's also been spoiled by the Italian buttercream I like to make on special occasions when I have the time).  I thought it was perfect though.  I filled my macarons and topped some mini cupcakes for friends that were coming over later that night.

The response from friends was unanimously positive, and I will definitely use this frosting in the future.  The coffee flavor was pleasant and not overwhelming or bitter, like I had worried about.  The vanilla in it rounds out the flavor nicely, too.  This pairs well with chocolate desserts but also was delicious in macarons (where the only other flavor to pair with was almond).  I can already imagine a cake layered with this frosting and ganache....

I used the espresso frosting to top chocolate cupcakes and garnished with a chocolate covered coffee bean and dusted with cocoa powder.

I filled my macarons with the espresso butter cream.  Some also got a schmear of Nutella or caramel sauce to compliment the coffee flavor.

Keep reading below for the recipe and directions!

So today is the last day of my first (and probably only) ever work free summer since I was 16.  Man it flew by fast.  Hubby and I stayed very busy; we went to Sanibel Island for a week, Cleveland for weddings and to visit with family for 2 separate weeks, I started coaching cheerleading, I read a ton of books, we played golf (FYI if you're not very good at golf but like to try, only count half of your strokes so you don't get frustrated when your group is kicking your butt), went to Kings Island and Soak City, visited with his family from out of town, celebrated a few birthdays, volunteered at our church festival, redecorated some rooms in our house, and of course baked.  I hope you've enjoyed the recipes I shared this summer, I think I did a pretty okay job keeping up with posting.  I plan to continue to post a few times a month or more during the school year so keep checking back for more delicious tried-and-true recipes!

Recipe: Espresso Buttercream

2 sticks (aka 1 cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (you can find it by the instant coffees at the the grocery store)

1.  Measure the instant espresso in a small bowl then add the vanilla.  Mix to dissolve the espresso.  Set aside.
2.  Sift your powdered sugar into a bowl if it isn't already sifted.  Set aside.
3.  Using an electric mixer or your Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment, cream the butter (Kitchen aid speed 6 for about 5 minutes).  Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
4.  Slowly add powdered sugar to butter.  I did scant 1/2 cup at a time, turning off my mixer to add and scraping down the bowl between additions.
5.  Once all the sugar has been added, whip on speed 8 for a few minutes until the mixture has grown in volume and become light and fluffy.
6.  Add the vanilla/espresso mixture and whip on high until it is incorporated.
7.  Use with cupcakes, cookies, cakes, or eat it out of the bowl.  Yum!

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, directions were adapted.

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