Monday, May 7, 2012

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I've always wanted to try out swiss meringue buttercream...but have ALWAYS been scared. The thought of egg whites in frosting made me nervous for some reason...until I made a batch for some special first communion cupcakes this weekend (which ultimately ended up being many batches!!!! Vanilla & Strawberry!). All I can say is that I'm not scared anymore!!! Get your arm muscles ready because there is a ton of whisking involved in this recipe. Hope you're focused..because careful attention is taken during the entire process of making this delicate buttercream. It's well worth it. The texture is different from regular buttercream as well as the taste. My husband thinks it tastes vanilla ice cream!
I had a little swiss meringue left over and decided to try out some ruffles that I have been thinking about for a while! Glad I did! (I ended up making more swiss meringue in the process...well worth it!)
You are going to need alot of eggs for this one!! I'm to blame for the egg shortage in this house... my kids have been reminding me all weekend. ha! ha! (Sorry guys!) I think I went through over 36 eggs!!! CRAZY!
I looked through a bunch of recipes and combined them. This is what worked for me.
Here's what ya need:
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter (room temp)

Here's how to make it:
First warm up your arms with a nice arm stretch... get ready.
Place a double boiler on the stove (or a heat resistent bowl over a pot of simmering water, in my case because we are not fancy here)
Add the eggs whites, sugar and vanilla to your heat resistant bowl.
Heat the egg mixture, while whisking until it reaches 140 degrees and the sugar is completely combined.
Next carefully transfer to your mixer.
Mix on medium speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. (mine took about 6 minutes)
Lastly, add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time. (I cut the butter into chunks ahead of time)
Mix until the butter is blended in completely. (You might want to scrape down the sides a few times in between)
It should look nice and fluffy once it is done!

Have fun!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Scones

It's Thursday, and Thursday's can get rather hectic in the morning at my house. Usually, everyone's stress level is pretty high. But not today. Today, we started our morning out pretty calm & hopeful for the new day ahead. I woke up hoping to make the scones that I saw on the Annie's Eats website yesterday...however when I went to grab the cranberries out of the freezer, I was surprised to find that they were not there! "Oh bother" as Pooh would say. I was so looking forward to the zingy taste of a cranberry scone!  I decided to switch the recipe up a bit and surprise the kiddos with chocolate chip scones, instead. "Do what you can with what you have.." What's better than chocolate in the morning, right?

I'm still very much looking forward to making those cranberry scones, but here's how I made the chocolate chip "cookie" scones.. They were pretty easy & quick- thank goodness for that on the morning of a work day! (Also if you read Annie's Link she says you can freeze the scones before cooking if you want to make them ahead of time...and just pop in the oven on the day you want them! Awesome!)

Here's what ya need:
(adapted slightly from Annie's Eats)
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
6 tbsp. of unsalted butter cut into little cube pieces
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (just the yolk)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of semi-sweet mini chips
Additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In mixer combine, butter, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine until the mixture looks like course meal and the butter is blended in pretty well. (I had to scrape & mix the bottom of my mixing bowl to make sure the butter wasn't stuck to the bottom)

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and chocolate chips and then mix in with your dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix the egg, egg yolk, heavy cream and vanilla. Make sure the egg is completely mixed in.

Next add the egg mixture to your dry ingredients and stir together using a wooden spoon. Once the dough starts coming together finish by gently kneading until it is evenly mixed. 

I love how Annie suggests using a biscuit cutter to make the scones. What a genius idea! Put your 3 inch biscuit cutter onto your parchment paper and fill with a scoop of dough..pat down to form a 1-inch thick scone. It works like a charm. Do this for the rest of your dough and place the scones a few inches apart, they do puff up a bit while baking. I did find that my dough did stick a little to the edge of the biscuit cutter. I just helped it out a little by pushing on the edges. It worked out perfectly. When all was said and done, this dough produced about 10 scones.
Once you have them on your baking sheet, sprinkle the scones with a little bit of sugar and then they are ready to bake!

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. I put my oven on convection and it took about 18 minutes for them to cook. The edges were a light brown color.

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