Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bourbon Chocolate Buttercream

It's a proven fact that alcohol makes everything better. Why have orange juice when you could have a mimosa? Why eat spaghetti sauce when you could have vodka sauce? Why eat plain, boring chocolate buttercream when you could have bourbon chocolate buttercream? Alcohol and food are best buds--they love to hang out together. Let's embrace their friendship!

As sad as I know you will be about this, I'm not going to be sharing the brownie recipe with you. I was trying out a new recipe from one of my many cookbooks; this one was supposedly voted New York's best several times (according to the author at least), but I don't get it. Either the people in NYC don't know what a brownie should taste like, or the author is crazy. These brownies had great chocolate flavor, but the texture was absolutely terrible. They were super dry and crumbly and not at all what a brownie should be. The only saving grace was the frosting that I made to put on the top. Therefore, I'm going to share the frosting recipe with you but not the brownie one. (You wouldn't like it if I did. Trust me.) You can use this on brownies, cake, cookies, cupcakes, or whatever else you can think of. This recipe made enough to put a fairly thick layer on top of an 8x8 pan of brownies. If you want to pipe it in big swirls on top of cupcakes, I'd suggest maybe making a double batch.

If you don't do a lot of frosting-making, let me give you a few tips. 1) Your butter really does need to be softened--don't fake it by putting it in the microwave for a little while. You can sort of get away with that with actual baking, but with frosting, it just doesn't work out right. If you need to cheat, cut your butter into small chunks and then let them sit for a while. They'll come to room temperature much more quickly than they would if you left it as one whole stick, and you won't run the risk of melting any of it like you would in the microwave. 2) It's important that you use unsalted butter. Some salt is good with chocolate, but salted butter is just too much. 3) Compared to cake batter, frosting needs to be beaten for a long time to give it the proper texture. If it says to beat the butter for 3 minutes before adding the sugar, beat it for 3 full minutes. Don't cheat. Use a timer if you have to. 4) You can use the microwave instead of a double boiler to melt the chocolate, but do it in short bursts to make sure you don't burn the chocolate or get it so ridiculously hot that it will melt the butter when you mix it in to the frosting. You want it to be JUST melted. 5) Finally, never frost anything that's still warm unless you're going for that "soupy mess" look. Buttercream is fairly delicate, and even just a small amount of heat can melt it.


2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 c powdered sugar
3 tsp bourbon
3 tbsp milk


Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat as soon as it's completely melted, and set aside.

Use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer to beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add in 1 c of powdered sugar while continuing to beat the mixture for 2 more minutes. Add bourbon and melted chocolate, and mix until well-combined. Alternate adding the milk and the remaining sugar while beating the mixture on medium speed. Beat 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

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