Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fat Mints

I made these:

last weekend when I was asked to bring a "treat" for Relief Society.  I ended up getting three dozen more than I needed, so those were sent to work with Bobby on Monday.

A lot of cupcakes:

They are dark chocolate cupcakes (probably my favorite recipe I make, it's a great base cupcake for all kinds of yummy frostings, toppings, and fillings), with a creme de menthe Swiss meringue buttercream frosting, garnished with half a Keebler Grasshopper cookie.  They taste just like a cupcake version of the Girl Scouts' Thin Mints (thus "Fat Mints").

Never made a Swiss meringue buttercream before?  Think it sounds too complicated?  You are so wrong, it's an extremely forgiving frosting, it's very stable, can be flavored with anything (flavored oils like I used for these, extracts, fruit purees, nut butters, the sky is the limit), colors well (I didn't color these), keeps well, and pipes beautifully.

So here's the recipe for a standard Swiss meringue buttercream, try it today!

6.25 oz (by weight) egg whites (separate your own eggs, don't use the egg whites only in a carton) this is about 5 eggs
1 cup sugar (use the regular granulated stuff)
1 pinch salt
1 lbs unsalted butter room temperature

Put about an inch or two of water in the bottom of a saucepan (use one that allows you to use your stand up mixer bowl on top of it snugly as a make shift double boiler) and bring to a low boil, turn down to a simmer.  Place egg whites, sugar, and salt in your mixer bowl and place the bowl on top of your saucepan.  Whisking constantly bring mixture to 150-160 degrees.  YOU MUST WHISK CONSTANTLY or you will get scrambled eggs and that is not what you are looking for.  I brought my mixture to 155 degrees (some sources say 160 must be achieved for food safety, I had sources that said 150 was sufficient).  Once your temperature is achieved remove bowl from heat and put into your stand mixer.

Using WHISK attachment whisk egg white mixture on high to stiff peaks.  This should take at least 5 minutes, possibly longer (some say as long as 10 minutes).  At this point you want to make sure your meringue is not too warm, it should be room temperature, if it isn't, let it sit for a few minutes until it comes down to room temperature.  Switch from your whisk attachment to your paddle attachment and add in your softened butter one cube at a time (cube=quarter pound or 1/2 cup) while running your mixer at it's LOWEST SPEED, seriously, have a teeny bit of patience here and use the lowest speed, get all of your butter in there.  At this point your mixture is likely to go through several stages as the eggs and the butter emulsify to become pure yumminess.  First your mixture is likely to look soupy and loose, keep mixing.  Then it's likely to look curdled and yucky, KEEP MIXING.  This could take 10-15 minutes, just keep your mixer going on its lowest speed, soon you will get a smooth, creamy, light, lovely, yummy frosting.

Once you get the perfect fluffy frosting add in your flavoring.  Use whatever you like!  Just add your flavors slowly and taste until the flavor is perfect!  For my creme de menthe frosting I used about 2 tsp of my homemade vanilla extract and 21-28 drops of creme de menthe flavoring oil (oils are much stronger than extracts, if you are using them be super careful not to over do it).  I have also made a peanut butter version in the past that used 3/4 cup peanut butter.

This frosting can be kept in the fridge (well covered, you don't want it to pick up fridge funk flavors) for up to two weeks or frozen for a few months before use, just bring it to room temperature on the counter and re-mix with paddle attachment on low speed until it comes back to fluffy goodness before you use it.

I would not suggest using this frosting for any application that will be sitting in the sun for very long.  There is a high butter content in this and they will melt in the heat for too long although this frosting holds up fantastically at room temperature and this frosting SHOULD be eaten at room temperature.

Tell me what flavor Swiss meringue buttercream you would make and what cake/frosting flavor combination sounds yummy to you right now!

I'm thinking an apple spice cake with a caramel sauce and white chocolate frosting sounds divine, fall is in the air here for sure!


Kimberly said...

I'm wanting to try mint (because I love chocolate and mint), but I'll need to make and frost the cupcakes a full day before they'll be eaten. How will it hold up? I could always make something else and make these another time. Another yummy frosting flavor would be strawberry. We love fresh strawberry frosting in the summers.

Kelli said...

You can make this frosting and add in strawberry puree to flavor it! YUM. This frosting holds up very well at room temp or cooler. If your cake is sturdy and fairly moist (as in it can take some time in fridge without drying out) you can put your frosted cupcakes in the fridge without fear of issues (but you want to bring them to room temp before eating or the frosting will be hard like chilled butter).

Honestly, I think you would be totally fine to make your cupcakes and frost them and leave them (covered) at room temperature for a day or two before they were served and they would still be awesome. I made these cupcakes on Saturday evening and when I had one on Monday night it was fabulous (and it had been out at room temp that whole time).

Julie E said...

These cupcakes sound awesome! I am a huge fan of chocolate and mint and meringue.

I'm glad to hear the cordon bleu was a hit. I loved the flavor and how easy it is to throw together. I don't have good luck with roulade style chicken normally. :)