So 2012 is officially here.
I asked you in my last post if you make resolutions or not.
There was a pretty equal divide.
I’m not such a resolution person, but one reader said instead of resolutions, she makes “intentions”, which I thought was a good idea.
So here are my “intentions” for 2012:
- Take more walks in nature. People SAY fresh air is good for you, blah blah…
- Try to read a nonfiction book every once in a while. I am fairly certain that US Weekly is nonfiction, so this should be an easy one for me…which leads me to my next intention…
- Watch more documentaries. Done. The new season of The Bachelor is about to start and that is basically a documentary on one man’s quest to finding love in an alcohol soaked Los Angeles mansion.
- Only shop for myself when my socks get holes, my mascara RUNS OUT (which I don’t think I have ever experienced) or I see something on sale that I must have.
- Keeping my car clean of empty coffee cups. My car has basically become a holding cell for Starbucks coffee cups. Reason is, when I get home from Target I usually have so many bags that I can’t carry my coffee cup too! BUT seeing as how I will be shopping less for myself in 2012 (barring any sales) I shouldn’t have as many bags and can easily throw away my garbage. It’s all coming together, isn’t it?
- Eat less Reese’s and more Brussels Sprouts.
- Be more diverse in my music selections. Which means that I will have to deviate from my comfortable Top 20 playlists and Taylor Swift…Here’s an example of my latest iTunes purchases. I clearly have a long way to go on this “intention”.
So there you have it.
I like the “intention” idea because when #1, #4, #6 and #7 don’t happen I won’t feel too bad about myself…I never RESOLVED to do those things..I just intended to.
It’s always good to have an escape clause.
Now, for my first post of 2012 I would like to start the year with basics. I “intend” to do Basics recipes throughout the year, but we’ll see how that works out. Cool?
First up is Homemade Buttercream.
It’s basic. It’s delicious. And you need to know how to make it.
It’s a life skill, like changing a tire or learning to apply false lashes.
It’s a no-fail buttercream recipe. You will get yummy frosting every time.
There are so many small variations you can make on buttercream…
I use a combo of butter and shortening because I like the flavor of the butter but shortening holds up better to warm temps. Using both gives you the best of both worlds…in my opinion
Some people do all butter, some do all shortening. Some people use meringue powder and some use unsalted butter.
I use salted butter. I sometimes don’t sift. I never use vanilla extract. And you know what? It’s always good.
The thing about homemade buttercream is that you really can’t mess it up, there is almost always a fix.
So today we are gonna play around with buttercream. Don’t be scared, it will work, trust me…I’m kinda the Mr. Miyagi of frosting.
If you’ve never made buttercream before you need to go now. GO!
Here are a few tips first…if the buttercream is too stiff for your liking, add more milk. Add it by the tablespoon while mixing until you get the consistency you’re after.
If you have an oops and add too much milk, no worries! Just add in some more powdered sugar. Really.
Once you have your perfect buttercream, let’s get creative.
You can add pretty much whatever you want.
Here are a few examples…
Here we have a delicious “Cookie Butter” (which is about the same consistency as peanut butter or Nutella), cinnamon and coconut extract. These are just a few ideas…use your imagination! What about caramel? Or Strawberry jam? Or pumpkin pie spice? Or cereal?
** The Cookie Butter is the Trader Joe’s version of Biscoff spread. It was just something I had on-hand that I thought would make a yummy buttercream. It did.
Now. Here’s where I want you to trust me. I am not going to give you measurements…AND I want you to be ok with that.
Just to show you that it can be done I made a batch of buttercream. For research purposes solely.
For the experiment I separated it into bowls…
For the first flavor I wanted to give the “Cookie Butter” a try. (It tastes a little like the best graham cracker that you have ever eaten)
You can add more to create a more intense flavor or less for something a little more subtle. You aren’t going to mess this up, people.
I repeated the process with peanut butter…If you add too much peanut butter and your frosting becomes too creamy what should you do?
Add more powdered sugar. Trust me on this, the worst that can happen is your frosting will be too sweet…and is that REALLY a problem? If you said yes, please leave now.
For my next batch I added some cinnamon and mixed away. Use a light hand when adding spices, you can always add more…
This applies to extracts too…a little generally goes a long way. If you MUST measure, start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more if you need to. The only way to fix an over-extracted frosting is to add more frosting.
So with one batch of frosting I made four flavors of buttercream…Coconut, Peanut Butter, Snickerdoodle (the cinnamon) and Graham Cracker (using the “Cookie Butter”).
I frosted a batch of mini vanilla cupcakes with all the different flavors I made.
But see how easy that is?
Starting with a good basic buttercream can lead you down all sorts of creative roads.
You will be a true buttercream arteest!