Thursday, June 21, 2012

Face Off: Chocolate Frosting

I'm not sure what possesses me to do things like this.  Things like deciding to fix stew and a homemade apple pie in the same night...all by myself.  Inevitably, my family doesn't eat until 10pm.

We're Italian.  Eating can't wait for 10pm!   

But I do these things all the time.  

Lofty ideas take root and germinate in my head till I can think of nothing else.  And by the time I've gathered all of the needed supplies, clear visions of the utter joy and praises my baking escapades will surely bring to all those around me further fuel the fire--my crazy.

I always forget about "the last time."  

The last time I told myself to "remember this feeling"...the fat-man-sitting-on-my-chest one.  
The last time I ended up crying on a ladder in the shower breathing in chemical fumes because the entire bathroom - even the ceiling - needed to be cleaned.  
Or the last time I felt like punching people in the face because I was working my butt off in the kitchen while everyone else was watching TV...Wha? Why do I need to "ask" for help?   

The ability to suppress.  To forget.  It's a little gift life gives you.  A chance to move on, to do other stressful, stupid stuff.

Like I did for this post.


Finding the best chocolate frosting is a noble goal...Whipping up six different recipes at the same time is an insane goal.  

Ice baths.  Endless dishes.  And sore arms for days.  

But I did it for you.

To settle this nonsense once and for all.  

Here are the contestants.  My raking, remarks, and recipes follow:
Raking: 6 of 6

Remarks: This is an interesting frosting.  It is reminiscent of a marshmallow.  Super sweet and has the texture of sticky meringue.  I actually am a HUGE fan of this frosting, but not in chocolate form.  Normally, it is a nice and interesting complement to the cupcake, but something just doesn't translate here.  


Ranking: 5 of 6

Remarks: This frosting was a ton of work...requiring three separate mixtures and waiting for things to cool. Not feeling the love here. This was definitely the most spreadable of the bunch, but it had a very strong butter flavor, which if you've read my Best Frosting Ever entry, you'll already know I'm not a fan of.  

Ranking: 4 of 6 (My Dad's Fav)

Remarks: Probably the fastest of all the recipes to complete.  It was sweet and the powder sugar flavor was very evident.  It had a nice, thick, and smooth texture.  I found I had to add more milk than was called for.  It could've been because I made only 1/3 of the recipe, but it was almost like fudge and difficult to spread.  My dad mentioned that he thought this frosting was more on the milk chocolate side of the spectrum.  He loves a good buttercream. 

Ranking: 3 of 6 (Brother-in-Law's Fav)

Remarks: This frosting is muy delicioso!  It's extremely similar to the Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting (My fav, below).  Essentially, the only difference between the two is that this recipe uses powdered sugar instead of dissolved granulated sugar.  Powder sugar isn't my favorite flavor in a frosting, but in this recipe it is pretty subdued.  This one also held up much better after being refrigerated than the Old Fashioned one.  I'm sure it had to do with the sugars.  It hurt me to make this #3 on the list because it is just SO good, but someone has to make the final call and my ruling is that granulated sugar wins.  The queen has spoken!

Recipe: Anne's Perfect Chocolate Frosting

1 pkg (6oz) semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups unsifted confectioners' sugar

In medium-sized saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream and butter; stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. With whisk, blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar. In bowl set over ice, beat until frosting holds its shape.

Ranking: 2 of 6 (My Fav)

Ranking: Oh my gracious.  This frosting is heaven.  It's not too sweet and a perfect mix of whipped cream and fudge.  How it achieves the balance of light and chocolatey goodness is beyond me.  The reason this baby couldn't take the prize for first?  It is time CONSUMING.  It took me 40 minutes to complete.  Ice bath, cooling, whipping, clean name it.  Not sure the exorbitant amount of time is worth it--especially when the Chocolate Ganache (coming next) is almost as good.  As a side note, if you don't intend to use this frosting right away, it gets a little grainy because of the granulated sugar.  My dad told me he preferred Anne's Perfect Chocolate Frosting because of this.  It's really a preference thing when it comes down to choosing which of these two recipes to use.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting

Ranking:  1 of 6  (Bestie's Fav, My Mom's Fav)

Remarks:  This is fantastically fluffy and had the purest chocolate flavor out of all the frostings I made.  It's not too sweet, but it's oh so rich.  My dad commented on the nice semi sweet/bitterness flavor.   And what puts it over the edge for top billing is that it is SUPER easy to make.  Only two ingredients.  After you finish cooking the frosting on the stove, you must actually get it cold for it to get fluffy/whipped.  The recipe says room temp, but I didn't find that to be the case.  And the cherry on top:  it says you can store at room temp!  Absolutely, awesome because frostings are never the same once they've been refrigerated.   


Chocolate Seven Minute Frosting: Skip.
Our Best Bites: Chocolate Frosting: Way too much work, not enough love.
Rich Chocolate Buttercream: Basically your typical buttercream.
Anne's Perfect Chocolate Cake Frosting: Powder Sugar.  So good.  Lots of work.
Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting: Granulated Sugar.  So good.  Lots of work.
Chocolate Ganache: Two Ingredients.  Rich chocolate taste.  Winner, winner chicken dinner.

This probably isn't the most definitive list out there, but I like to tell myself it is.  Because then all this hard work actually meant something.  

And I can't afford to have any more "ideas" for awhile.   

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