Help: Buttercream Tips, Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate
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- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1½ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 2½ cup (5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate. Or, place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, use 50% power and stir frequently just until the chocolate is melted; do not overheat as chocolate will burn easily. Set aside to cool slightly. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the hot water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
- In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine eggs and egg yolks. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 8 minutes until the eggs become thick and lemon colored and drop in ribbons when the beater is lifted. Tip: continue beating the eggs until the sugar syrup is cooked.
- Meanwhile, in a medium size heavy saucepan, preferably non-stick, combine sugar and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan.
- When the syrup looks clear, clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 238 degrees F, a soft-ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup. Immediately remove pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Optional: As soon as the syrup reaches 238 degrees F. immediately remove from the heat and pour the syrup into a glass measuring cup to stop the cooking. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
- Quickly, as soon at the sugar syrup is done cooking, stop the mixer, pour a small amount of syrup into the beaten egg yolks, immediately turn the mixer on to high speed and beat for 5 to 10 seconds still using the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer off again, pour a little larger amount of syrup in the eggs, and immediately turn the mixer on to high speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. Tip: You want to work quickly as the sugar starts to harden and thicken pretty quickly. Don’t allow any syrup to pour onto the whisk as it will spin the syrup around the sides of the bowl.
- Once all the sugar has been added to the eggs, continue beating the mixture at high speed, about 5 minutes longer, or until the mixture is cool. Tip: Touch the mixture and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
- Stop the mixer, remove the whisk and attach the paddle. With the mixer on medium speed add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. The Buttercream may look curdled after the butter is added, but it will become smooth as you continue to beat it. Add the vanilla and chocolate and continue beating until the Buttercream is thick and smooth, about another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Buttercream should be used immediately, or refrigerate or freeze until needed.