This is a chocolate version of Classic French Buttercream, using bittersweet chocolate for a rich a velvety taste, and is wonderful as a frosting and filling with white, yellow, and chocolate cakes and pastries. This makes a large recipe of 8 cups
Classic French Chocolate Buttercream
Buttercream (Makes about 8 cups):
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. See Melting Chocolate – How to Melt Chocolate.
- 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. Tip: 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.
- 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.
- Buttercream is an emulsion that will break down if the ingredients are not at the right temperature. The egg and sugar syrup mixture must be cool before the butter is added because you don’t want the butter to melt when added. The outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch, or just barely warm.
- Butter: Butter should be softened to room temperature, normally 68 to 70 degrees. Remove the butter for your recipe from the refrigerator and let it sit on your counter. Generally 20 to 30 minutes before using is sufficient time to achieve the correct softness; however the time may vary depending on the warmth in your kitchen. Cutting the butter into one inch pieces will speed up the softening time. To most accurately determine the temperature of the butter, use an instant thermometer. Alternatively, test for room temperature butter by gently pressing the top of the stick of butter with your finger. If an indentation remains but the stick of butter still holds its shape then it should be perfectly softened. If your finger sinks down into the butter it is too soft and should be placed back into the refrigerator for a short time to firm back up. It is best not to soften butter in the microwave as it can start melting quickly and become too soft, or soften unevenly.
- Cooking Sugar Syrup: To prevent the syrup from going over 238 degrees F, remove the syrup from the heat just before it reaches 238 degrees. Have a glass measuring cup near the stove and immediately pour the hot syrup into the glass cup to stop the temperature from rising.
- Adding Sugar Syrup to Eggs: After cooking the syrup, immediately start pouring it into the eggs. Stop the mixer as you do this because you don’t want to get any sugar syrup on the beater. Otherwise when mixing the beaters will spin the syrup around the sides of the pan, making a sugar mess along with not getting all the syrup into the eggs.
- Eggs and Sugar Syrup Too Warm: If the egg and sugar syrup mixture is still warm when you add the butter, the butter will melt and the Buttercream will become a mess. If this happens the mixture needs to be cooled. Place the bowl over a bowl of ice water and beat with a wire whisk until the mixture cools enough allow the ingredients to emulsify and become creamy.
- Butter Too Cold: If the butter is too cold when added to the egg and sugar syrup mixture the mixture will not blend and the texture will look like curds of cottage cheese. If this happens the mixture needs to be warmed. Place the bowl over simmering water for about 5 seconds while stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, be careful not to overheat. Return the bowl to the mixer and beat on medium speed until the mixture comes together and is creamy.
- Separating: Don’t worry if the mixture appears to separate or curdle after you’ve added the butter, just continue to beat with the mixer and the mixture will become smooth. If the completed Buttercream has been sitting for quite awhile before using and appears to be separating or liquid at the bottom of the bowl it just needs to be rewhipped. Use a wire whisk or beat with the mixer until it comes together.
- Too Soft: If the Buttercream seems too soft for spreading or piping, chill the Buttercream in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before using.
- Storage: Buttercream can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 6 months in an airtight container. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours at room temperature. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with the paddle attachment on low to medium speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Kitchen and Baking Store
Easy on-line shopping for all your kitchen, baking, and home needs.
Bakeware, Cookware, Kitchen Tools, Books, Cookbooks, Electrics, Food, Gifts, Coffee, Chocolate, Gifts, and more.....