Showing posts with label Chocolate Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate Reviews. Show all posts

Sunday, August 19, 2018

How to Make the Best Chocolate Icing

Review By Funkthishouse.com
Photos: Via Pixabay
My parents moved away from their home town in Manitoba, Canada when I was about five years old. We lived in many places throughout our country, but no matter where we lived, my dad would fly his mother out (our Memere) for visits. Oh wait a minute! She would take the train, she was terrified of flying!

I sure hope Memere knew how much I loved it when she would visit.

On one visit, while sitting in the kitchen doing homework, Memere had just finished making a cake. She was about to make the icing, when I decided I had to know how she made such delicious chocolate icing. So being an inquisitive 15 year old, I stood beside her while she explained her secrets.

"What this recipe is about, isn't the ingredients, it's in the mixing, texture and general understanding of what to add and not to add to get the best chocolate icing."

Lets start with the ingredients - They're fairly standard and well known:
Added Note: 

Below 'Sylvestermouse Cynthia' asked what Icing Sugar was. In Canada we (most everyone I know) call Powdered Sugar, 'Icing Sugar'. The only brand I use is Redpath Icing Sugar.

Turns out, Redpath Sugar is a Canadian Company as well. According to it's website it's been a part of Canadian kitchens since 1854.

Being Canadian I admit I should have known that, however in my defense Redpath Sugar and Fry's Cocoa have been a part of my family's kitchen since before I was born. That's a long time ago!

Redpath Sugar carries many sugar products, including Icing Sugar. You can find Redpath Icing Sugar at Amazon.ca (not .com), and of course, learn about their products via their website.

What makes chocolate icing awesome:

To no surprise, Memere never measured any ingredients, and to this day, neither do I. 

I learned to make chocolate icing just the way she taught me; by understanding how to get the right texture.

Here's the most important tip from my Memere:
When you need to thin out the icing, do it by adding more softened butter, not more milk
She explained this further: "Because adding too much milk will quickly make the icing mixture too runny, then to fix it you'll have to add more icing sugar to recover the texture from liquid mud to icing. So to avoid this, add more butter first, not more milk"

Putting the Ingredients Together:

Although I never measure, I'll try to put some measurements to the above ingredients
  • In a deeper mixing bowl, put in about two cups of icing sugar
  • Add about half a cup of Fry's Cocoa (add more for a richer chocolate taste)
  • Butter .. hmmm.. I can't give you a measurement - maybe start with 1/4 cup of softened butter, that's 'softened', not melted, not runny, not too soft either. Ensure it maintains it's thick butter texture.
  • Add a teaspoon of pure Vanilla Extract
  • Add a teaspoon of milk, or two teaspoons if the icing is too thick to mix
  • How to know when you've nailed it - For me, I like it when the Icing is spreadable but can hold swirl peaks on the cake, in other words, not too hard, not too soft, just right. 
With a hand-mixer, mix the ingredients together. It won't be the right texture for spreading yet.

This is where the Grandma touch comes in:

If your mixture is too thin and runny, add more Icing Sugar to correct the texture. Keep mixing it with the hand mixer. If you've had to add more icing sugar, you'll need more Cocoa so add a couple of tablespoons at a time. More icing sugar dilutes the chocolate, that's the reason for adding more cocoa.

However, it's more likely the texture will be too thick.

To thin out the texture, add another heaping tablespoon of butter, a couple of drops of milk, a half teaspoon at the most! Then stop completely with adding milk.

At this point, it should be getting to the right texture. If it happens to become too runny again, then add more icing sugar. Sorry I can't give you a measurement for that, just add a tablespoon at a time.

However if it's too THICK, then keep adding softened butter, one tablespoon at a time.

Thanks to Memere, I've never used store bought icing. I always make it from scratch.

If I had to choose the key ingredient (other than butter) it would be Fry's Cocoa. That's also the cocoa we use to make the chocolate cake recipe passed down from my grandmother on my mother's side.

My kids have grown up on our homemade chocolate cake and homemade icing thanks to our grandmas on both sides - and it's the only birthday cake they want. Store bought is a no-no.

Added Tip: You CANNOT put icing on a cake until the cake is COMPLETELY cooled. I'll usually put the cake in the fridge to fully cool it off if time is an issue.

Happy Baking!



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Saturday, October 11, 2014

National Cookbook Month Continues with Chocolate

As we continue to celebrate National Cookbook Month on Review This, we go on to Chocolate Cookbooks. After all, if we're going to celebrate cookbooks, you just can't leave out the fabulous dessert ones.

It was a joy to review 4 different chocolate cookbooks for the website Completely Chocolate. (www.completely-chocolate.com/)   And of course, I just had to try out some of the marvelous recipes. Well, I had to make sure the cookbooks were as good as promised didn't I?

The featured cookbooks include the latest from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and a great one just for vegan chocolate desserts. Since I have a vegan daughter, I couldn't resist trying out those recipes. They did pass the decadent test.

Now, I will give you fair warning. Not all the recipes are easy to make. Some get quite complicated and require better chef skills than I have. These will take just a bit more practice on my part. But, even the failures were enjoyable to eat.

Each of the featured chocolate cookbooks also make great gifts. They each have beautiful
photographs, most that make your mouth water just looking at them. But, each cookbook also includes lots of extras. Things like how to work with chocolate, how to make chocolate gifts and plenty more.

Allow everyone of your family, friends and neighbors to enjoy National Cookbook Month with you. Get a copy of your favorite chocolate cookbook and try out a new recipe. A decadent dessert can work wonders for everyone.

More Chocolate Cookbooks:  www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/chocolate-cookbooks



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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Completely Chocolate and Coffee

For those of you who don't know, I am passionate about chocolate. In fact, I'm also the chocoholic contributor here on Review This. So it makes perfect sense that I would review a site devoted just to chocolate.

Completely Chocolate Site


Since we can never have too much chocolate, well in my view anyway, Completely Chocolate is an ideal way to share this passion. Of course, we can be talking about just the confection itself. But, there's plenty more.  (www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/)

If you didn't know, there are great health benefits to dark chocolate. Which is covered for all of us to read and learn more. How dark chocolate works to our benefit, some of those numerous benefits, even how much we should be eating. All pulled together on one page. I like that.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate:  www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/health-benefits-dark-chocolate/

How about a chocolate party? That's covered, too. Don't forget recipes. There just aren't enough ways to use chocolate in desserts. What about putting together your own recipe book? Just for chocolate treats and desserts, of course. That's included as well. Completely Chocolate is just that, completely chocolate!

Chocolate Party:  www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/chocolate-fondue-party 
Party Invitations:  www.completely-chocolate.com/wp/chocolate-fondue-party-invitations

What Goes Better with Chocolate than Coffee?


There is even a site devoted just to coffee. Now, we are talking about my favorite combination. Koffee Kingdom goes deep into the world of everything coffee. And I do mean everything. From roasting beans and how that affects flavor to the perfect Halloween coffee mugs. You can even find coffee themed home decor.
Coffee and chocolate.

My perfect kitchen is loaded with both chocolate decor and now coffee decor. And, yes, my favorite coffee flavor is chocolate.

So grab a cup of your favorite coffee, add a dash of chocolate and browse around these sites. You might just find the answer to that nagging question - what are the Review This Chocolate Contributor's favorite places on the Web? And we all want the answer to that!



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