Italian ButterCream

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 12 egg whites (fresh, with no yolk, not even
  • the littlest bit)
  • 2 pounds butter, cubed and soft
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Method:
1 Pour the water and then the sugar into a very clean soup pot (any food remnants will cause the sugar to crystallize) and put it on high heat. You want to cook this sugar quickly so it won’t have time to crystallize. It’s human nature to want to stir this, but don’t—just leave it alone. Sugar does not like to be interrupted.
2 While the sugar is cooking, pour the egg whites into the bowl of the standing mixer and whisk on medium speed to break up the proteins and warm up the whites, about 5 minutes.
3 Go back to the sugar. When it first starts to boil, the bubbles will be little and fast, and when it is done the bubbles will be slow and big. This happens quickly. Traditionally, you’re taught to use a thermometer when boiling sugar, but I don’t trust them—I trust my eyes. The stage you’re looking for is called “soft ball.” Once the sugar comes to a slow boil, turn off the heat.
4 Whip the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, turn the mixer back to medium speed, and slowly pour the hot sugar carefully into the egg whites. Aim for the small space in between the bowl and the whisk; this way you won’t end up with clumps of sugar in your butter cream.
5 Once the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer back to high speed and start incorporating cubes of butter one at a time (otherwise they’ll fly back out at you). 6 Once all the butter is incorporated, let the buttercream
mix for about 10 minutes or until it’s white in color and very light and fluffy. Then add the vanilla extract.

NOTE: When using this buttercream right out of the fridge, you’ll need to microwave it for about 30 seconds at a time until it becomes soft again. Then you’ll need to re-whip it to be sure the consistency is right.
YIELD: 6 cups, or enough for about 12 cupcakes
KEEPS: In an airtight container for about three days at a cool room temperature, or for about a week in the fridge

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