We are fortunate enough to live close to our family. As such, we try to have dinner with the family once a week. Nana and Pop-pop always feed us very well, and we usually bring dessert.
For tonight's dessert, we decided to stay simple and make cupcakes. Little miss chose chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Yum.
Then I realized that I had no confectioner's sugar in the house. Uh oh. Most frosting recipes with which I am familiar rely largely on confectioner's sugar and butter (all variations of buttercream frostings), and you cannot substitute regular (granulated) sugar for confectioner's sugar - you will not get the consistency you want out of your frosting.
After some online searching, I was able to find a recipe that looked interesting in a question and answer thread on Yahoo! Answers, a forum where people can go to ask questions, and any registered Yahoo! users (ie: the general public...) can post responses. I was a little wary, since you never know who the people are who are responding, but figured that it was worth a shot.
The recipe itself is very simple. It begins with one cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of butter (half a stick) and 1/4 cup of milk in a saucepan. These three ingredients are heated (I used medium high heat, the recipe didn't specify) to a boil, and I made sure to stir regularly so that none of the sugar or milk would burn.
Once the ingredients came to a boil, the pan is then removed from the heat, and 3/4 of a cup of chocolate chips are stirred into the hot liquid. The chips are carefully stirred in until they melt completely. Once the chips are melted, stir in 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. That is it.
The resulting "frosting" more closely resembled ganache, and I was a little worried about how I was going to frost my cupcakes with it... I was worried that it would slide right off, or that it would be more of a glaze than a frosting. I decided to try letting the mixture cool, to see if it would thicken up a little bit to a more frosting-like consistency. I stirred the cooling chocolate every ten minutes or so, to make sure that it cooled evenly and to avoid any clumps, and within about half an hour, I decided to go for it and see how it went.
The frosting spread very easily over the first few cupcakes, and I was very encouraged. Every few cupcakes, though, I could tell that it was thickening up unevenly, and had to stir it up again. As I reached the end of the frosting, I had to stir between each cupcake, and the frosting became a little harder to spread, despite the stirring. It probably would have piped really well, though, if I had a piping bag (or if I'd had the inclination to try that method today...).
The real test, though, was in the tasting, so we brought our cupcakes to our family dinner and, when it came time for dessert, brought them out. The frosting had cooled very nicely on all of the cupcakes, and had a smooth, even look to it. Better than that, though, everyone loved it, and agreed that this frosting recipe is a definite keeper.
For convenience's sake, here is the recipe, as I found it in this thread:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, butter and milk in saucepan, and heat to boil. Once mixture is bubbling, remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until they melt. Stir in vanilla extract.
* The recipe states to spread it on your cake at this point. If you choose to allow it to cool a bit first, make sure to stir it every few minutes to avoid clumping. The recipe indicates that it is enough frosting for a 9" x 13" cake. I was able to nicely cover 12 full-sized cupcakes as well as 20 mini cupcakes.
2 weeks ago