homemade chocolate buttercream frosting

I’m a pretty low-key when it comes to birthday celebrations.  I like to keep it simple.  Party of three, please:  Me + Husband + Kiddo.  It’s all good that way.  They took me to dinner, bought me a couple of gifts, and we ate cake; the cake they baked and of which I was tasked with frosting.

Frosting my own birthday cake is not offensive to me in the least.   Being asked to do so insures I don’t have to eat store-bought frosting, and I get to play with butter and sugar and cocoa.  What’s not to like about that?.

This recipe is a staple…tried and true.  Everyone has these stock items in their pantry and they go together in less time than it would take to run to the grocery store for one of those gritty, over-priced, pre-packaged frosting containers.  The quantity easily frosts a 9 x 13 sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes.  For a round layer cake, I might bump up the ingredients a bit to allow for frosting between layers.  Enjoy!

2013-10-28

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 2/3 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 c cocoa, unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamy.
  2. Add sugar and cocoa, mixing well.
  3. Stir in milk in portions, stirring each time.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Spread on cooled cake or other items needing frosting.
  6. Lick the bowl.

DSC_0936

raw brownies

Sooooo…while I’m on a roll with recipes I think were good, but failed me for one reason or another, let’s cut to the chase.  These sounded great.  I’d made something like them, a no-bake homemade power bar, and posted the recipe over on my other blog.  Not sure why I never got around to sharing them here, but…click over and give them a try.  They’re really good and a big hit on my Pinterest page.  But I’m wandering off topic here.  Let me stick to the raw brownies.

Kat started Brownies last week and I’m helping out as an “assistant troop mom.”  I can’t juggle the responsibility of a troop leader, so I’m doing my best to carry at least some of the weight for the mom who has agreed to shoulder the burden.  During our discussions about snacks for the girls during meetings, we decided processed sugars were out.  Kids eat way too much junk, anyway, and part of our goal is to show and set good examples for them to take into their every day lives.  Teaching them the value of eating whole foods is part of that lesson.

Hence, raw brownies for Brownies.

rawbrownies©zouptonuts

cocoa©zouptonuts

Sadly, that’s not how the story ended.  The girls never ate the brownies.  The brownies, although absolutely delicious, ended up in the garbage.   Because even though they looked pretty when I plated them, and they have an uber-chocolately delicious flavor, they looked like this as soon as we put a fork to them:

crumbled©zouptonuts

I exchanged a couple of comments back and forth with the author of the original recipe, Tina Jeffers, and we decided the dates I used probably weren’t fresh.  Having worked with dates before in other baked goods, I noticed they seemed a bit dry when I was handling them for this recipe.  This doesn’t surprise me as I didn’t buy them at my usual health food market, but picked them up on a quick trip through Albertson’s – where, in my experience, freshness isn’t their motto!

Long and short of it, I’m going to pick up more dates…at Sprouts, this time, and give these another try, because the flavor was amazingly chocolatey and delicious.  These wouldn’t be a tough sell to a bunch of hungry Brownies, either, and would be a great lesson in how everything sweet and delicious doesn’t have to be unhealthy!  Enjoy!

Raw Brownies (recipe courtesy Scaling Back Blog)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole walnuts, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raw oats
  • 1 cup raw cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa for dusting

Directions:

  1. Place  walnuts and oats in a food processor or food chopper and blend on high until the mixture is finely ground.  Add cocoa and salt and pulse to combine.  Add the dates one at a time, running the processor continuously.  The mixture will ultimately be crumbly but will hold together in a ball if you roll it between your hands.
  2. Even press the cocoa and date mixture into a 9×9 pan, then place the pan in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve.  Lightly sprinkle with cocoa before serving.
plated2©zouptonuts***Baker’s Notes:  Make super sure your dates are fresh!  You can also use, as I did, a 9 inch cake pan, and serve in wedges.

cocoa fudge cookies

Two or three times a year we have a “movie night” in our cul-de-sac.  A neighbor has an inflatable outdoor projection screen.  They stream Netflix  through their iPhone and….well, I don’t know how all the techie stuff works, but I do know I got to watch Cars II on a gorgeous spring evening with a lot of other families and their kids, noshing all sorts of tasty treats.  That’s one of the rules:  bring a treat to pass!  There’s never a shortage of food…or wine, for that matter!

This time around we opted to bring cookies.  I was scanning the contents of my pantry and spotted the unsweetened cocoa, which became my inspiration ingredient because I’m always looking for an excuse to add cocoa to baked goods.  A quick Google search turned up these little lovelies from Cooking Light.  I wasn’t the least bit surprised when they baked up thin and crispy because the picture provided with the recipe clearly presented a thin cookie.  But I was surprised to bite into one and discover, between the crisp exterior, an almost brownie-like inside.  Thin, yes, but soft and chewy and nicely contrasting to the original texture.

These cookies were delicious on their own and perfect for dunking, but given their crispy outsides I think they’d also be perfect for making a sandwich cookie.  Maybe even an ice cream sandwich-type cookie.  I didn’t try it, but I would think the outer cookie would hold up nicely if you added a layer of ice cream after they’ve cooled completely.  Serve immediately, of course.  Cookies and ice cream are not meant to be eaten slowly.  Enjoy!

Cocoa Fudge Cookies (courtesy Cooking Light, January 2002)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

cocoa_cookies©zouptonuts

Nutritional Information (provided by Cooking Light):

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 78
  • Calories from fat: 31%
  • Fat: 2.7g
  • Saturated fat: 1.6g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbohydrate: 13.4g
  • Fiber: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 7mg
  • Iron: 0.5mg
  • Sodium: 54mg
  • Calcium: 12mg