Saturday, June 13, 2009

Muffins for Music, Part II: The Recipes

Seven Minute Frosting

For all the baking I've done through the years I am surprised that I never discovered Seven Minute Frosting until now. It was perfect for the chocolate cupcakes (thanks, Betty Crocker) and held firm even in warm weather. Making the frosting was my small weekly contribution to the bake sale effort.

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter

2 egg whites at room temperature (important)
1/4 vanilla extract (optional)

If you have a stand alone mixer you can make this frosting easily and quickly, beating the egg whites while the sugar/water mixture is cooking. If not, beat the egg whites first, until firm, almost stiff. Cook sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, stirring. When it comes to a boil and 'froths' up, cook, still stirring, for about another 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat. At this point I put the mixture into a spouted cup so that I can pour it into the egg whites slowly in a narrow, steady stream, as the mixer is going. After you have added the syrup, continue to beat the mixture for about seven minutes, though sometimes less ( I have a strong Bosch mixer and maybe that makes a difference.)

The first few times I made this recipe I had a couple of failures but now it works every time. Make sure your bowl and mixer is clean, clean and your egg whites are at room temperature. Once when my frosting didn't beat up firmly I added about a third of a cup of whipping cream and kept beating. The frosting tasted more like whipped cream but the syrup stabilized it and it didn't melt.

Variations: I have substituted lemon juice and orange juice for the water to make flavored frosting. For the lemon juice, I think I used half lemon juice (fresh) and half water. Subtle and very nice.

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