Kitchen Experiment: Easy (Swiss!) French Buttercream

Swiss French Buttercream Hey guys! Just a three-photo post today, because this recipe was never meant to be a real recipe. Actually, I made all the photos in this post for another post I was planning on doing. A post on Easy Chocolate (Swiss!) French Buttercream. Unfortunately,  the chocolate buttercream didn’t quite turn out the way I’d hoped. As in: yuck, yuck, YUCK! But luckily, this stuff was absolutely dreamy and glorious and delicious and soooo worth dedicating a blog post to, so a three-photo post it is!

That makes sense right? It’s just one of those happy kitchen mistakes!

But wait, what’s all that ‘easy (Swiss!) French buttercream’ stuff all about? It’s a funny title, isn’t it? Well, it is what it is! I made a Swiss French buttercream. And because ‘Swiss French buttercream’ is probably a little too confusing, I decided to put ‘Swiss’ in brackets!

So, what exactly is ‘(Swiss!) French buttercream’? It’s easy! We all know about Swiss buttercream, right? Which is basically a Swiss meringue enriched with tons of butter. And then there is French buttercream, which is made by mixing hot sugar syrup into egg yolks and then adding a ton of butter. These two different kinds of buttercream have one thing in common: both are made by enriching a ‘sweetened egg foam’ with – oh yeah – butter. But where the Swiss buttercream is made with egg whites, the French buttercream is made with just the yolks. And that’s not the only thing that’s different between these two delicious frostings!

The most important difference lies in the cooking method. As you may remember from my ‘Different Kinds of Meringue‘ series, Swiss meringue (and, consequently, Swiss buttercream) is made by gently heating a mixture of sugar and egg whites over a hot water bath until the sugar dissolves. The result? A deliciously smooth meringue! No crunchy, undissolved sugar crystals. No grainy texture. Just smooth perfection!

Incidentally, this method also allows you to pasteurize the egg whites by bringing the temperature of the mixture up to 71°C/160°F, thus making your meringue salmonella safe! Which means that you can use Swiss meringue to make completely salmonella safe buttercream!

So if you have an irrational (or rational!) fear of raw eggs, you know what to do…

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce Whenever you find yourself craving something ridiculously delicious, but don’t want to spend ages in the kitchen, go for this stuff! This salted caramel sauce is amaaaaazing! Seriously, don’t even get me started. It’s super easy to make, you just need five very basic ingredients to make it and it takes no time at all to cook it up! I’ve fallen head over heels in love with this stuff. And so has the Rocking Rebel!

But first things first, let’s start this post with a little context…

Last Friday, after I spent an entire day working on my thesis, I made the best cheesecake ever. Like: ever! The last time I’d made it was for my youngest sister’s birthday last September, but because it was devoured before I’d had time to take a picture of it, it never made it onto the blog. So I thought: let’s make it again! I even had the perfect excuse: the Rocking Rebel’s belated birthday party.

I had it all figured out. I would make said cheesecake – a delicious, dense, silky white chocolate cheesecake with fresh raspberries and a raspberry swirl on top –  and I would make the Rocking Rebel’s personal favorite: an amazing apple sheet pie with a streusel topping. In other words, two amazing cakes! Well, technically one cake and one pie, but definitely two potential blog post!

But….

Went I wanted to photograph the cheesecake on Saturday, the weather was not particularly cooperative. Sunlight, dark, stormy clouds, sunlight again… it was crazy! It just wasn’t my day, photography-wise. In fact, I couldn’t, for the life of me, take a decent photo of my gorgeous cheesecake! It was soooo frustrating!

So we ate it. We ate the entire thing. And the apple sheet pie with streusel topping. We ate that too. I never even got a chance to take a picture of it. I was too busy filling 100 balloons with helium/inhaling helium and laughing my ass off because I sounded like a smurf. Fun? Yes! Delicious? Yes! Good for the blog? No… Not particularly…

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Chocolate Swirl Meringues with a Hint of Cinnamon

Chocolate Swirl Meringues Last week, I concluded my series on how to make the different kinds of meringue with a post dedicated to French meringue. Which means that my days of playing with egg whites and sugar, coming up with the perfect recipe for a fluffy meringue pie topping (for Mini S’mores Tarts) and making cutesy French macarons (with a delicious whipped salted caramel filling!) are officially over. Well, for now at least. Which means… more time to spent on my thesis! Yay! Oh wait… boo!

I’m telling you: this thesis is taking over my life. Not that I spent every waking minute on writing it, but because whenever I’m not working on it, I’m thinking about it. Or, um, thinking about how I should be writing part of it that exact instant. Like: now! See? It’s happening again. I feel guilty whenever I’m not writing, which means that my thesis is always in the back of my head, which means that I can’t really chill out and put my feet up, because every time I do put my feet up I feel guilty. And that guilt is exactly why I want to finish the damn thing now. Right now! Like now, now, now!

Seriously, I feel haunted by my thesis!

FYI, it’s due on the 30th of November. Please bear with me. I may or may not completely lose it before then…

Luckily, baking keeps me grounded. As does blogging, so thanks for reading! It’s kind of therapeutic talking to you guys. Plus, it gives me a very welcome break from thinking about cultural memory, history, literature and that humongous pile of unread books on our dinner table (yes, my thesis is also taking over our dinner table).

So let’s get to business!

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Different Kinds of Meringue: How to Make French Meringue

How to Make French Meringue Yay! I did it! I finished my post on French meringue! Finally… I was a bit worried I was never gonna get it done. Not that writing about French meringue is hard or anything, it’s just that… well, um… Wait, let’s not bore you with the predicament-that-is-my-thesis again.

It’s getting kinda old…

Let’s just focus on the French meringue! This is actually the last post of my series: ‘The Different Kinds of Meringue‘ (and yes, I’m still proud of that title). In the past, I’ve dedicated series to buttercream, dulce de leche, caramelized white chocolate and pie crusts. I really enjoy doing series, can you tell? They are the perfect way to nourish my inner nerd without diving head first into a full-on panic attack, which is what happens to me when I attempt to do thesis-related nerdy things these days.

Oh, wait! I’m doing it again! Damn thesis…

Where was I… In case you missed it, the first post of this series was about Swiss Meringue, which is marshmallowy and dreamy. In the second post of the series I discussed Italian meringue, which is light and fluffy. If you haven’t read these first two posts yet, go do it now! Like: now, now, now! There’s important stuff in there. Like how to best freeze leftover yolks

Read it? Good. On with the French meringue.

French meringue is actually the least stable kind of meringue you can make. Both Swiss meringue and Italian meringue are a lot more stable and can be kept in the fridge for a day or two without collapsing. French meringue, on the other hand, will gradually lose volume and start weeping. Aka: moisture from the egg whites will start leaking out of the meringue. So keep that in mind if you decide to top a cake or pie with this stuff! Swiss meringue makes a much better pie/cake topping.

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Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips Yeah, yeah, I know: where is the meringue I promised?

I wish I had a decent excuse. Something like: I was abducted by aliens with green, pointy heads and weird names such as Wrchzyzk and Yshdmeb. Or something along the lines of: the Rocking Rebel and I have won the lottery and went to the Bahama’s to celebrate. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it? Even ‘a dingo stole my mixer’ would have been fine! I mean, who makes meringue without a mixer? It’s impossible…

But no. I don’t have a decent explanation. Just my thesis. Which is my excuse for everything these days!

So instead of posting 2000 words on making French meringue today, I thought I’d share my favorite don’t-disturb-me-I’m-writing-my-thesis-snack with you guys today. Because it’s amazing!

Okay, so the first thing you’ll need to know is that I’m going through an orange phase right now. Meaning that I like to eat orange things these days. Maybe because the leaves are turning orange? Maybe because there are pumpkins everywhere? Maybe because orange makes me think of a sunset in the Bahama’s instead of how many words I still need to write before the 30th of November?

Who knows…

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