There are a number of ways to make buttercream. Some recipes call for butter only some call for shortening only and some call for half and half. Today we will be talking about shortening based recipes, but we have included two recipes in this article for you to enjoy.
Shortening usually can be purchased in your local supermarket two ways. White shortening, which is unflavored shortening or yellow shortening which has been flavored to taste like butter. If you are making white icing you will want to make sure that you do not use butter flavored shortening otherwise your icing will not be white.
I will tell you that since Crisco changed their recipe in an effort to cut out trans-fats it has effected the way the buttercream icing tastes and feels. The trans-fat found in the original Crisco is what made your buttercreams tasty and didn't leave a greasy film on the roof of your mouth.
There is also another type of shortening that will make your buttercream tasty; High Ratio Shortening, which is a little harder to find but whips up smoother, creamier and is less greasy than traditional shortening. What's the difference you ask? High ratio shortening contains emulsifiers that allow your buttercream to hold more sugar and liquids before breaking down.
I will tell you that High Ratio Shortening is very expensive compared to Crisco but you will use less in your recipe and once you've tried it you'll have a hard time going back to Crisco. Use 2/3 cup of high ratio shortening for every 1 cup called for in the icing recipe.
I have been told by other decorator's that a less expensive route is to purchase store brands of shortening. Just check the label and if it contains trans-fats then that shortening will be like the old Crisco before they changed the recipe. However, keep in mind this route will not have the same flavor as a Sweetex, but it will be easier on the pocket book and give you some of the other qualities that the new Crisco recipe no longer has.
So go which up a batch of buttercream and go create beautiful art!
Make it sweet or savory, but always delicious!