The other day I made a batch of buttercream icing that required 25 pounds of butter. I then mixed it with about 13 pounds of shortening. That’s a lot of fat to watch paddling around in a bowl. I watched it all mix together in a greasy mass, fearing as I added the fifty pounds of powdered sugar that perhaps an 80- quart-mixing bowl might not hold all its contents. Imagine your average cookie recipe. With this much butter you could make about 50 batches of chocolate chip cookies.
A batch of buttercream this size will last about a week at Corporate the Giant and the high demand for this greasy load is to due, or course, to the new Cupcake Shop. Still, the gluttonous quantities hold a grotesque beauty.
Peering into my vat of fat mixing about, I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with Butter. In fact, my personal favorite icing at Corporate the Giant is our Brown Butter Icing, where we simply brown some butter, and add THAT butter to the already butter loaded buttercream, giving it a wonderfully nutty and….buttery flavor.
It is that deliciously, greasy, smooth, rich butter, which acts as the backbone to almost all of our delicious desserts, and foods for that matter. In Molly O’Neills article, “Butter: A Love Story,” featured in Saveur magazine, she articulates the simple magnificence of butter’s purity and terroir that elevates, “ordinary life to epicurean adventure.”
Unlike, shortening or margarine, butter is the straightforward result of bonding fat globules through the over-whipping of some cream. Yet, minutia can be found in its flavor. Flavors vary based on what cows have been grazing, and thus elements derived of the land where it was made. Flavor also depends on when cream is churned (allowing for a sweeter or tangier flavor). In short, butter is more than just a fat. It is the essence of flavor.