filling the empty nest with food

Bad Food Bad Mood

The other day I was at a morning meeting where the host had generously (or so I thought) put out donuts and coffee for us. I have a greedy sweet tooth, and since it was Halloween, it was drooling over the thick orange icing and chocolate sprinkles. How disappointing to take my first bite and taste an unpleasant hint of chemical. I guessed it to be an industrial version of hydrogenated shortening in the icing. But, chemicals are so prevalent in our food supply that it could have been in the flour, the leavening, the fat the donut was fried in, those sprinkles that keep in your cupboard for decades. Yuck to all of it!

Whatever unnatural ingredient it was, it ruined my enjoyment of that Halloween treat. If I’m going to splurge on sweets, I want them to taste delicious. Is that too much to ask?

Seriously, friends, have you ever looked at the ingredient list of a can of store-bought icing? If you haven’t, here you go: Duncan Hines Whipped Vanilla Frosting: Sugar, Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean And Cottonseed Oils, Mono And Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60), Water, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of: Corn Starch, Modified Food Starch, Cellulose Gum, Cellulose Gel, Modified Gum Acacia, Salt, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Vanillin (Artificial Flavor), Citric Acid, Colored With (Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Red 40).

So, here is my contribution to turning the tide: a simple, no-fail recipe for icing. It’s super simple, always delicious, and adaptable. You can make a glossy buttery butter cream or a glaze for cakes or use it to frost cookies, and you can change the flavor in a snap.  Add cocoa or melted chocolate for your peanut butter cupcakes.  Leave out the vanilla and milk and substitute a bit of lemon juice to make a tart glaze for your bundt cake. Or (Mom, am I giving away a family secret?) a few drops of almond flavoring makes a heavenly addition to vanilla icing for a devil’s food cake.

So, go ahead and throw those cans of store-bought icing in the garbage. Then make sure your indulgences are delicious!

IMG_1233Vanilla Frosting

2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted, if you’re mixing by hand)
2 – 4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix together until smooth. You can always add or subtract milk or the sugar, depending on the consistency you’re looking for.

7 comments on “Bad Food Bad Mood

  1. Monnie
    November 2, 2013

    Yum and I found if you first melt the butter with some brown sugar then do the rest you get a caramelly topping that tastes great on anything made with apples or pumpkin!

    • Catherine
      November 3, 2013

      Thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t tried that, but definitely will now!

  2. LFFL
    November 2, 2013

    When you read the long list of ingredients, it kinda grosses you out.

  3. Mom
    November 3, 2013

    No secret–it’s a tribute to Nana, her idea.

  4. Caroline
    November 3, 2013

    Peanut butter cupcakes..what? I’m in heaven just thinking of them.

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This entry was posted on November 2, 2013 by in Desserts, Recipes and tagged , , .

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