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Old 12-04-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
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I'm hoping someone can help me understand what I've done wrong!

My favourite recipe for buttercream contains egg white, sugar, unsealed butter and vanilla. I have made this recipe over and over again without fail until just recently. The directions say so whisk the egg whites and sugar over boiling water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch this is when I transfer the mixture to my mixer and whip it into glossy peaks. At this point, the last 3 times, I can already tell its wrong. The meringue doesn't fluff up like it used to. It does keep its form but it doesn't whip up and make the amount it usually does. Then I add the butter and it becomes sloppy. Usually this recipe make more then enough icing to cover 18 cupcakes but when it goes wrong it barely covers 12.

What is wrong?? If I can already tell in the beginning stages then it must be my eggs? The egg/sugar mixture is too warm? Am I mixing it too high?? Please help!

Thanks in advance

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:10 PM   #2
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How old are your eggs? The shells are porous and lose liquid from the egg whites while they are just sitting there in your fridge. That alone will alter your recipe. Are you using the same size eggs every time? Are you timeing the amount of time it sits over the water? Is the water touching the bottom of the bowl while you are stiring it? Is the water too hot? Are you allowing the mixture to get too warm?

It would help if you prints the recipe so we can take a look at it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:15 PM   #3
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If nothing in the recipe has changed, perhaps it's something outside the ingredients. One problem can be any trace of oil or fat on any tool or the bowl. This could be from having recently relocated bowl or beater storage to an area where it gets spatter fallout from the range. Or someone washing them poorly. The oil problem is a sensitive as the problem of getting yolk in with the whites. It only takes a trace. Plastic bowls are the worst for retaining oil. Also consider a tiny oil seal leak in a mixer shaft. Be suspicious of changes in dishwashing liquid or dishwasher products and dishwasher functioning. Especially if mixer bowls are washed with greasy cookware. If there's any suspician, specially hand wash everything right before attempting the meringue.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Welcome to D.C.
Addie and GLC make very valid points. I reckon unsealed butter is the same as unsalted butter. Is it the same brand you always use? Some economy brands might have another oil blended in. Just a thought.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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Hoot, sometimes we get so familiar with a recipe that we have made over and over with success that we tend to take little shortcuts. And then disaster strikes. The recipe doesn't work. Unlike a stalk of celery, eggs are delicate and you can't take them for granted. And like GLC has stated, even just a very light coating of grease or oil on any of the instruments used, can changed everything.

If your recipe call for three eggs and they have been sitting in the fridge for more than a week, they have lost a lot of their water in the whites through evaporation through the shells. That's why you find a bigger space at the top of the egg than you do with a fresh egg. Even storing them improperly with the pointed side up can make a difference.
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