Step-by-step instructions! Terrific! I can do this! With my new KitchenAid, I can do ANYthing! I loved the helpful pictures and warnings (Sift your powdered sugar! Do not microwave your butter!) and, armed with this guide, I set off to make buttercream.
Butter had been sitting out, all the other ingredients had been purchased and laid aside, nice batch of cupcakes ready to decorate, and one KitchenAid, ready for her maiden voyage.
I popped the butter into the mixer bowl, put on the paddle attachment, and turned it on low. Watched it go around for a couple of minutes, then realized that the butter was clumping up in the paddle. So I turned it off and poked the butter out with a spatula, and turned it back on. Went away for a few minutes, came back and said, "Oh, my God!" Stepson looked up from his homework and asked what happened... I told him that a miracle had occurred. That butter had NO IDEA what had happened to it. It was the creamiest, smoothest butter I'd ever seen. So I started adding (sifted!) powdered sugar, and turned the mixer back on to low. It looked kind of like a train wreck, so I let it go on low for a while, then when it seemed safe, I bumped it up a couple of levels, and went away again.
ASIDE: I have a damaged rotator cuff on my smart side. So I'm really limited as to the amount of holding, reaching, etc I can do without pain. Couple of minutes, tops, then I'm aching too badly and have to hand it off. So without having this stand mixer to do the work for me, I would never have been able to do this icing... couldn't hold my hand mixer for the amount of time it would have taken it to make this buttercream.
I came back, and it was another miracle. You have no idea how amazing butter and powdered sugar can look when it's been beaten up by a KitchenAid. I added the vanilla and tiny bit of salt, little tiny bit of milk, and there was my first batch of buttercream! Amazingly, fantastically, terrifically yummy, too. I was delighted with it, and couldn't believe that I had done it!!
Loading the buttercream into the decorator bag is actually the hardest part of the whole process. And what a mess I made! But here's the first cupcake with my first buttercream!
That was February 25. I had tasted victory for the first time.
Lesson learned: If you think that loading the decorator bag is messy, try re-loading it. Buttercream everywhere!