This morning our daughter and I were greeted with the season's first frost. I adore frost. It is up there on the romantic scale with fog and rain - it must be my West Coast upbringing. I love the way frost coats our lawn and the flowers and the leaves that are scattered about. I love the way how on a chilly, frosty morning you can see your breath and how my coffee leaves a steam path you can walk through like the smoke from a train on a platform you see in old movies. You know the scene, the soldier steps down onto the platform off the last step of the train, thinking no one is there to greet him but when the smoke clears, there is his lady love (illuminated from behind) in a wide brimmed hat, heels and the perfect A-line skirt with a lone tear gliding down her cheek past her perfectly painted red lips... 'She still loves me after all this time' thinks the soldier as he walks and then half runs to her side before they embrace for the first time since the war began. See? I really do love a frosty morning! The down side is that our poor bipolar lilac tree does not quite know what to do. Each Fall, the lilac tree is duped into thinking it's time to party and every year, save for one, the party is canceled and her blooms blacken and shrivel due to the frost.
Frost also makes me think of the Pastoral Symphony scene from the Disney movie Fantastia. You know the scene. The petite, delicate fairies buzz and dance about bringing frost to trees and lakes. I love the crosshatch patterns across the leaves and the way the frost just clings to the leaf tips. Nature offers up so many joys if only you open your mind and heart. The frost this morning also got me to thinking about frosting versus icing. Frosting is a thick coating that sits on the tops of treat while icing is thin and just dances on the surface of a treat. I know I am in a HUGE minority when I admit I am not a frosting person. I truly prefer a slight touch of icing. To me, icing is the "makeup" of the baking world. Icing should just enhance the treat, NOT detract, the same way makeup should enhance someone's features.
If you have a good basic recipe guide for icing, the sky is the limit. I rarely measure ingredients when making icing and prefer the "dump" method. I also like to work in equipment to give myself enough space and to be more comfortable when making things. So, I "dump" into a large bowl; Confectioner's sugar, a pinch of fine salt, a dash of pure extract and enough liquid to bring the mixture to the consistency of heavy cream. I just keep whisking until I achieve that consistency and that's it! Once you have a good, basic recipe the sky is the limit. Add melted chocolate. Vary the extract. Try pure vanilla of course but also try maple or raspberry. Simply spread or dip the icing onto your rolls or cakes and enjoy.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor