Suzi's Blog

Sour Cream Icing [but it's still chocolate!]

sour cream


Sour cream. It has many uses: dips, baked potatoes, dips, chili topping, dips, …

It’s wrong, I know, but the flavor image that pops into my head is Lipton Onion Soup mix and sour cream. And, of course, I always double the amount of soup mix so that the dip literally burns your tongue. What could be better?

That ability of sour cream to offer cool, tangy flavor is, in fact, very versatile. The curt tang can be a perfect contrast to something that is “too” sweet. “Too” sweet? Yes, it’s possible. Some rich brownie recipes are so intense with chocolate and sugar that it’s hard to eat more than one. Even for a chocoholic, approaching-diabetic like me.

Here is the solution: a Sour Cream Icing that is made with chocolate and becomes the perfect, muting crown for brownies, cakes, or cupcakes.

You’ll want to let your sour cream come fully to room temperature. If it is still cold and is added to the melted chocolate, the chocolate will seize and you are dead. You can’t reheat the mixture. Sour cream does not reheat well. So, just plan ahead and you’ll be able to enjoy every bite of this distinctive icing.

Sour Cream Icing

Yield: about 1 ½ cups


  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces sour cream (regular, low-fat, or fat-free) at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir constantly until half the chocolate is melted. Remove the top of double boiler from the pot, then continue stirring, off from the heat, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave, too. Again, keep in the microwave until only about half is melted, then remove and stir with a spoon until completed mixed and melted.

[Nothing, nothing is sadder than chocolate microwaved until it scorches. You kitchen will smell like it’s been on fire and the glass bowl will be so much fun to clean. That burnt chocolate almost becomes a mortar. Always under heat!]

Add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat them into the chocolate with an electric mixer on low speed. Continue beating until the frosting can hold a peak when molded with a spoon, about 4 minutes. Spread immediately.

You can use your stand mixer for this, but here’s a case where one of those little, hand-held mixers is much easier to use and maneuver.

Source: The Ultimate Brownie Book by Bruce Weinstein



Mocha Cream Frosting


I know whipped cream is not a separate food group, but it could be. Even the lactose intolerant can rarely deny themselves the pleasure of a taste. While marshmallows do gracefully adorn a cup of hot chocolate, nothing can match whipped cream laced with sugar and vanilla.

At the other extreme, a cool whipped cream frosting on a chocolate cake, or a brownie, can be a delightfully different topping. And, adding flavor to the whipped cream is a devilish way to concoct a surprising flavor combination. Adding a dash of Kaluha or Crème de Cocoa to the cream after it is whipped transforms it majestically.

But, wait there’s more! from The Ultimate Brownie Book by Bruce Weinstein here is a flavor combination that can be created in seconds. Use your food processor to whip the cream.

I’m a beater man and shun whisks. Our KitchenAid stand mixer is practically devoted to batters, frosting, and whipping cream. So, I was a bit hesitant to use the food processor. How could that single whirling blade create whipped cream?

Well, it does. And fast. You’ll be done is a few seconds. Beyond that, you’ll be creating butter so be careful. The whipped cream achieved by this method is different from the beater variety. It is thick, but not as dense. It’s whipped for sure, but lighter. It’s a great change up.

The recipe below is straight from The Ultimate Brownie Book. Bruce suggests other additions to make the frosting even more complex: bits of candy bars, chopped nuts, … [If you put them in whole, and process to grind them up, you'll be beyond whipped cream.]

Personally, I love the mocha flavor here from the instant coffee powder. And the velvet smoothness that would be changed if you did add nuts or candy bars. The only adjustment I might make is to add more sugar for a sweeter taste, but then, as you know, I am an addict.

The first step, they say, to overcoming addiction is to admit it. I like the second step some experts recommend. You know, eating and eating enough of the stuff until you can’t face any more. Bring on the cream!

Mocha Cream Frosting

Yield: 1 ½ cups


  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder, crushed to a fine powder
  • 1 cup heavy cream


Shift the dry ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pour in the cream. Process just until thick and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Spread over cake or brownies.

Source: The Ultimate Brownie Book by Bruce Weinstein