American crusting buttercream works beautifully to decorate on my sugar cookie recipes. I have been using this recipe for years, it was adapted from a crusting buttercream recipe of Wiltons. If you hate the idea of the vegetable shortening you can use all butter. I think it gives the buttercream extra smoothness when piping. We are cutting the butter with shortening, make sure its new shortening and hasn’t been sitting in the back cupboard because it will get rancid quick and develop a taste we don’t want in buttercream. The shortening gives the buttercream sturdy crust. If they set up overnight, you’ll be able to gently stack your decorated cookies.
This buttercream is a little sweet because the amount of confectioners powdered sugar makes the crust strong. This pairs wonderfully with my sugar cookies (recipe in my first book, creative cookie decorating). I feel like you can’t go wrong with this American crusting buttercream. I like to color my American crusting Buttercream about a cup at a time with gel food coloring. Gel gives a deeper, more rich color to Buttercream. If you’re looking for a deep shade- put plastic wrap over a bowl of colored American crusting Buttercream and let it set on the counter overnight to let the color deepen. Works especially great when trying to get a red, dark green, blue and black Buttercream.
You will need, unsalted butter (or salted sweet cream butter from Costco and omit the salt) Crisco vegetable shortening, pure vanilla extract, salt, confectioners powdered sugar, milk and a stand mixer. Recipe can be cut in half.
I suggest to add two extra Tbsp of heavy cream if you’re using heavy cream in this American crusting Buttercream because its so much thicker than milk. I think 2% milk works best in this recipe.
Grab either of my cookie cookbooks for more buttercream tips, from piping to coloring, to decorating. Creative cookie decorating and Creative cookie decorating for everyone, anywhere online books are sold. Happy piping 🙂
American crusting buttercream
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter softened, out of fridge 20-30 minutes
- 1 cup (184 grams) crisco vegetable shortening
- 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
- 2 tsp (8 grams) pure vanilla extract
- 9 cups Confectioners powdered sugar
- 5-6 tbsp milk or heavy cream
- Cream butter, shortening and salt together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes. Both must be softened and out of fridge for 20-30 minutes top prevent over clumping of the fats.
- Once creamed, add vanilla and mix for one minute on medium speed.
- Add in powdered sugar, can sift after measuring. Put a towel over mixer to prevent a powdered sugar storm in your kitchen.
- Once mixed, add in milk, starting with 5 Tbsp and add more if needed. You can always add more but you can't take it out. Continue to add more than recipe states if it's too thick. The temperature and humidity will play a factor in. If buttercream is too soft, add in 1/4 cup powdered sugar to thicken it up.
- Mix until smooth, about one to two minutes. Don't over whip because it can become grainy, we want smooth for piping on our cookies. Store unused buttercream in an airtight container for up to two weeks in refrigerator.
I just made this buttercream and I’m excited to try it on my sugar cookies. My question is – can I thin it with water to use for flood type consistency? Or do I need to use milk?
I use all butter- buttercream when flooding and heavy cream to thin it. I have not had success using this recipe and water, the fats separate. Hope this helps