The cookies have all been decorated, the cake has been filled and iced, and yet a bowl of icing remains, filled to the brim with your miscalculated excess. When people have leftover batter they make cupcakes, stale bread becomes croutons, a few pieces of dry challah make the best french toast in the morning. But what does one do with leftover icing? I hate the thought of waste in the kitchen, especially of my delicious buttercream so a solution to this problem was essential. After a little research, I stumbled upon an idea for making “icing cookies”. The recipe recommended replacing the butter in the formula with icing. This idea seemed perfect for a butter-heavy Swiss meringue which is what I usually make. They didn’t, however, tell you to add additional sugar and chocolate which I did. We’re already using icing in lieu of butter, why stop now?
Perpetually in pursuit of perfection, I decided to conduct an experiment. All three batches of my icing were a Swiss meringue buttercream. Not as sweet as the traditional American icing, the hallmark of a good Swiss meringue is its noticeably “buttery” flavor and its silky smooth texture. All three icings were made with chocolate: two with white and one with milk, other than that they were all identical. The first batch I made exactly as the recipe instructed. These came out bready and soft, with not much flavor to speak of. They did not spread and were unattractive and lumpy, lacking the crisp rim a good cookie develops to say nothing of the contrasting soft inner core one expects.
Unhappy with my first attempt, I added sugar to the second batch. These were slightly better flavor-wise but still lacked the spread and texture I wanted.
For the last batch, I used the milk chocolate icing. Adding a healthy amount of chopped chocolate, upping the sugar yet again, and sprinkling in some hazelnuts, because really what cookie doesn’t benefit from their addition? This last cookie was what I had always wanted. With the higher level of sugar, they spread well. These became a sweet crisp cookie and the chocolate and hazelnuts added an excellent textural contrast with a flavor was reminiscent of Nutella.
All in all, not a bad way to recycle excess icing. I see plain butter potentially becoming a thing of the past.
The Upcycled Cookie
3 cups Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
2 cups Sugar
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup chopped Milk Chocolate or Chocolate Chips
¾ cup chopped Hazelnuts
Preheat your oven to 350F
Cream icing and sugar together, add eggs one by one mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add all remaining ingredients and fold in.
Mix until all traces of flour are gone, but take care not to over mix.
Drop Tablespoons of the cookie batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Baking for 10-12 minutes turning the pans halfway through.