2. Put the stick of margarine and the cup of brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Now, some of you will be tempted to use butter instead of margarine, and that's fine. I've done that many times, but to get the flavor and consistency that Grandma's frosting had, you need to use the Blue Bonnet margarine--and not the "light" stuff.
You can start cooking the sugar and margarine right over the firebox because you need to bring it to a boil; however, you won't be leaving it there.
3. While it is heating, I usually use my spoon to chop up the stick of margarine a little bit and stir things around a little. Don't stir much, though, because you don't want it to get grainy.
4. Once this mixture comes to a full rolling boil, keep it boiling for exactly two minutes. Don't leave it directly over the fire, though, because you don't want it to boil hard for that amount of time. If you do, you'll end up with frosting that will crack into a million pieces later on. In the pictures below, you can see the progression of the syrup moving away from the fire in the space of these two minutes. Have your 1/4 cup of milk ready for the next step.
|Boy! I'm sorry about the state of my cooktop in these last two|
pictures. Marjorie is long overdue for a good polishing.
5. At the end of the two minutes, add the 1/4 cup of milk, place the syrup back over the firebox, and bring the mixture back to a boil.
6. As soon as it has reached a good rolling boil again, remove from the fire immediately.
Now things get interesting (hence the lack of pictures).
7. Pour a little of the hot syrup into the bowl of sifted powdered sugar and begin beating it together.
8. Continue to add the hot syrup a little at a time, beating after each addition. You may need to beat quite a while. It's a little like making homemade candy.
The original recipe directions say to add all of the syrup to the powdered sugar and beat until it is of spreading consistency. However, Grandma never did that because she said that all of the syrup wasn't always necessary. She swore that the recipe varied every time. Sometimes she added all of the cooked syrup, but more often than not she would have anywhere from a tablespoon to a quarter cup of syrup leftover.
9. Once the frosting is of the desired consistency, add a teaspoon of vanilla and the two or three drops of Mapleine.
10. Frost whatever you are going to put this on in kind of a hurry because it can set up fairly quickly if you are not careful.
In the picture below, the caramel frosting is spread on a pan of Rosalie's Spice Bars. I shared that recipe on the blog way back in 2011 and promised that I'd share the frosting recipe at a later date. I keep my promises, I guess, but not in a timely fashion.
- This frosting can be thinned successfully with a little cream.
- I've often used all of the syrup and added some extra sifted powdered sugar with very good results.
- This yields enough frosting for a jelly roll pan of bars or the top and sides of a tall angel food.
- Grandma saved any unused syrup in a little jar in the refrigerator and would later use it as ice cream topping. Since there are four August birthdays in her descendants alone, there would be multiple little jars of syrup in her refrigerator during that month!
- For my from-scratch recipe for angel food cake and directions on how to bake one in a wood cookstove, go to this link.