Dark chocolate frosting, like many other frostings, starts with a butter or shortening base. In this recipe, dark chocolate cocoa powder and dark chocolate pieces replace flavoring extracts and milk chocolate pieces. Some dark chocolate frosting recipes only use cocoa powder, some use only melted dark chocolate, and some use a combination of the two. The choice is up to the baker and may depend on which ingredients he or she has on hand when making the frosting.
Only a few types of dark chocolate are unsweetened. Cocoa power doesn’t usually contain sweeteners, and unsweetened and semi-sweet dark chocolates are usually true to their names. Many dark chocolate bars and pieces have enough sugar in them to make them pleasantly sweet. This is often the kind of chocolate cooks should use in their frosting recipes. Semisweet chocolate is acceptable, but too much unsweetened chocolate in the mix can create a bitter frosting.
A basic dark chocolate frosting recipe using dark chocolate cocoa powder starts with about 1/2 part each of softened butter and vegetable shortening. The cook must mix these two ingredients together with an electric mixer until they’re relatively smooth. In a separate bowl, the cook should mix about 1 part dark chocolate cocoa powder and 3 or 4 parts confectioner’s sugar. He or she may then slowly pour the cocoa mixture into the butter mixture, turning the electric mixer on low to fully incorporate the ingredients. If the frosting doesn’t taste sweet enough after it is fully mixed, a capful or two of vanilla flavoring should highlight both the sweetness and the chocolate.
Those interested in making dark chocolate frosting with dark chocolate candy require the same proportions of butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla as above. The cook must simply replace the dark chocolate cocoa powder with 1 part chopped dark chocolate. This solid dark chocolate must be melted in a microwave-safe bowl or over a double-boiler and allowed to cool for about one minute. Letting the chocolate cool a bit typically helps it become slightly dense and prevents it from melting the butter and shortening. This kind of dark chocolate frosting should come together just like cocoa powder-based frosting.
A third type of dark chocolate frosting uses both dark chocolate pieces and cocoa powder. The cook has two choices here. He or she may use 1/2 part each of melted chocolate and cocoa powder, or a full part of each ingredient. Using a full part of each typically creates a very rich, intense frosting. Chocolate lovers that just can’t get enough may prefer this last version of the recipe.