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Yogurt icing is an alternative form of dessert icing, compared to buttercream or cream cheese icing, that uses regular or Greek strained yogurt and powdered sugar. Greek strained yogurt is popular for icings that need to mimic thicker ingredients like butter or shortening, and is often used to ice airy cakes and cupcakes. Regular yogurt icing may include flavorings and other ingredient additions, depending on the food being frosted. Sometimes, a yogurt icing may include butter or shortening to add more texture to the icing, containing the same slightly sour and sweet taste that comes from the yogurt.
The simplest icing made from yogurt includes mixing a teaspoon of regular plain yogurt with powdered sugar, a little milk and any desired flavorings. This type of yogurt icing is smooth and runny, yet slightly thick and spreadable, and is often used for icing cinnamon buns and other pastries. If icing a chocolate or vanilla dessert, additional ingredients to this frosting might include cocoa powder, vanilla extract and instant coffee. Another variation of this icing is to use around a half cup (115 g) of yogurt and mix with a larger proportion of powdered sugar, resulting in a thinner icing.
Strained Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular plain yogurt, and is often used in healthier frosting and icing recipes to mimic the texture of butter. Greek yogurt can also take the place of cream cheese in cream cheese icing recipes, which can top tart and lemony desserts. Since strained yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt, using a larger amount of strained yogurt is acceptable to create a thick icing consistency. Adding too much powdered sugar or other powdered ingredients can result in a thick frosting, making it necessary to thin with a few drops of water or milk.
Sometimes, chefs incorporate butter or shortening into a yogurt icing to copy the texture and consistency of icing made exclusively with these ingredients. To still achieve the slightly sour taste of yogurt, the emphasis is still on yogurt rather than the butter or shortening. It is common for individuals to seek out yogurt icing recipes because they are lower in calories, making it a popular icing for healthier desserts. Often, a healthier yogurt icing includes sweetener alternatives to decrease the amount of sugar in the icing, as well as the overall calories.