Does anyone know why my buttercream icing comes out crunchy? I use 1 cup crisco, 2 tsps flavoring, 1 tbl mergine powder, 2lbs powder sugar sifted and water.
The recipe you're using is for a "crusting" buttercream which means that it forms a crust after it sits for a while.
This is a desirable characteristic, if you wish to use either the Melvira or Viva/faux fondant smoothing techniques.
If you don't want your b/c to crust, then increase the amount of fat in your recipe until it crusts more slowly or not at all.
Crusting vs. non-crusting:
The more fat, the less crusting. I use 1-1/3 cups of fat to 2 lbs of p.sugar and mine is a well-crusting recipe. I also think the merinque powder adds to the crustiness (based on my use with it in cookie icing). I'm not swearing to that and I welcome anyone who may have more expertise than me to jump in here.
Add more fat and that should help.
Cakecentral: one of the few places in life that will tell me to add more fat. LOL
Yes, meringue powder is used to help with crusting and to help prevent color bleed.
Are you talking about the texture when you have just mixed it, or the outer coating once it dries on the cake?
If its crunchy after you've mixed it, you may need to sift your powdered sugar more - with a very fine sieve. The crunch could be chunks of crystalline sugar which has slipped into the powdered sugar mixture in manufacturing.
If its just the outer coating - yeah, its meant to as everyon else has mentioned. If you do not want that to happen, try a meringue-based buttercream like SMBC or IMBC. It won't crust!
I'd add in some more fat (crisco). As Debi says the more fat the slower/less crusting. I actually use two cups of crisco to two pounds of sugar, but you can always start with a smaller amount and add up until you get it where you like it.