When I was little, I loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. One of my favorite stories was from Farmer Boy. Almanzo's parents went to visit family, leaving the kids at home by themselves. Their mother yelled "Don't eat all the sugar" over her shoulder as they drove away. As soon as the wagon was out of sight, Eliza Jane was dipping into the sugar and making ice cream, pound cake and candy. By the time their parents returned home, the sugar barrel was nearly empty. In my mind, it was an enormous barrel and they had had a great time baking (and eating) all week. I couldn't imagine a more enjoyable way to spend a few days.
My new favorite cookbook should help me reach the bottom of my own sugar jar. Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini is full of gorgeous photos, tips and step by step instructions. I'll use my favorite ingredients - butter, sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate, cream - as I cook my way through this book.
First, I tried the Buttercream recipe, for the French Macarons my daughter and I brought to the Chicago Food Swap. Molly filled the chocolate-almond shells with Coffee Buttercream using the Sugar Rush recipe. This was an Italian Buttercream, which is made by pouring hot sugar syrup over whipped egg whites, then adding butter (five sticks of butter, to be exact) to create a light, silky filling. I made the Vanilla Buttercream, then flavored it with espresso powder to create a rich coffee frosting. It was delicious. The key ingredient was the espresso powder from The Spice House. The coffee flavor was pronounced and balanced out the sweetness in the chewy macaron shell.
Macarons and Italian Buttercream both use egg whites. I had about 18 left after making my contribution to the Food Swap. Lucky me: Sugar Rush has ice cream recipes that use lots of egg yolks. I can't wait to try them.