Monday, January 12, 2015

Sugar Rush

This is a review for Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini.
I give this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

About the Author:  Johnny Iuzzini is the executive pastry chef of the world-renowned Jean Georges restaurant in New York City.  He was a judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts and he won the award for Outstanding Pastry Chef from the James Beard Foundation in 2006.

This cookbook starts out with custards & creamy desserts because the first thing Iuzzini learned to make was ice cream.  After creamy desserts it goes into eggs & meringue, then caramel, cakes, cupcakes and so on all the way through to the finishing touches of glazes, frostings, fillings and sauces.  The final chapter is one of the most useful "building a balanced dessert," where he goes into detail about how to balance flavors and textures to make truly stunning desserts. 

Iuzzini says "Plain sugar cookies, no matter how well they are made, are a bit boring to me."  This feeling seems to run through the book.  There are not a lot of basic recipes, most of the recipes have a twist or unexpected ingredient that make them exciting.

There are tons of photos in this book.  Many cookbooks only feature a photo of the finished product which, while being pretty is not especially useful.  There are some recipes in this book that only have a finished product photo but not all of them.  Recipes that are more complicated or rely on visual cues to tell if they are ready have step by step photos.  The directions for these recipes are really good.  There is no "fold in one egg, beat in cream, add sugar."  Recipes like that can be very frustrating.  Iuzzini is more detailed in his directions, he goes so far as to tell you what speed to use the mixer on, what tool to use for each step and he gives a lot of additional tips.

Some of the recipes in this book are very ambitious, some will require every baking tool and clean pan in your house.  The recommended tools page is very lengthy and the shopping list could make your checkbook run for cover.  While he recommends expensive tools he is quite clear that you can do everything in the book without them as well.

I haven't tried every recipe in this book, there are too many to try and get a review written in a decent amount of time.  There are a lot of great recipes in here and choosing which one to try next is definitely the hardest part!

This book may not be the best one for you if you have never attempted to bake in your life.  If you have baked and want to elevate your desserts to the next level this is definitely the book for you.

I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

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