Confectioners sugar (Recipe: chocolate refrigerator cake)
Friends, I have failed you.
I've tried and tried to find the confectioners for whom confectioners sugar was named.
I checked the library, the telephone directory, and the Internet. I searched everywhere for an "association of confectioners who gave their name to sugar," but to no avail.
This would be so much easier if the sugar had been named for a particular confectioner. Edward's Sugar. Sabina's Sugar. Joe's Corner Store Sugar.
Ah, well. I did learn a few things along the way. Confectioners sugar, also called powdered or icing sugar, is regular old granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and then has had 3 percent cornstarch or tri-calcium phosphate added to prevent lumping and crystallization. Often you'll see the number 10X on the box; that means that the granulated sugar has been ground ten times.
Once the box is opened, I store leftover sugar in a glass jar with a tight-fitting cap, to prevent moisture from getting to it.
According to Joy of Baking, a pound of confectioners sugar equals 4 cups sifted or 4-1/2 cups unsifted. Because it dissolves almost instantly, it's used primarily in recipes that don't require much, if any, cooking, such as icings, sauces, and some cakes and candies.
By the way, the confectioners sugar I buy in my local market does not come with an apostrophe. You might find confectioner's or confectioners' sugar where you shop. Powdered sugar, icing sugar, apostrophe or no apostrophe -- all the same.
Chocolate refrigerator cake
Another old-fashioned recipe I've had in my little black notebook for so long that I can't remember whether it came from a magazine, a friend, or the back of a box. Serves 8-10.
2-1/2 dozen ladyfingers
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 cup whipping cream, beaten (for topping)
Separate ladyfingers and line bottom and sides of a 9x12-inch glass baking dish with half of them. Put chocolate, granulated sugar and water into a double boiler over low heat. Stir until chocolate and sugar are melted, and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks gradually; continue to cook mixture until thick and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, cream the butter and confectioners sugar. Add the cooked mixture, and then the stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour the chocolate mixture into the lined glass baking dish, and then cover with another layer of ladyfingers. Put in the refrigerator or freezer and let set overnight or up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, cut into single-serving squares and add a dollop of whipped cream.