March 29, 2012
Honey Almond Nougat
I think I've mentioned before that I don't have that much of a sweet tooth.
Unfortunately that isn't the case for the rest of my family
BigJ loves sweet things. He goes for Cadburys Snack Block, I go for Lidnt 80* black chocolate, he likes to drink Coke, I like plain soda water... Don't they say opposites attract?
Every now and then I like to sweeten the deal though and create a sweet treat for him. Easter is fast approaching, and rather than buy him his usual big bar of Toblerone which has an unequal choc to candy mix, I decided to make some nougat from scratch to team with some milk chocolate bars so he could mix-and-match his way to a perfect ratio of nougaty niceness.
Just one word of warning though: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME WITHOUT A STAND MIXER! It's just waaaay to hard, you have to drizzle hot toffee syrup, and mix for ages. Too much hassle to try and do by hand- trust me!
Honey Almond Nougat
2 cups White Sugar
3 Egg Whites
1/4 cup Water
2/3 cup Almonds
Rice Paper Sheets
First of all lightly toast the almonds to intensify their nuttiness and add a bit of depth
Measure out your glucose and honey- you can see how scientific I was about it, I guestimated there was about 150 ml missing from my 500ml bottle of glucose, so I just topped it up. Life with glucose is a lot easier if you zap it quickly in the microwave to heat through and thin down.. Much easier indeed!
Line your tray with rice paper to stop it sticking
Put the sugar, glucose, honey and water in a pot and stir it on a low heat until the sugar dissolves
Bring to the boil on a medium heat. You might need to brush the sides of the pot with some water if there are any sugar crystals sticking to the edge. if any of these fall into the mix, they will seed the syrup with crystals and it will seize up instead of boiling freely
The syrup will start to look lovely and clear and deepen in colour. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn, but don't stir it. I know it's tempting, but if there are any stray sugar crystals stuck on the bottom or anything it will all go wrong. Just leave it be.
Bring the syrup up to about 140* on a sugar thermometer, or until it reaches 'crack' stage. What's that you ask, it's when you drop a little of the syrup into some cold water and it instantly goes hard and any little strands 'crack' and snap when bitten into for testing.
Start whisking the egg whites, and when they reach peaks SLOWLY drizzle in the syrup. If you just dump it in it will cook the egg whites in yucky clumps instead of whipping into lovely billowy clouds of confection.
Quickly switch the whisk to a paddle attachment, then continue beating for a few minutes until it forms stiff peaks
Slowly mix in the almonds
Scrape all the mix from the bowl and into the lined tray. It's very stiff and I found it easier to use a hard edged scraper to help me
Smooth down the top, or roll gently to flatten. I added some leftover almonds and pressed them down to look pretty- unfortunately I just tipped the container of nuts onto my nougat without checking for any little odds and ends of messy bits, oops!
Allow the nougat to harden up and set at room temperature for a few hours
Carefully tip the tray out then cut into sices using a very nice sharp knife, or saw through it with a serrated knife if that's easier
Store at room temperature in an airtight container, for a couple of weeks- if you can resist it! I had to put strict rationing in force so it didn't get snaffled up out of hand!
I was pretty happy with the way this turned out, there are also so many variations on the basic recipe to play around with. I'd like to try a dark chocolate and cherry mix, and think I'll have a tinker with a violet and blueberry variation as well.
So Dear Readers, do you like nougat and have you a sweet or savoury kind of tooth?