I made some Honey, Vanilla and Pistachio Nougat earlier this year. It was SO good.
Actually, I'd forgotten all about it until I was given an E book for my ipad of all my blog posts that Mum had made for me. Only looking back through it in book format, did I really appreciate the volume of things I've made over the last year and the amount of things Oliver and I have done !
Given Christmas is almost upon us, I decided to have another bash at nougat for Christmas gifts. I'll be making another batch of the original recipe - but my new adaptation of last year's recipe is just as good although not nearly so sticky to the touch. In an effort to create a chocolate nougat, I added some melted chocolate to the other ingredients. It gave a less sticky result. When white chocolate is used, it's really not detectable as having chocolate added ....
2 egg whites
1.1/2 cups / 320g granulated sugar
300ml corn syrup (or glucose)
1/2 vanilla pod
200g toasted hazelnuts
40g good cocoa powder
100g of dark chocolate (I used 65%)
for those in the UK, corn syrup can be bought from Amazon.co.uk. Works out considerably cheaper than buying liquid glucose. Golden syrup can be used as a substitute, but it's a lot sweeter in taste. Worth investing in corn syrup for candy making - the difference (ease) is incredible.
Scrape the seeds out the vanilla pod and put aside. Put the pod itself and the sugar, liquid glucose or corn syrup andd water into a large, heavy based saucepan (preferably non stick - you'll appreciate that later !)
Bring these slowly to a rolling boil and keep on the heat until temperature reaches 248 to 250deg F. This will take about 15 mins.
Just before the syrup mix is ready, whisk the two egg whites to stiff peaks in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Remove syrup from the heat and pour slowly into the egg whites with the mixer going at a medium / high rate. Try and keep the syrup from directly making contact with the whisk otherwise this can affect the texture I believe.
The mix will grow like meringue and look shiny. As soon as the syrup is all in, add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and let the mixer combine. Quickly chuck in the hazelnuts. You want it to stick to the beaters like a good meringue, but it will be much stickier. Don't let it cool in there too much. You need to work quite quick with this one ! It doesn't take long in the mixer.... get it out within a minute or so of all the syrup going in.
Scrape into a well buttered silicone bakeware mould - I used a 9" square silicone bakeware mould - and allow to cool. Chill in the fridge to get it really nice and hard as it is generally easy to cut that way.
For other variations try :
100g pistachios, 50g dried cranberries, 50g dried cherries, 100g white chocolate (omit the cocoa powder)
150g walnuts, 60g white chocolate, 40g milk chocolate, 1tsp strong coffee granules (added to syrup)
Cut into strips (I got approx 6 per tray) wrap in cellophane and tie with some ribbon. Quick and simple store cupboard stand by items that can quickly and easily be turned into a beautiful gift !
Merry Christmas to All - and wishing everyone all the best for 2012.
I'll be taking a few days off work (by the end of tomorrow). Looking forward to some well earned rest and overdue time with my family. I hope to perhaps catch up and message many of you during the holiday and will be back with loads of new mould designs very early in the New Year.