christmas nougat – step by step guide

I think I have decided that I like nougat even better than rocky road at Christmas!  Perhaps it’s the extra effort and skill involved and the anticipation of what ‘kind’ of nougat it’s going to turn out to be… runny (fail), sticky, perfect, crisp?  Living in Queensland it’s usually hot and humid in December which is far from ideal nougat making weather.  We had a ‘dry’ day on Monday so I thought it might be a good day to make a batch.  It did turn out on the ‘sticky’ side, but still a winner.

The recipe comes from taste.com.au (basic almond nougat).  I have copied and pasted their recipe and added in my own photos and  tips along the way.

If possible, nougat making it as some stages a 2 person endeavour.  Enjoy!

  • 4 sheets (about 15.5 x 23.5cm each) edible rice paper
  • 200g blanched almonds (or nuts, dired fruit, chocolate of your choice)
  • 560g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) water
  • 1 500g jar glucose syrup (from corn)
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line an 18 x 28cm slab pan with non-stick baking paper or greased foil, allowing it to overhang the sides. Lay 2 sheets of rice paper side by side on a clean work surface. Use the base of the pan as a guide to cut an 18 x 28cm rectangle. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of rice paper. Place 2 sheets of the rice paper in the base of the lined pan. Spread the almonds evenly over a baking tray and toast in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until light golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Chop and set aside.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Use a wet spoon to spoon the glucose syrup into the pan. (To soften glucose in the microwave, see microwave tip.) The glucose prevents crystallisation and helps to ensure the nougat has the correct texture. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, brushing down the sides of the pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in warm water, until the sugar dissolves (this will take about 10 minutes). Fill the sink with 10cm of cold water. Place the egg whites in a large, clean, dry heatproof bowl. Place a sugar (candy) thermometer in the pan. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and boil, uncovered, without stirring. When the syrup reaches about 120°C, use the whisk attachment on an electric stand beater to whisk the egg whites until firm peaks form. It is important to use a stand mixer because, unlike a hand-held electric beater, it has a motor powerful enough to beat the nougat mixture.
  3. When the sugar syrup reaches 140°C, immediately remove the pan from heat and place the base of the pan in the sink of cold water for 5 seconds, or until the bubbles subside. This stops the syrup temperature increasing. The temperature of the syrup determines the texture of the nougat. When the syrup is cooked to 140°C, a chewy nougat results; if the syrup is cooked to 150°C, a harder nougat results. With the beater on medium speed, slowly pour hot syrup into the egg whites in a thin, steady stream. Don’t pour the syrup down side of the bowl or onto the whisk as it may set before being incorporated into egg whites.
  4. Once all the syrup is incorporated, whisk for a further 3 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy. Use a wooden spoon to mix the almonds and vanilla essence into egg white mixture until well combined. It is important to work quickly or the nougat will begin to set. Also make sure the nuts and vanilla essence are at room temperature – if they are cold, the mixture will set too rapidly, making it difficult to transfer to the pan.
  5. Quickly pour the nougat evenly into the lined pan using a spatula to scrape down the side of the bowl. Use the spatula or the back of a spoon dipped in hot water to spread the nougat evenly into the pan and smooth the surface. Place the remaining rice paper or piece of greased foil over the top of the nougat and press down gently. Set aside in a cool, dry place for 6 hours or until set.
  6. Lift the nougat from the pan and place on a cutting board. Remove baking paper or foil (if using rice paper, don’t remove it, as it is edible). Use a serrated knife in a sawing motion to cut the nougat crossways into 3cm-wide pieces and then cut each piece into about 4cm lengths. Place nougat in a clean, dry airtight container, separating layers with non-stick baking paper. Keep in a cool, dry place for 1-2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. If storing nougat in the fridge, bring to room temperature before serving.
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