How to Make Nougat
Nougat is a sweet, versatile confection. Hard nougat can be enjoyed on its own in small chunks, while soft nougat can be added to candy bars, cupcakes, and other treats. The basic procedure for preparing nougat is the same regardless of which texture you prefer; the main difference between soft and hard nougat is merely a change in cooking temperature.
Makes 12 to 24 servings
3 egg whites
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) light corn syrupORliquid glucose
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 oz (60 g) unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup (80 ml) malted milk powder
1 cup (250 ml) almonds or other nuts
1 cup (250 ml) mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup (125 ml) toffee bits
Line the baking pan.Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch by 8-inch (20-cm by 20-cm) baking pan with parchment paper. Set it aside for later use.
- Alternatively, you could grease the bottom and sides of the baking pan with butter, shortening, or nonstick cooking spray. Using parchment paper will make the pan easier to clean, though.
Fill a medium bowl with ice.Place about 3 cups (355 g) of ice in a medium mixing bowl. Set it aside.
- The ice may not be necessary, but it's still a good idea to prepare it. If the syrup climbs above the desired temperature while you heat it, you'll need to use the ice to quickly “shock” the temperature back down.
Check your candy thermometer.Test the accuracy of your candy thermometer by dipping the tip into boiling water. The temperature should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
- Even if your thermometer was accurate the last time you used it, you should still check it again before preparing this or any other confection since your temperature measurements must be precise.
- You can still use a candy thermometer that no longer reads the correct temperature. Simply adjust the temperatures in the recipe by the same amount of variation.
Melt the chocolate, if applicable.If you want to make chocolate malted nougat, you'll need to chop up and melt 2 oz (60 g) of chocolate before you begin working on the main part of the recipe.
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces and transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Set it aside as you work on the main part of the nougat. The chocolate should cool slightly, but not enough to start solidifying.
Make the Syrup
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.Place these three ingredients in a heavy, medium saucepan. Set the saucepan over medium heat.
Cook and stir until the sugar dissolves.Heat the sugar mixture on the stove, stirring continuously, until the sugar granules dissolve and the mixture reaches a boil.
- This will usually take about 10 minutes.
- If the mixture reaches a boil but sugar crystals are still present on the side of the pan, cover the pan and continue boiling the syrup for 1 to 2 minutes. During this time, the steam should help wash the crystals away.
- Alternatively, you can wash down the sides of the pan by scraping them with a wet pastry brush.
Allow the mixture to reach the correct stage.Continue cooking the syrup mixture over medium heat until your candy thermometer reads the ideal temperature. For soft nougat, the temperature should reach the soft ball stage and read 238 degrees Fahrenheit (114 degrees Celsius).For hard, chewy nougat, the temperature should reach the soft crack stage and read 275 degrees Fahrenheit (135 degrees Celsius).
- This will usually take anywhere from 6 to 12 more minutes.
- When preparing soft nougat, you can actually cook the sugar syrup up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit (118 degrees Celsius). Similarly, you can allow the sugar syrup to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) when preparing hard nougat.
- If the temperature climbs above your ideal degree range, though, quickly stop the cooking process by sticking the bottom of the pan into your prepared bowl of ice.
Combine the Syrup and Meringue
Beat the egg whites.As the syrup mixture heats up to the indicated temperature, place the egg whites in a large heat-resistant bowl and beat them with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- For hard, chewy nougat that retains its on shape, beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form. If you'd prefer soft, fluffier nougat, you only need to beat the egg whites until they become frothy.
- Note that you can beat the egg whites before you start to cook the syrup if doing so makes you feel more comfortable. They should hold even if you don't use them immediately, and once the syrup reaches the correct temperature, you'll need to work quickly.
Temper the egg whites with hot syrup.Once your egg whites are ready and your syrup is hot enough, pour one splash or ladle-full of hot syrup into the egg whites. Mix it into the egg whites using your electric mixer.
- If using a stand mixer, set the mixer on low speed before you begin adding the egg whites. If using a hand mixer, begin mixing on low speed immediately after adding the egg whites.
- Try to pour the syrup as close to the side of the bowl as possible without actually touching the side.
Pour in the remaining syrup.Once you've blended the initial batch of syrup into the egg whites, pour the rest of the syrup in while continuing to beat the mixture at low speed.
- Pour the syrup slowly, but try to keep a steady, continuous stream. Continue at slow speed until all of the syrup has been added.
Beat until the mixture holds its shape.Once the syrup and egg whites are just barely combined, increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture seems thoroughly combined and stiff.
- Stiff peaks should form regardless of whether you choose to make hard or soft nougat, but if you started with stiff peaks before you added the syrup, you should notice that the stiff peaks look less glossy during this stage than they did initially.
Allow the Nougat to Set
Add any desired mix-ins.Once stiff peaks form in the nougat, you should add any mix-ins you wish to use.
- To create chocolate malted nougat, add your 2 oz (60 ml) of melted chocolate and 1/3 cup (80 ml) of malted milk powder. Blend in the ingredients using your electric mixer at low speed.
- To create bars of chewy nougat with crunchy mix-ins like almonds, dried fruit, or toffee bits, simply add the desired ingredient to the nougat and stir or fold it in using a spatula. You can mix and match or stick to one mix-in, but try not to exceed more than 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) either way.
Pour the nougat into the prepared baking pan.Regardless of whether you added any mix-ins, pour the stiff nougat mixture into your lined baking dish. Use a spatula to even out the surface of the nougat.
Flatten hard nougat.When preparing hard nougat, place another sheet of parchment paper over the surface of the nougat. Gently press on the nougat through the paper to smooth out the top.
- Do not do this if you're preparing soft nougat, however, since the parchment paper will be harder to peel away later.
- Leave the parchment paper on the nougat until the mixture cools down.
Let it cool down.Allow the nougat mixture to sit out at room temperature until it cools. You'll likely need to wait for several hours.
- Soft nougat can be cooled in your refrigerator, but you should always cool hard nougat at room temperature.
- During this time, the nougat should set to its final consistency. Hard nougat will actually become too hard to press into. Soft nougat will become more firm, but it should not harden completely.
Cut hard nougat into pieces.If you prepared hard nougat, you can cut it into pieces once it cools.
- Remove the nougat from the baking pan and peel off the parchment paper from both sides.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the nougat into squares. You'll need to rock the knife back and forth to force it through the confection.
Store the nougat in an airtight container.Transfer the nougat to an airtight container and store it at room temperature for three days to one week.
- For hard nougat, wrap the individual pieces of nougat in wax paper to prevent them from sticking together. You should also keep a layer of wax paper on the bottom of the container and in between stacked layers. Hard nougat should remain good for one week.
- For soft nougat, use it immediately or spoon the entire batch into the container and seal tightly. Soft nougat will usually last for about three days.
- Note that either type of nougat can remain good for about two months if stored in the freezer. Thaw the frozen nougat for one hour in your refrigerator before using it, though.
QuestionCan I make this without wax paper?Top AnswererYou can make it without wax paper, but if you want to keep them from sticking together or save for a few days, wax paper is needed. Also, lining the pan and topping the nougat with wafer paper (also called edible rice paper, even though it’s made from potato starch) makes it easier to work with.Thanks!
Can rock hard nougat be melted down and otherwise used?
- Lining the pan and topping the nougat with wafer paper (also called edible rice paper, even though it’s made from potato starch) makes it easier to work with.
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