Cooking with Alison

Almond Nougat Recipe

In Other Desserts on December 20, 2010 at pm

I wanted to put something different onto my holiday baking list this year, so I made almond nougat.  I love the chewy and crunchy texture and it’s surprisingly easy to make (if you have a stand mixer and a candy thermometer).  Try making variations of this with strongly brewed coffee instead of water; or maple extract instead of almond extract; or switching the almonds for hazelnuts or pistachios, etc.

Almond Nougat Recipe

adapted from Anna Olson

3 cups blanched whole almonds

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 cups granulated white sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup honey

pinch of salt

1/4 cup water

2 large egg whites

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1/4 cup of softened butter plus more for greasing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast until golden and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool and turn off the oven.  Meanwhile, lightly grease an 11 x 7 x 1 1/4 inch pan.  Line it with enough parchment paper that it hangs out over the edges.  Then grease the top of the parchment paper as well.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add the sugar, corn syrup, honey, salt and water.  Over medium heat, stir with a rubber spatula until the sugar dissolves.  Then set up a candy thermometer and allow the syrup to boil without stirring until it reaches the hard ball stage at 252 degrees F.  Meanwhile, in a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at maximum speed until stiff peaks form.  With the mixer on the highest speed, pour 1/4 cup of the hot syrup over the egg whites in a thin steady stream.  Continue beating at maximum speed until mixture is stiff enough to hold its shape, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Continue cooking the remaining syrup until the candy thermometer reads 315 to 318 degrees F and the sugar produces brittle threads when cool.  Then, with the mixer on, pour the remaining syrup in a thin steady stream over the egg whites.  Be very careful not to burn yourself as the sugar is very hot.  Beat at maximum speed until mixture is stiff enough to hold its shape.  Add vanilla extract, butter, and almond extract if using, and beat again for 3 to 5 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the whole almonds and ground almonds.  Transfer the mixture to your buttered and lined pan.  Smooth the mixture evenly with a spatula or with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap.  Allow the nougat to cool and harden at room temperature.  If it is a humid day, refrigerate the nougat until firm.  Remove the nougat from the pan by lifting the parchment paper out or by inverting the pan onto a cutting board.  Using a sharp and lightly buttered knife, cut the nougat into pieces of your desired size.  Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper.  Note that the nougat is best enjoyed on the first day as it hardens over time.
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