(Sung to the tune of the Beatles “Let It Be”)
“When I find myself in times of trouble
Candy bars are there for me
Easing all the stress
A series of flight delays and other airport hassles on a Sunday night led me to treat myself to a See’s Candies Nut & Chew Bar from an airport See’s kiosk. And you know what? It made my travel experience a little sweeter and inspired me to make nougat from scratch. Most people barely know what nougat is, and you don’t really need to know much more than that it’s the chewy stuff that holds together a Snickers bar. My experimentation with nougat was in the form of Chocolate Almond Nougat Bites- a mini twist pretzel covered in a mound of chewy, fluffy nougat with two roasted almonds on top, smothered by dark chocolate. It turns out the nougat wasn’t as difficult to make as I thought it would be, but it still requires proficient use of a candy thermometer and coordination skills that allow you to slowly and carefully pour boiling hot sugar into a rapidly turning mixing bowl. So, it’s definitely not a process for the candying making novice. That said, the results are pretty ridiculously delicious. Note, the nougat doesn’t take too long to make (under an hour), but it takes quite a bit of time to individually assemble each of the candies. Plus chilling time is needed, so this recipe can be quite a time intensive project.
The nougat in all its beauty and glory. You can see the candies to the left before they’ve been covered with chocolate.
Hours later, the Chocolate Almond Nougat Bites are ready to eat.
Chocolate Almond Nougat Bites
Makes approximately 100 pieces
(From Hand-Crafted Candy Bars)
Mini twist pretzels (buy a big bag to make sure you have enough. The number of pretzels you use will depend on how much nougat you pile on top of each pretzel)
3 egg whites
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) corn syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) water
2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whole roasted almonds, approximately 1 pound (16 ounces)
1 pound of melted dark chocolate (I used a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate bar)
- Line at least two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the pretzels on the baking sheets in a single layer.
- Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and continue to boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 235°F on a candy thermometer (about 6 minutes).
- When the sugar mixture has reached 235°F, begin whipping the egg whites on low speed, just until they are a bit bubbly.
- Continue cooking the sugar syrup until it reaches 245°F. Take it off the heat.
- With the mixer on low, pour a splash of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the space between the rim of the bowl and the whisk attachment. Make sure not to add too much sugar syrup at a time because it could cook the egg whites.
- Continue whisking, and slowly add the rest of the hot sugar syrup.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix until the nougat reaches a full, frothy foam (about 4 minutes).
- Add the vanilla and salt to the nougat.
- Keep whipping at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-6 minutes.
- Allow the nougat to cool in the bowl, and once it has reached room temperature, you’re ready to assemble the candy.
Assembling the Candy
- Using two spoons or a small cookie scoop, put a mound of nougat on each pretzel.
- Lightly press 2-3 whole almonds on top of the nougat. Repeat with all the pretzels. Set aside.
- Melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl set over a boiling pot of water.
- Spoon the melted chocolate over the almond/nougat, and spread lightly over the sides if desired.
- Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.
Note: These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months. I prefer to keep them in the fridge.