Monday, October 8, 2012

French Almond Nougat

For two Christmas's in a row I made this candy to give away in Christmas boxes to friends and family. It is definitely a huge success. Thanks again Martha Stewart!

If you have made butter cream icing before then nougat will be a snap. The timing can be slightly, and only slightly, tricky but the results are worth any effort.
French Almond Nougat - Wrapped nougat in the Christmas Boxes
I generally make 4 recipes filling 2 - 1/4 baking sheets.

For 1 Baking sheet I used:
4 Large Egg White - room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

then:

3 Cups of Light Corn Syrup
3 Cup of Sugar
8 Tablespoons of Melter Butter
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract - (1 TBS if you want more vanilla flavour)
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
7 Cups of Whole Raw Almonds with the skin on

More after the jump.......
Start by lining your sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper. The paper should slightly extend over the edges. Set the an aside for later.
French Almond Nougat - Everything is ready to go
This is a two step process.

Step 1: Mazetta

In the mixer with the whip attachment, whip egg whites until stiff and set aside.
French Almond Nougat - Egg Whites
In a sauce pan mix 1 1/2 cups of corn syrup, 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reaches 242 degrees (soft-ball). This may take up to 20 minutes.
French Almond Nougat - Both boiling steps going at once.
French Almond Nougat - Coming to temperature
Once temperature has been achieved, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites beating continuously until all of the syrup had been mixed in. This should take you a few minutes. Set aside for the next step.
French Almond Nougat - The syrup has been added
French Almond Nougat - The complete Mazetta
Step 2: The rest

In another pan mix 3 cups of corn syrup, 3 cups of sugar and bring to a boil. You will want to reach 280 degrees (soft-crack). This can take up to 25 minutes.  Be sure not to leave the mixture until you have finished.

Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
French Almond Nougat - Next Syrup
Now you have to work really quickly!

Pour the slightly cooled mixture over the previously mixed Mazetta and stir until smooth.
French Almond Nougat - Adding the second syrup
Next add the butter, vanilla, and salt and mix again until the butter is incorporated fully. Now stir in the nuts. The mixture will be heavy so use a strong spoon or spatula.
French Almond Nougat - Butter and vanilla
French Almond Nougat - Add the almonds
French Almond Nougat - Mixed in almonds
Once thoroughly mixed empty the mixture onto your parchment lined pan.

Smooth the mixture out to ensure it fills the pan from corner to corner.

Let stand for 1 day. You can let it stand for less time but 1 Day was the right amount of time for me.
French Almond Nougat - Sitting to cure for a day
Packaging is up to you from here.

I used:80 - 3 1/2" x 5 " pieces of parchment.

I cut the completed nougat along the short side of the pan in 3/4" slices then each of the strips in to 7 or 8 pieces. I wrapped each piece of nougat in the parchment twisting the loose ends to contain the nougat.
French Almond Nougat - Cut & Wrap
Now you are done! Enjoy!

Baker's Notes:
  • I have had 2 pots of mixtures on the go at once - it reduced the amount of waiting time between step 1 & 2. Since the mixtures have to be at 2 different final temperatures this has worked well.
  • don't stack the finished pans on top of each other while you are waiting for the nougat to cool. When I did this, somehow the nougat leap up off the one pan and sealed itself to the other pan. It was difficult to separate the two
  • you will need to twist the end of each piece of candy in its parchment cover. If you don't the nougat will ooze out and you will have a pile of nougat with paper innards.
  • this might be the place for Tahitian vanilla extract since you are not cooking the vanilla
  • you may be able to use glaced fruit in the mixture for a more festive look

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