Thursday, March 27, 2014

March Daring Bakers' Challenge - Nougat

The March 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.


From the moment I saw this month's challenge, I couldn't wait to get started.  

Now, the nougat that we were making here is not the same nougat that most of us think of from candy bars. This nougat is more closely related to marshmallows, and is a sticky, chewy, sweet candy, usually with nuts mixed in. And I couldn't wait to try it.

As I am completely comfortable with making marshmallows, I wasn't intimidated by this process. There were only a few differences.

The first difference is the syrup. The syrup for nougat is made with honey, where marshmallows are made with corn syrup.

The syrup mixture is then carefully heated and boiled, whcih is where this comes in handy.

I boiled my syrup until it was 280 degrees.

While this was cooking, I prepared the other half. Whipping up an egg white. For my marshmallow recipe, I use gelatin. For these, it's more like traditional marshmallow cream recipes - egg whites whipped to soft peaks.

And then I carefully and slowly poured the syrup down the sides of my mixer, which was beating at full speed.

This is whipped up at high speed for about 10 minutes. Just like marshmallows.

This is the time when any mix-ins can be... well... mixed... in. Even though, due to the raw egg whites, I knew little man wouldn't be tasting these, I still opted not to mess with nuts (don't want to contaminate my mixer or anything). So I thought... why not chocolate chips?

In theory, not a bad idea.  But let me warn you... the nougat is still warm at this point. Which makes stirring in chocolate chips...

...a little messy.  But once it cools down, it looks kind of marble-y cool.

So I cut it into pieces and we tried it!

This stuff is fun. But a little goes a long way! And it is definitely sticky! I am sure that, depending on the temperature of the syrup, you can play with the consistency a bit, and I bet it's really good with other things mixed in.

Seriously, this was an awesome challenge. Rebecca, I can't thank you enough!!!

To see the challenge as Rebecca presented it, check it out here.

To check out the amazing nougats prepared in the kitchen this month, check them out here.

(from Joy of Kosher)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg white, room temperature
pinch kosher salt
1-2 cups of your choice of mix-ins (toasted nuts or seeds, dried fruits - I used chocolate chips)

You are supposed to use edible rice paper on both sides of this sticky treat and if you plan on packaging and giving out to friends or storing for a while it would be wise to find some. I didn’t and I just used parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray and for serving in our house it worked out just fine.
Prepare and 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or rice paper sprayed with cooking spray. I used a baking sheet, covered in parchment and sprayed generously with cooking spray.
Combine sugar, honey and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of pan. Increase heat and boil until thermometer registers 280 degrees.
Meanwhile, beat the egg white and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, slowly and very carefully, stream hot syrup into egg whites. Beat until the meringue is thick and has cooled slightly, about 10–12 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and your chose mix-ins to the meringue; mix nougat with a rubber spatula to distribute evenly.
Spread the nougat on the prepared pan. Top with second sheet of rice paper or sprayed parchment.  Use spatula to press the nougat into an even layer.   Let nougat set at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.
Cut with a knife and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


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