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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chocolate Nougat Treats

What is nougat?

Nougat is a variety of similar traditional confectioneries made with sugar and/or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and recently macadamia nuts are common), and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat can range from soft and chewy to hard and crunchy depending on its composition, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates. The word nougat comes from Occitan pan nogat - Occitan pronunciation: [panuˈɣat]), which means nutbread.

There are three basic kinds of nougat: The first, and most common, is white nougat (which appeared in Cremona, Italy in the early 15th century and later in Montélimar, France, in the 18th century) is made with beaten egg whites and honey. The second is brown nougat (referred to as "mandorlato" in Italy and nougatine in French) is made without egg whites and has a firmer, often crunchy texture. The third is the Viennese or German nougat which is essentially a chocolate and nut (usually hazelnut) praline.

I’ve found quite a few… check them out!

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Malted Nougat Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped, salted Brazil nuts

chocolate sprinkles (optional)

1 cup or 2 sticks of butter 

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/4 cups of light brown sugar

1/2 cup of malted milk powder (I used Horlicks brand)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour and the baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Then beat in the malted milk powder and vanilla extract.  Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.  With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold in the flour mixture.  Lastly, mix in the Brazil nuts.

Shape dough into balls, about two inches in diameter.  If you opted to use the chocolate sprinkles, pour some in a small bowl.  Then take each ball of dough and dip the top in the sprinkles.  Place each ball of dough onto the prepared baking sheet (sprinkles face up), spacing evenly apart, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches.  One baking sheet should hold about six balls of dough.

Place cookies in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Make sure you do not overcook, they will become very hard.  I baked mine for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

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Double Chocolate Nougat

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup honey

3 egg whites

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

2 ounces cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla bean

2 ounces butter

2 ounces semi sweet chocolate

1 tsp. orange blossom water **

** alt: 1/2 tsp. orange zest, fine

Parchment paper

Decorative edible rice paper

Method for simple sugar:

Combine equal volume of 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 cup water and add the honey. Bring the sugar-water to a steady boil, set heat to medium-low and reduce the solution to 1/3 its volume. This will bring the sugar to a "soft ball" stage (240F/115C) without changing the color. Why this? Because gelatin will not work at these temperatures and corn syrup is unnatural, and just nasty (not to mention unhealthy). If you prefer to cheat, use molasses for this version only, (molasses is already dark and thick enough to use as a binder).

Method for the chocolate crunch | caramel:

In a sauce pot, begin warming 1/2 cup sugar with the cocoa powder. Using a wooden spoon, you will need to move the sugar quickly to evenly incorporate the cocoa powder. Bring the sugar slowly to 300F/149C. This is a "hard ball" stage. The sugar will have a noticeable brown color and a slight charred scent. Turn off the fire and quickly, but carefully whisk in the butter and cream. The sugar is going to hiss and bubble. Hot sugar is very dangerous if it touches your skin, so be cautious. Once whisked thoroughly, you will have caramel. Pour out on a slightly buttered sheet pan and allow it to cool completely. Then, have some fun and crack the caramel into tiny pieces.

Method for chocolate nougat:

Take 1 cup sugar and orange zest or orange blossom water. Begin melting it to 255F/124C. While doing this, beat the egg white to stiff peak stage. Here is the speed part. When the sugar reaches temperature, you will need to stream line the chocolate sugar into the egg whites slowly, so that the egg whites "gel" with the sugar to form a soft, velvety nougat. It will resemble soft taffy. ( Yes, taffy is a type of nougat also, just in case you were wondering). Once the dark sugar is in, the hard work is done. Add the walnuts and the caramel crunch. Melt 2 ounces of semi sweet chocolate and marble into the nougat for added richness.

Pour the double chocolate crunch nougat into a parchment lined square cake pan. Distribute evenly. Most nougat are about 1 to 1 & 1/2 inches thick. Cover with a second sheet of parchment. Cool to room temperature. Alternately, you may place a book on top, to press out some of the air bubbles.

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once cooled completely, turn out the nougat onto a parchment. With a clean wet knife, cut the nougat into bite size pieces. From here, you can dust with cocoa powder or if you can get you hands on some edible rice paper, wrap the nougat pieces delicately in the paper. There are so many presentations for this. Serve a few with a cup of illy espresso or in a candy dish. Even better - surprise your neighbors this coming holiday season with a beautifully wrapped box. You can shape them as you like, wrap them in fine papers or any other cool wrapping!!!

Enjoy!

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Salted Chocolate, Peanut and Pistachio Nougat Ice Cream

Ingredients for Chocolate Nougat:

290 grams sugar

90 grams glucose

120 grams water

310 grams good-quality honey (I used acacia)

100 grams egg whites

20 grams sugar

pinch of cream of tartar

260 grams unsweetened chocolate, melted

250 grams salted and roasted pistachios

250 grams salted and roasted peanuts

Method:

It's best to work on a marble slab but if you don't have one, a large wood block will do. Set up a sheet of parchment paper in between two candy rulers (if available, if not it's ok). Lightly dust the parchment with cocoa powder.

Spread the peanuts and pistachios on a sheet pan and keep warm in a 250F oven until ready to use.

Place the egg whites and the cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whip attachment. Start whipping the egg whites on low speed while we proceed with the rest of the ingredients.

In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar and the water until it resemble wet sand. Brush the sides of the pan with water to dissolve any sugar particles that are left. Turn on the heat and when it starts to lightly boil, add the glucose. Continue cooking the sugar on high until it reaches 155C.

At the same time, pour the honey into a small pan and boil. When it almost reaches a first boil, turn the electric mixer on high and let the egg whites get foamy and fully whipped. Continue boiling the honey until it reaches 120C. The honey will really bubble up and foam up at this point.

When the egg whites are whipped, add the 20 grams of sugar and continue whipping on high for another minute or so until it develops more body. Then, turn the machine to medium speed and slowly pour in the 120C honey from the side of the bowl. Turn the machine back to high speed and continue whipping the egg whites until the sugar syrup reaches 155C. Then turn speed back to low and pour this sugar syrup into the meringue slowly on the side of the bowl. When all the sugar has been incorporated, turn back to high speed and whip for another 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes, turn the mixer down to low speed and add the melted unsweetened chocolate. Turn speed higher and whip for another minute or so. Remove bowl from mixer and add the warm peanuts and pistachios. Fold with a spatula. Spread the nougat in between the candy bars on top of the parchment. Spread with an offset spatula to even it out. Let it cool a bit. Cover with another sheet of parchment or silicon mat and let it set for 24 hours.

Ingredients Chocolate Nougat Ice Cream:

500 ml heavy cream

250 ml whole milk

25 grams cocoa powder

150 grams sugar

5 grams sea salt

100 grams egg yolks

125 grams 70% chocolate, chopped

150 grams chocolate nougat, chopped into small pieces

Method:

Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, cream, salt, half of the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, place the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Temper the cream mixture over the egg yolks and whisk. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook to 82C or until it coats the back of the spoon.

Pour this custard over the chopped chocolate and whisk until it is all incorporated and melted. Strain this ice cream base through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and chill over an ice bath. Refrigerate overnight.

The following day, churn the ice cream base in the ice cream machine and when it is done, fold in the chocolate nougat pieces. Pour into container and freeze.

Note: Something I never mention about ice cream and that is very important, is to have your ice cream container (where you will store your churned ice cream) in the freezer before hand. This way, when your churned ice cream hits the container, it stays frozen. If this container were at room temperature, your ice cream would start to melt, losing the air that was incorporated during the churn.

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Snicker Squares

Ingredients for Base layer:

1 c. milk chocolate chips (I used 1/2 chips, 1/2 PC Mini Fudge Melts)

1/2 c. butterscotch chips

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

Ingredients for Nougat:

1/4 c. butter

1 c. sugar

1/4 c. evaporated milk

1 1/2 c. marshmallow fluff (if you buy Kraft it's the whole jar)

1/4 c. creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 c. chopped salted peanuts

Ingredients for Caramel layer:

1 package (14oz) caramels

1/3 c. heavy cream

Ingredients for Top layer:

1 c. milk chocolate chips (I used 1/2 chips, 1/2 PC Mini Fudge Melts again)

1/4 c. butterscotch chips

1/4 c. creamy peanut butter

Instructions:

Spray a 9" x 13" pan with cooking spray (or grease with butter).

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter together.

Spread the melted chips and peanut butter mixture over the bottom of our pan and refrigerate until set.

For the filling, in a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and the milk and bring to a gentle boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and vanilla. Add peanuts and stir to incorporate.

Spread nougat over chocolate base and refrigerate until set.

For the caramel layer, in a double boiler, combine cream and caramels and melt until creamy and smooth. Spread caramel over nougat layer and refrigerate until set.

For top layer, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter together. Spread over caramel layer and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and allow to warm up for 10-15 minutes. Cut and serve immediately. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: It's a lot of steps but totally worth it!

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Whispering Chocolate Nougat

Ingredients:

Few sheets of rice paper

3/4 cup whispers, chopped

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup liquid glucose

½ cup golden syrup

2 egg whites

50g butter

2/3 cup chocolate Horlicks powder

Method:

Line a 15 x 20cm square pan with rice paper and sprinkle with the whispers. Combine the sugar, glucose and syrup over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and boil for 6 minutes (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 138°C or small crack stage (when the syrup is dropped into ice water, it will harden straight away). Remove the syrup from the heat. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peak stage and slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, beat until very thick and shiny. Add the butter and Horlicks and pour into the prepared pan, top with another sheet of rice paper and allow to set for a few hours. Turn the nougat out and cut into squares.

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What do you think? If you haven’t tried one, would you try some?

Happy chocolate day!

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