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Homemade Nougat with Honey & Macadamia Nuts…

June 23, 2010

I’m going to let you in on a little something about my cookbook buying habits. I’m sure you can relate. I buy a lot of cookbooks. And that’s putting it mildly. I am fast and furiously building up my cookbook collection. I love them. I can’t get enough of them. And the more pictures they have, the better.

Having heard that confession, its right to assume that I haven’t yet actually made a lot of the recipes in those cookbooks. And that’s part of the excitement. If I ever get bored or lack inspiration, all I have to do is page through endless pages of endless books and there’s no chance that I won’t get inspired.

My collection got one book bigger the other day as I wandered round my favorite bookstore and was inspired. I picked up a little book called “Field Guide to Candy” and started paging through. After a few pages I was hooked. Here was a simple, categorical collection of recipes and notes on how to make just about any candy you can think of.

I’m sometimes skeptical when I look at buying a new cookbook, as there are some cookbooks out there with recipes that just don’t work, and you wonder how they got published in the first place. (that’s why I love food blogs so much, tried and tested all the way) But I took one look at the author and not only were my fears long gone, but surprise and excitement followed.

One of my favorite bloggers, Anita Chu from Dessert First, had written a cookbook? And here in the middle of this little bookstore in Cape Town, South Africa I had stumbled upon it? It was meant to be. And I bought it.

And this book will be different. It will end up with pages crumpled and splotched with sweet substances because it will be well used.

I haven’t made a lot of candy up until now, it always seemed so tricky. But I’ve wanted to, and I’m happy to have this guide to make things easier. One of my favorite sweets is Nougat and I didn’t wait even two days before jumping in and making it.

It is a little tricky, it is a lot sticky and a lot messy but its a lot yummy to.

Honey & Macadamia Nut Nougat…

(Adapted from “Field Guide to Candy” by Anita Chu)

  • 4-6 sheets edible rice paper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup/glucose syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups whole macadamia nuts

Line a 9-by-13-inch baking tin with rice paper. (Non-stick greaseproof paper will do if you don’t have or don’t want to use rice paper)

Place the egg whites in your stand mixer. (one of these is almost essential to making nougat unless you have someone else with you to help)

Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until soft peaks form.

Place the honey in a small saucepan and cook over med-high heat until it comes to the boil.

Oops, that’s not the boil, it must bubble up and become frothy, then you can turn the mixer onto low speed and add the bubbling honey in a slow steady stream.

That’s why a stand mixer is best. Bubbling hot honey in one hand trying to whisk at the same time with the other hand would not end well. Safety first people.

Turn the mixer up to high speed and continue mixing until the mixture has cooled some, and forms stiff peaks.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup/glucose syrup and salt with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan.

Cook over med heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Throughout the process it is a good idea to dip a pastry brush in water and brush down the sides of the pan to wash down any sugar crystals that may have formed. These would cause crystalisation in the syrup later on which is a big no no.

Once all the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring and continue to cook until the syrup reaches 150°C/300°F (hard crack stage) on a sugar thermometer. It is NB not to stir the syrup once the sugar is dissolved as any agitation of the syrup could cause crystalisation which is a what? Correct, big no no.

Once the syrup has reached 150°C/300°F, turn the mixer onto low speed and add the syrup in a slow, steady stream.

Continue mixing until the mixture has cooled and is stiff and glossy. This may take a while.

Add the vanilla and the butter and mix to incorporate. The mixture may appear to separate and will half in volume but don’t panic, this is normal. Continue to mix and it will reincorporate.

Remove the bowl from the stand and add the nuts. Stir them in with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

Spread the mixture out into the baking pan. This is the sticky part. And cover it with another layer of rice paper. Press down on the rice paper to flatten the mixture. It firms up pretty quickly so you will have to press quite hard.

If you’re not using rice paper, heat a metal spoon up in boiling water and use the back of it to press down on the mixture to smooth it.

Let the nougat set. Mine only took 2 hours to set but the recipe says overnight.

When you’re ready to cut it, use a well oiled knife and re-grease it between cuts. I would advise you to wrap it immediately in cellophane as the pieces that I didn’t wrap seemed to flatten and loose shape a bit after about 30 min.

N helped with the wrapping as it was a father’s day gift to our dad. I was so happy when he kept asking over and over, “Did you really make this?”

Dad, I love you! You are the best Daddy in the world. It’s true. And Mom I love you just as much, you are always there, even in the background of my photographs. :)

Now, don’t be scared. Try it out, and if you have any questions, I’m here to help.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. MOM permalink
    June 23, 2010 10:59 pm

    Mmm and it feels like Mothers Day everyday when R bakes and I can lick the spoons AND the dishes! Yum. Nougat was really good. Well done my girl. Really proud of you! U gonna make a good mom yourself one day when God blesses you with children. Sleep tite.

    • chocswirl permalink*
      June 24, 2010 11:01 am

      thanks mom :) That means a lot!

  2. June 24, 2010 7:50 am

    It looks devine! reminds me of Sally Williams Nougat and your lucky dad must have enjoyed every morsel

    • chocswirl permalink*
      June 24, 2010 11:01 am

      It reminded me of Sally Williams Nougat to! And not to brag but it tasted pretty similar. :)

  3. June 25, 2010 8:46 pm

    This is such a fabulous post: detailed, interesting and beautifully illustrated. Congratulations!

    • chocswirl permalink*
      June 27, 2010 12:43 pm

      Juno, thanks for your awesome comment! :)

  4. June 28, 2010 4:34 pm

    Hats off to making your own nougat! I’ve always been too scared…

    • chocswirl permalink*
      June 30, 2010 12:32 pm

      Don’t be! its really not such a scary thing, If you’ve worked with sugar before, and made Italian meringue or something of the sort, then that’s half the worry gone. You just boil the syrup for longer and you need a bit more time. But so what if it doesn’t work out first time? Its an adventure, and flops often taste just as good!

  5. July 4, 2010 6:00 pm

    mm nougat! I have the same book but have yet to try anything from it.

    I can say with certainty however that it should be possible to make these without a stand mixer. I’ve made marshmallows with a hand mixer and although a little awkward, they turned out fine. Although I never have to worry about that ever again asI just bought my first kitchen aid stand mixer! Sorry to brag but I’m very excited about it.

    • chocswirl permalink*
      July 6, 2010 1:12 pm

      Hi Eleanor! Really, brag away… I did when I got my kenwood titanium chef! (see, I’m still bragging :)) Maybe I should rephrase the part about not being able to make it with a hand mixer, you’re absolutely right! What I should have said was… “If you are accident prone and clumsy as hell (like me) then don’t try it without a stand mixer!” :) I’m cursed. But its all part of the fun I suppose, trying not to break too many bowls or burn myself too badly.

  6. DAD permalink
    August 1, 2010 7:54 pm

    Hi Robs,
    The nougat was great, when is the next batch. Your mom is teaching me how to blog – did’nt even know what that was until tonight. You are a great cook and an even better daughter – God has really blessed me with all my girls. Love you lots. Dad

    • August 2, 2010 8:48 am

      :) So nice to have my family commenting. Love you guys! He he… after so long of my blogging you’ve only found out what it is now? :) Love you dad, missing you lots.

  7. August 26, 2010 6:39 pm

    I am so tempted to try this, especially after looking at your beautiful illustrations!
    Will need to borrow my mums Kenwood though, as I only have a hand mixer.
    Thanks for all the details!

  8. September 16, 2010 6:25 pm

    Thanks for the photos and the detailed instructions. I want to make nougat but was worried to pour the hot candy into my brand new Kenwood. But seems like that is what is was made for!

  9. kyla schneider permalink
    July 7, 2011 4:33 pm

    making the nougat was a bit tricky, but great fun. i made it with my friend and we cant wait to taste it!

  10. karin permalink
    January 14, 2012 6:45 am

    Hi there it really looks great!!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!! How long can one store the nougat? Ate one yesterday that was covered in Belgian choc…think it is quit a good idea seeing that it will lock the freshness in and keep the shape :)

    • January 14, 2012 9:44 am

      Hi Karin,
      Covering it with chocolate sounds amazing! It would definitely keep longer that way! Just on its own it does tend to loose shape (especially if not wrapped in cellophane or something). Mine was wrapped in cellophane and It kept for about 1 1/2 – 2 weeks. After that the sugar in it started to crystallize. But it does also depend on the climate etc. :)

  11. Ben permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:47 am

    Great post thanks, I’m looking forward to giving this a crack. My girlfriend is lactose intolerant and I’m just wondering how you think things will go if I omit the butter (looking at other recipes, it seems pretty unusual to have it in there at all).

    • April 23, 2012 5:41 pm

      Hi Ben, thanks! :) I think you’re right about the butter, will you let me know how it turns out?

      • Ben permalink
        May 17, 2012 3:23 am

        A delicious success :-) Very sticky without the rice paper though, I think I’ll have to hunt around for that next time.

  12. Karin permalink
    October 27, 2012 7:18 pm

    Looks great! Will try it for Christmas! I just can not find the step, when you compine ist with the nuts.

  13. Jane permalink
    November 8, 2012 10:57 pm

    I have now tried 3 nougat recipes all flops so distressed coz i want to do little blocks of it for my sons treat table at his wedding….its the sugar part that i seem to be messing up please tell me when it reaches those required degrees do you take it off the heat straight away and pour into the egg whites, the first one i did didnt set tasted devine though and second one the sugar was burnt to hell tasted disgusting, and it didnt set help help help thanx :)

    • November 9, 2012 6:56 am

      Hi Jane, I’m so sorry to hear that! Nougat can be a tricky one. Yes you do take it off the heat straight away when it reaches the correct temperature, and start pouring it in straight away. Could you have taken the first one off the heat a little too early? Hope this helps! Would love to know how the next try goes :)

  14. Reja permalink
    December 24, 2012 1:41 pm

    I made nougat but it doesn’t become solid enough when it gets cold for many hours :-(

  15. January 15, 2013 6:56 am

    Doing this with a handheld mixer was definitely a precarious task!! It makes the likes of Adriano Zumbo’s macarons pale in comparison, and the kitchen looks to slightly resemble a white streaked war zone.. However, it tastes absolutely amazing, and after my Mum finished yelling in horror at the mess, and I finished hyperventilating- a calm silence fell.. Which was us licking the bowl (of course!). Mine has 85% Chocolate marbled through it, cranberries and, of course, the macadamia’s. I’ve decided that after this experience I want a bench top mixer for my 21st birthday! Then I can fearlessly make this over and over until I can no longer stand the site of sugar! Thanks for a great recipe :)

  16. September 20, 2013 6:55 am

    I am so happy that I stumbled upon your blog post! I very nearly thought I’d be able to get away with not using a candy thermometer, though. Still have to buy one. I love how you have used so many pictures to explain the process. I’ll be trying out this recipe as soon as the hubby’s next paycheck arrived.

  17. Warren permalink
    December 17, 2013 1:52 pm

    Hi, tried this recipe sugar ended up burning and nougat was yellow, I noticed in your pic your thermometer is reading 250

    • February 6, 2014 7:42 am

      Hi there, I’m so sorry it didn’t work out for you! If you look closely at the pic you’ll see the thermometer is close to 250 F, but I was working in Celsius, and the small readings on the thermometer read close to 150 C. If you boiled the sugar to 150 C you shouldn’t have had a problem unless your thermometer was faulty or your pan was too big for the amount of mixture, in that case sometimes the thermometer doesn’t read properly as it isn’t far enough into the liquid! I hope that helps! :)


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