I forget where I got this recipe from. Might have been sent my way from a fellow candy maker. It’s fantastic, I highly recommend this! I like to make it around the holiday and include them in holiday hostess gift baskets.
This recipe makes a chewy nougat that is somewhere between the Provençal soft nougat (tendre) and hard nougat (dur). You can substitute hazelnuts or pistachios for some of the almonds, if you like.
You’ll need a heavy-duty stand mixer, a candy thermometer, and an 8-inch square disposable aluminum cake pan for this recipe, as well as a sturdy knife for cutting the nougat. Edible wafer paper gives the candy an attractive, finished look. It is available at candy-making supply stores; you might need to trim it or use more than one piece to make an 8-inch square. Or you can omit the wafer paper and use one piece of waxed paper instead.
Yield: About 80 pieces
Canola of flavorless vegetable oil for the pan
2 to 4 sheets edible wafer paper or one 8-inch square sheet of waxed paper
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
¾ cup honey
½ cup water
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole almonds (about 11 ounces), lightly toasted
Step 1: Lightly oil the sides of an 8-inch disposable aluminum square cake pan and line the bottom with a single layer of wafer paper. Set aside enough wafer paper to be placed on top of the candy. (If you don’t wafer paper, oil bottom of the pan as well as the sides, and brush one side of an 8-inch square sheet of waxed paper generously with oil; set waxed paper aside.)
Step 2: In a small saucepan that you can lift comfortably with one hand, stir together 2 cups of the sugar, the honey, and water over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the mixture measures 320˚F on a candy thermometer.
Step 3: Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whip to stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer until the sugar mixture is ready.
Step 4: When the sugar mixture reaches 320˚F, turn the mixer to high speed and very carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the whipping egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whip at high speed until the mixture cools and thickens and becomes almost too stiff to whip, about 10 minutes. Stop the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture will start out looking wet and glossy, but as it cools and stiffens, the surface will take on a dull, matte appearance. Add the vanilla and whip for 1 minute.
Step 5: Quickly fold in the almonds and scrape the nougat into the prepared pan. Spread out the candy (it will be very stiff and sticky) with an oiled spatula, and top with another layer of wafer or waxed paper (oiled side down). Flatten the surface by pressing firmly with your hands or a clean spatula. Let the candy stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
Step 6: Bend back the edges of the pan to loosen the nougat. Remove the waxed paper, if used (leave the edible paper in place), and turn the candy out onto a cutting board. Use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut the nougat into 1-inch squares. Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.