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If there's ever a time to make nougat, it's now. Store shelves are just bursting with the stuff; but wouldn't it be better to whip up a fresh batch? The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook shares this sentiment and has a recipe for classic European nougat, more authentically known as torrone.
Tips: If this is your first time working with a candy thermometer, or boiling sugar for that matter, be aware that molten sugar is definitely dangerous. Pour, stir, and handle with care. Jen's tip for this recipe is to cook the syrup to 295°F which is the soft-to-hard crack stage (when you put a bit of the syrup in cold water, it hardens, but not completely). Cooking it 5 degrees more (300°F) yields a very hard nougat, 290°F a soft, pliable one. Yes, five degrees does make a difference; if you're a candy newbie, do not attempt this recipe without a thermometer.
Tweaks: What matters here is getting the actual nougat to be your desired texture; flavors are up to you. If you're fond of fruit, sub out 1 cup of the nuts for fruit: dried tart cherries and/or cranberries are especially good. Though the recipe suggests cutting the torrone into tiny bars or bites, big fat rectangle slices do make an impression, and a heck of a gift. Wrap in wax paper, or layers of plastic wrap.
Get the Recipe
As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook to give away.