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Today is National Nougat Day! (Bet you didn’t know that.)
While I know my way around the kitchen, nougat is something that I never tackled and has remained a mystery to me. So I thought the best thing to do would be to reach out to someone who does know a little something about candy making. I talked to Daniel, the chocolatier at Mayana. They make some amazing sweets that the term ‘candy bar’ is woefully inadequate, but technically that’s what they are. I think “giant bricks of deliciousness” is a more appropriate description, but it doesn’t have that mass appeal. Regardless, they know chocolate, and they know nougat.
Treatise: What is nougat?
Daniel: Nougat is one of the trickier kinds of confections. I would classify it as an aerated confection. A marshmallow is another type of aerated confection. Marshmallows contain gelatin whereas nougat does not. Nougat is cooked to a higher temperature. It is often chewier in texture and is substantial enough to hold things like nuts.
Any history involved in it?
Nougat comes from Latin meaning “nut bread” or “nut cake”. Italy and Spain also have nougat but call it either torrone or turron. Some regions cook their nougat super hard, and others aim for a soft texture. We go for a soft texture with a bit of chew. The nougat we make is closest to the variety found in southern France. We use honey and cook it until it is chewy, but not tough. We also add cocoa butter to make for a melt in your mouth sensation. Industrial manufacturers use vegetable fats to get that effect.
How hard is it to make nougat?
It is definitely one of the most tricky and tasty confections to make. We’re working with multiple pots and bringing things to different temperature and then mixing them all together.
What ingredients are involved?
Our nougat features honey, egg white, sugar, vanilla bean, cocoa butter and a lot of almonds. We then combine it with a thick layer of salted caramel and enrobe it in dark chocolate. Nougat is tricky because we have to have a few pots boiling and coming together at the same time. We have the egg whites whipping in a mixer. We have the honey boiling in one pot. We have the sugar and vanilla bean boiling in the other. We then finish it with cocoa butter (so the nougat is richer), salt and a good dose of almonds.
What do you use the nougat in?
We use our nougat in the Space Bar with the almonds mixed in. Some candy makers do different things with nougat. Some candy makers add melted chocolate to the nougat (like a Milky Way). Some make a short and fluffy texture (like a 3 Musketeers). Some like a chewy texture (like a Charleston Chew). Some add peanut butter to the nougat (Snickers).
So there you have it. The history of nougat as told by Daniel of Mayana Chocolate. Shop Mayana in our store.