It’s a chilly morning, there’s jazz on the radio, and as usual I’m in the kitchen cooking up some delicious sweet treats. Today I’m making candy, a deliciously chewy homemade Almond and Cranberry Nougat.
If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know that I love candy making, especially as I know exactly what the ingredients are that go into my food!
Why make your own nougat?
No industrial ingredients! Many recipes for old fashioned sweets like nougat or caramel are full of corn syrup or glucose.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with these modern inventions, when these recipes were invented they didn’t exist! They are shortcut ingredients, used for making commercial products, which means at home we can leave them out altogether.
Homemade Nougat is a perfect Christmas gift
Homemade nougat is fun and simple to make. In essence, nougat is just a very well set type of meringue with nuts and other treats stirred through.
Nougat makes a terrific gift, so it’s a great recipe to have up your sleeve pre-Christmas. When I was very young my great grandmother would often have some nougat ready for us when we arrived to visit her, so for me, it always brings back lovely childhood memories.
You will need a candy or cooking thermometer to make nougat, as well as a stand mixer which does most of the hard work.
Nougat is made with simple ingredients:
- White sugar: Use ordinary white sugar for making nougat for the best colour.
- Honey: Clear, runny honey gives the nougat a lovely flavour.
- Egg white: Nougat is a type of set meringue, so you’ll need 1 large egg white for this recipe.
- Vanilla extract: Use a good quality vanilla extract for optimum flavour.
- Almonds, Pistachios and Cranberries: For crunch and chew. The cranverries and pistachios look lovely and festive!
I like to fill my nougat with a Christmassy combination of almonds, pistachios and cranberries, but you can let your imagination run wild.
You could try candied peel and walnuts or dried rose petals and hazelnuts. Everything tastes good!
Traditionally, nougat is poured onto rice paper which stops it sticking and clumping together.
Rice paper is virtually impossible to come by in Germany so I simply pour the nougat onto greased baking parchment paper and wrap it in the same. If you can get rice paper where you are, go right ahead and use it.
Nougat keeps in an airtight container for several weeks at room temperature so can be prepared in advance.
How to clean up afterwards
You’ll find that sugar and meringue stick like glue to your bowls and pots as they set. Don’t worry!
There is no need to scrub and chip it off, simply allow your dishes to soak in very hot water and the sugar will dissolve.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How to tell if homemade nougat has set?
As I always say, candy making is a science. Test your thermometer in boiling water to ensure it reads 100°C or 212°F (if you live at altitude you may need to adjust for local conditions). As long as the mixture reaches 140°C / 285°F (it will continue cooking a little while you beat the egg whites) and you have followed the recipe correctly then it should set.
How long does homemade nougat keep?
Several weeks at room temperature in an airtight container. Humidity is the enemy of candy, so keep it as dry as possible and do not store it in the fridge.
I have a nut allergy, can I still make nougat?
Absolutely! Use dried fruit of your choosing, and any seeds that you can eat – sunflower seeds give a satisfying crunch, and if you are not allergic, pine nuts are delicious too.
More homemade Candy!
Homemade Nougat Recipe Card
- 150g (1 cup) whole almonds
- 50g (2 oz.) shelled pistachios (unsalted)
- 300g (1 ½ cups) white sugar
- 175g (½ cup) runny honey
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g (¾ cup) dried cranberries, chopped
- 2 sheets of rice paper
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Grease a 20cm square baking dish well with oil, line with a rectangle of baking parchment paper leaving an overhang on two sides, brush the baking paper with a little oil and set aside. Prepare a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted.
- ROAST THE NUTS: When the oven is hot, spread the almonds and pistachios over a small baking dish and roast for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and keep warm.
- MAKE THE SUGAR SYRUP: In a deep, heavy-based saucepan, combine the sugar, honey and water. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and boil until the sugar reaches 140°C / 285°F on a sugar thermometer, swirling the pan once or twice to even out the temperature.
- WHISK THE EGG WHITES: As soon as the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature, remove from the heat. In the bowl of the stand mixer whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks. With the mixer running, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract then continue to whisk for 5 minutes (see note).
- IN THE NEXT STEP IT IS CRUCIAL TO MOVE QUICKLY! Take the nuts out of the oven and have your prepared baking dish ready.
- COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS: After 5 minutes, stop the mixer and remove the whisk attachment. Add the warm almonds, pistachios and the cranberries to the bowl and use a large metal spoon to quickly fold them through. Spoon the nougat into the prepared dish working as quickly as you can as it will be beginning to set.
- ALLOW TO SET: Place a second piece of baking paper on top of the nougat, using your hands to press down firmly and smooth the surface. Allow the nougat to cool completely at room temperature for at least three hours, the nougat is then ready to cut. The baking paper will stick to the nougat until the nougat is firmly set.
- CUT THE NOUGAT: It is best to cut the nougat into long strips and wrap in baking paper until needed. Before serving or gifting, slice into bite-sized pieces. If you can't find rice paper it is fine to wrap the individual pieces in baking paper.
The nougat meringue is very stiff which can be very taxing on older or weaker mixers so is best made with a high powered machine. In saying that, my kitchen mixer is well over 20 years old and going strong!
Imperial and cup measurements are approximate. For best and most accurate results I use and recommend a digital kitchen scale like the one below.
The egg whites in this recipe are cooked by the hot sugar syrup. If you have any concerns about using raw egg white, you can find pasteurised egg whites in the chiller at your grocery store.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 36 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
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