The culinary equivalent of superglue…

The past week has been a bit of a crazy one. Christmas festivities in school are in full swing and Hubby has been working every hour under the sun to get a project finished in work so it can be shipped. Over the weekend I was back in the Homeland for an annual Christmas Ball at my dad’s work and a Victorian Christmas festival in their village. At the festival in amongst the roasted chestnuts and hog roasts we decided to choose mulled Vimto. Bad choice, I usually love Vimto but words cannot describe how awful the a mulled version of it was. It left me wishing I had gone for the hardcore mulled wine after all.

There are some recipes that sit on my cookbook stand for a while waiting for me to get the balls to try them. This recipe for nougat was one of them. I’m not too confident with boiling sugar and always worry about burning myself. Last year when making cinder toffee, hubby dropped the spoon into the boiling sugar, reached in to pick the spoon up and burnt his fingers. Although he put ice on it straight away he could feel it burning for the next 24 hours…ouch.

Now the pronunciation of “nougat” in our house is a bit of a contentious issue. I say “noo-gaar” where as Hubby along, with the rest of his family, say “nugget” as in chicken nugget. I still argue I’m in the right because nougat is a french word.

I have to admit I’m not too sure if I got it to the right constancy. I whisked it until it wouldn’t thicken anymore and considering the sugar took nearly an hour to get to the right temperature I was getting a bit fed up with it. It tastes like beautiful nougat and is sticky like anything, but slowly melts in the mouth. Cleaning the bowls after making it is another matter. This stuff is like superglue and sticks to everything and anything. The best tip I can give for cleaning all the bowls/saucepans is to use lots of boiling water. Pour it over the cemented nougat and it will melt away.

Just a warning this involves boiling sugar and it probably not a very child friendly. Be very careful when beating together the sugar and egg, if your mixer has a splash guard use it. Dentists turn away now…

Adapted from Fresh Magazine

680g granulated sugar
340ml (about 1 tin and a bit) golden syrup
60ml clear honey
235ml water
2 egg whites, beaten until stiff in a large bowl
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried cranberries
200g mixture of almonds and macadamia nuts

1) Gradually heat the sugar, syrup, honey and water in a heavy saucepan until it reaches 154°C (hard-crack stage)

2) When the sugar has reached the correct temperature carefully beat into the whisked egg whites until the mixture is stiff and waxy. At the beginning of this stage don’t worry if it looks a bit like fine scrambled egg in sugar syrup. Keep beating and it will thicken and combine.

3) Carefully fold in the vanilla, cranberries and nuts using a large metal spoon. The metal spoon, rather than a wooden spoon, helps stop the mix collapsing.

4) Pour the nougat into a tin lined with baking parchment. Allow to cool before cutting into squares…or if your nougat is anything like ours a knife won’t cut it and we ended up using a meat mallet to bash it with another sheet of baking parchement.

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