Nougat is a delicate meringue and honey-based confection that dates back to 10th century Persia. The French and Italians each have their own versions, ranging from the famous almond-studded bars from Montélimar to Italy’s torrone. Our version calls for chocolate and whole, toasted hazelnuts sandwiched between two sheets of traditional, edible wafer paper.
2sheetsedible wafer paper (Surfas in Los Angeles carries and sells these online)
6ozdark milk or semi sweet chocolate (our favorite is TCHO 54%)168g
1- 1/3cupsgranulated sugar285g
1/4 cuppowdered sugar30g
1cupwhole toasted hazelnuts130g
Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper, foil or plastic wrap. Place two pieces of edible wafer paper, each about 11” by 8”, side by side on the cookie sheet.
Melt the chocolate, carefully and stirring often so as not to burn it, in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or heatproof bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage. The egg whites will look like undulating hills. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until the egg whites resemble stiff, glossy peaks. Turn the mixer off.
In a medium pot with a thermometer inside, heat the sugar and honey to 310F. Remove from heat and it cool to 290F (this won’t take long)! With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until very thick and sticky; the longer you beat to aerate the mixture, the drier and firmer the nougat will turn out.
Beat in the melted chocolate until evenly incorporated. Fold in nuts. Pour the mixture over one of the sheets of wafer paper. Cover the nougat with the second sheet of wafer paper, pressing lightly with a flat, open palm until about 1” thick. Cool for about one hour at room temperature.
To cut and, if desired, wrap nougat, use a clean, sharp knife. You may find it helpful to run the knife under hot water for a moment, drying it quickly, to get cleaner lines.