For an edible gift that's fabulously festive, whip up a holiday batch of nougat

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Holiday gift-giving, marshmallowy candy, Food Blog, Recipe

HOLIDAY HONEY NOUGAT

100 servings (makes about 100 candies)

Holiday gift-giving just got fancy. Honey nougat is a bright white, chewy, fruity treat with electric green pistachios and red dried cranberries studded through the marshmallowy candy. Nougat is often gifted in slabs, and gets wrapped in parchment or edible paper, ready to be cut into serving pieces. Or portion out individual nougat squares in candy wrappers or wax paper for single-serving goodies.

NOTES: Because honey is the primary flavor, choose one with a well-defined profile, like chestnut or orange blossom. Dark honeys, like buckwheat, are delicious but may darken the snowy white of the candy.

MAKE AHEAD: The nougat will stay fresh for 1 month.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups (600 grams) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (120 milliliters) water

1 cup (340 grams) honey

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 cups (200 grams) roasted, salted pistachios

1 cup (120 grams) dried cranberries

1 cup (120 grams) dried tart cherries

Steps

Butter 2 pieces of parchment paper. Place one on a large, rimmed baking sheet, butter-side up, and set the other aside.

In a deep, heavy 3-quart or larger saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a brisk boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in cold water. This helps deter crystals from forming, which will make the candy grainy.

Once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has reached a boil, clip on a candy thermometer. Without stirring, continue heating the sugar syrup to 298 degrees. This will take about 20 minutes. To avoid hot spots on the bottom of the pot, which burn the sugar, keep rotating the pan, moving it around the heat. The goal is a clear, hot syrup with no burned or caramel flavor to ensure the nougat remains a dazzling, snowy white.

In another 3-quart or larger, heavy saucepan over medium-high to high heat, bring the honey to 258 degrees - it should take about 15 minutes. It will rise up when it boils, so be watchful, pulling the pan from the heat if it looks like it might overflow.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed. When the egg whites get frothy, increase the speed to high. Beat until the whites form stiff, shiny and moist peaks that flop over when the beaters are lifted. Overbeaten whites are watery and lumpy. If the whites get to that stage, there is no going back and it's necessary to start again with new whites.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-low and slowly stream in the sugar syrup, followed by the honey. Increase the speed to high and whip for 15 to 18 minutes, until the outside of the bowl feels almost cool to the touch.

Now, work to complete the nougat quickly before it firms up and gets stiff. Remove the whisk attachment and add the fruit and nuts to the nougat, folding with a stiff wooden paddle or a silicone spatula sprayed with nonstick spray. Stir and fold until the fruit and nuts are incorporated - you will need a lot of strength and persistence.

Scrape the nougat onto the buttered parchment. Place the second paper on top, butter-side down, then press out the nougat with a rolling pin and a lot of elbow grease. The final size should be about 8 by 12 inches and about 1 1/2 inches thick.

It takes a few hours for the nougat to firm up enough to cut into portions. Use a warmed, long slicing knife to cut 2-inch-thick bricks. The bricks may be wrapped and tied with string or ribbon and given as a gift. Alternatively, slice across the bricks for bite-size pieces. Wrap individual nougat portions in wax paper or candy wrappers.

There will be a pile of sticky dishes when this is over. Fill the pots you've used with the tools and bowls and anything else that's covered in nougat. Bring the water to a boil and the nougat will melt away. Pour the boiling water into the mixer bowl to clean. Repeat, if needed.

Nutrition | Per serving: 50 calories, 0 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar

Source: www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

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