Thursday, November 1, 2012


James's delicious experimental cocktail (ginger ale, vodka, & raspberries)

Last weekend I made marshmallows for the first time, and now I've got the candy-making bug.  Even now that their secrets have been revealed to me, marshmallows and nougat are still magical substances.  Both start with the same basic ingredients and follow the same processes: hot sugar syrup added to whipped egg whites, whipped some more, with gelatin added for marshmallows. It all seems pretty straightforward until the syrup hits the egg whites.  That's when the magic happens! 

I don't know the science behind the process, but I bet Alton Brown does. I bet he has a show about nougat, or at least marshmallows.  It's too bad that the boiling syrup is so dangerous, otherwise this is something I'd love to do with kids.  However, safety is essential when molten sugar is in the picture!  This is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a kitchen, right up there with deep frying and lighting things on fire. If that syrup comes in contact with skin, it will burn like crazy and stick like superglue, and toward the end of its cooking time it's upwards of 250 degrees.  Yikes!

Egg whites + molten sugar = deliciousness!
The recipe I used called for peanut butter to be folded into the finished nougat.  My first taste, still warm on the spatula from spreading into the sheet pan where it would set overnight, I thought, "Wow.  How have I lived for 39 years and never made nougat?"
Fluffy Peanut Butter Nougat

I finished spreading out the nougat around 10pm, so I got up early the next morning to cut it into squares and dip them in chocolate.  I had a lot of candy in the house, and it was the last day of my work week.  The last thing I needed was to have a half sheet pan of nougat lying around all weekend! So at 7:30am I was dipping chocolates.
I didn't have enough time or chocolate to dip them all
 My coworkers were pleased. At least one said that this substance should be illegal.  Now I've only got another 30 or so pieces at home. I'm going to try freezing a few, just to see what happens.