An easy, step-by-step recipe for making soft, chewy homemade nougat with almonds, pistachios and crushed candy canes. The perfect sweet holiday gift to make and share.
Why do you beat the egg whites first?
Beating the egg whites aerates them and allows them to expand in volume. This gives the nougat its characteristic light, fluffy texture.
Can I make nougat without a candy thermometer?
It’s challenging to make nougat without a thermometer as getting the sugar mixture to the right temperature is important. You can try the cold water test, but using an accurate thermometer is best.
What happens if I overheat the sugar mixture?
If the sugar gets too hot, the nougat may end up hard and brittle instead of light and chewy. It’s best to carefully monitor the temperature.
Can I use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer?
Yes, you can use a hand mixer but be prepared for some arm fatigue! Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer makes beating the egg whites much easier.
How do I get clean slices of the nougat?
Chilling the nougat very well helps it firm up for cleaner slicing. Use a sharp knife rinsed in hot water and wiped dry before each slice for best results.
How long does homemade nougat last?
Stored airtight at room temperature, the nougat will last 1-2 weeks. For longer storage, keep refrigerated for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.
What can I add to homemade nougat?
Get creative with nuts, dried fruit, coconut, crushed peppermint or even chocolate chips! Just don’t add chunky mix-ins until after beating the egg whites.
- 3 large egg whites, brought to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup and honey. Cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 245-250°F on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the sugar mixture from heat and carefully stream it into the beaten egg whites, beating continuously on medium-high speed. Add the vanilla and salt and continue beating for 5 more minutes until thick, glossy and cooled slightly.
- Fold in the almonds, pistachios and crushed candy canes by hand until just combined.
- Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the long sides. Pour in the nougat and using a spatula, smooth the top. Fold over the overhanging parchment to cover the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.
- Remove the nougat from the pan using the parchment handles. Slice into 1 inch pieces using a sharp knife. The nougat can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Use a Stand Mixer
- Beating the egg whites is a key step and can be tiring by hand. Using a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment makes this process much easier on your arms!
Soften Hardened Nougat
- If stored nougat gets too firm, unwrap and microwave 10-20 seconds to gently soften before serving. This restores chewiness.
- The recipe can be made 1-2 months before needing. Prepare through step 5, cover and store chilled. Then cut and serve when required.
- Try experimenting with different extract flavors beyond vanilla. Almond, peppermint and anise all pair nicely with nougat’s sweetness.
Color Your Nougat
- Add a couple drops of liquid food coloring when you add the vanilla to tint your nougat festive colors for the holidays.
Package as Gifts
- Wrap sliced nougat stacks in small cellophane bags tied with ribbon for beautiful edible gifts to share.
- If your nougat is too sticky, try adding a bit more corn syrup next time. Too dense or brittle, cook sugar to a slightly lower temperature.
Enjoy this delicious homemade holiday nougat! It makes a wonderful edible gift for family and friends.