If there's ever a time to make nougat, it's now. Store shelves are just bursting with the stuff; but wouldn't it be better to whip up a fresh batch? The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook shares this sentiment and has a recipe for classic European nougat, more authentically known as torrone.
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At this time of year, store shelves are full of torrone and its varieties. I spotted coffee, cranberry and pistachio versions on my last trip - I also noted the hefty price tag. Make your own, fresh, giant batch of soft, chewy (or firm!) nougat, and flavor it however you like.
I love torrone, the pillowy soft nougat candy filled with nuts. Traditional torrone, as the Italians intended it, has almonds, but I prefer the flavor and color of pistachio. Torrone is made with a mild honey, which imparts great flavor on its own, but I like to add additional flavor, either the seeds from a vanilla bean, some vanilla extract, or citrus zest.
Usually, we—my dad and I—would be at the pharmacy or checkout aisle in the supermarket and we'd toss a few glossy rectangular boxes into the red plastic shopping basket or already packed cold metal cart. But somehow, those gold-lettered boxes and cellophane wrapper, along with the excitement of Christmas being just a few days away, made a bar of nut-encrusted, wafer covered, crunchy, pale golden nougat a once-a-year treat that I truly looked forward to.
Marcona almonds and honey have been used to flavor this nougat for centuries.
Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote."
Admittedly, this version of the 3 Musketeers isn't quite as fluffy as the original, but it does have the mild chocolate flavor your remember. Use milk chocolate for a classic 3 Musketeers bar, or dark chocolate for a "Midnight" edition.
Note: Lee Zalben, a.k.a. "the Peanut Butter Guy" is the creator of the Peanut Butter & Co., a New York sandwich shop with a national line of nut butters. Every week he'll chime in with some nuttiness. [Photographs: Lee Zalben] While I was in Alba for the White Truffle Festival this year (don't ask what The Peanut Butter Guy was doing at an Italian Truffle Festival), I had some time to indulge my sweet tooth with one of my favorite European confections. In Spain it's called turrón; in France it's called nougat; and in Italy it's called torrone (pronounced TUH-ro-nay). Torrone is a soft nougat made from honey, sugar, egg whites, and roasted nuts. The nuts vary from region to...