I blame Martha Stewart. I bought one of her magazines in Costco in preparation for the holidays and got all excited about the candy section. I’ve never made candy before, not even those lame chocolate lollipops people used to make in snowman shapes in middle school, and I was hankering for adventure. What Martha neglected to tell me is that torrone (or nougat or whatever you want to call it) is insanely complicated. Let’s revisit my epic journey with visual aides, shall we?
Step 1: Trying to Save Money By Blanching the Almonds Yourself
tips: Don’t do it. It takes forever. Occasionally they shoot across the room and hit other people; which is hilarious, but wasteful.
Step 2: Buying a Candy Thermometer Does Not Mean You Know What the Hell You Are Doing
tips: It will boil over if you are not hovering. Sugar, honey, and corn syrup are NOT FUN to clean off the stove.
Step 3: HOW Many Egg Whites?
tips: Don’t expect to find any use for 6 egg yolks unless you are interested in boarding the one way choleserol train that makes express stops in Pills Every Day and Your Death.
Step 4: Oh Shit Oh Shit I Was Supposed to Have the Almonds TOASTED??
tips: Read instructions through.
Step 5: Oh My God Is This Seriously Exploding Out of My KitchenAid???
tips: Yes. Yes it is.
Step 6: Did I Just Cut My Finger Open On a Shard of Hardened Sugar?
<image withheld for graphic nature>
tips: Yes. Yes you did.
Step 7: Nothing Went Wrong With the Lemons
tips: I cannot complain.
Step 8: This Will Never Dry
tips: You THINK you followed the directions, but you haven’t.
Step 9: Many Hours of Cutting, Cleaning the Knife, Cutting, Cleaning the Knife, Whining, Cutting, Cutting
tips: About 60 pieces in I was like “That Is It, I Am Done!” and my mom goes “Would Martha be done?” causing me to whimper a little, re-apply band-aids on my blisters, and forge on until they were all wrapped.
Step 10: You Don’t Even Like Torrone
So….who wants to make some torrone? Please, be my guest.
But really, these are kinda delicious. Lemony, almondy, chewy-y. If you like nougat, you will be proud of yourself and everyone will be way impressed, except for your mom, who saw you bungle through the whole thing over the course of several weeks. And Martha Stewart, who can make torrone with her eyes closed and then wraps them in cute little vintage candy wrappers, not the aesthetic equivalent of a paper lunch bag.
Lemony Almond Nougat
from Martha Stewart Living, December 2008
makes about 96 pieces
2 pieces edible rice paper (9″x 13″ each) If you are seriously considering making these, feel free to come over and steal some from me…I bought in bulk thinking I’d make these again. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
3 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups whole blanched almonds, toasted (1 lb)
3 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1. Place 1 piece of rice paper of a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet.
2. Combine sugar, honey, corn syrup, and water in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to simmer, about 10 minutes. Cook, undisturbed, until mixture registers 300-305 degrees on a candy thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes (or until it boils over and you frantically throw the pot into the sink until it calms down).
3. Meanwhile (when syrup reaches 270 degrees), whisk whites with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. When hot sugar mixture is ready, pour it into whites in a slow, steady stream (unless mixture promptly erupts in which case you can shriek and panic for a while). Whisk until mixture cools and thickens, about 10 minutes. Redice speed to medium-low, and add vanilla, almonds (unless you forgot to toast them, in which case you should shove them in the toaster oven for a few minutes while the mixture over-mixes), lemon zest, and salt. Working quickly, spread mixture evenly on rice paper. Place remaining piece of rice paper on top, pressing to flatten. Once cool, cover nougat with plastic wrap, and let dry for at 2 days or up to 1 week (or forever).
4. Run a knife around the edges of sheet to loosen nougat, and invert onto a cutting board. Trim each edge to straighten. Cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide slices. (Dip knife in water between each cut.) Cut each slice into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Wrap each pieces in cellophane. Nougat will keep, covered, for up to 1 month.