I’ve been working on Asian style nougats these two weeks. I played with glucose syrup, corn syrup, honey and liquid maltose and have almost ruined my saucepan when I carelessly burnt my maltose and honey. After 5 to 6 trials I was finally able to make a batch that was of my favorite texture and flavor. This is truly a recipe that fits my own personal taste. I love chewy nougats with with lots of add-ins. My mom prefers soft nougats and less nuts. My picky son even said he only wanted the candy, preferably chocolate flavor, and no nuts at all (well just eat your candy and toss out the nuts then). So by making the nougats yourself at home you can satisfy everyone’s need. Below I’m going to share with you my discoveries of how the texture of nougat is affected by varying the main ingredient, namely sugar.
Making nougats is not that intimidating at all. A crucial tip is to pay extra attention to the cooking temperature of the sugar solution. I found that my nougats are the best when I boil my sugar solution to 285℉/140℃. The nougat won’t get stuck in between your teeth and a dent would be left only when you press the nougat really hard with your fingers. You will need to be extra careful while working with this just-boiled hot syrup as it is, well, hot, super hot. I never let my kids enter the kitchen area while I am working with boiling sugar solution. Kids are little curious creatures who wanna see and assist with everything you know (at least mine are like that). You absolutely don’t want any accident. Other than the syrup temperature, it is also important to make sure that warm nuts are being incorporated. And it is easier and less messy to do it on a silicon mat than inside a mixing bowl as the nougat dough won’t stick to silicon or plastic. The nuts have to be warn since the nougat hardens up rather quickly once cooled. Room-temperature nuts decrease the dough temperature dramatically thus making the incorporation process painful if not impossible. The nuts might not stick well to the nougat as well. If for any reason your nougat dough starts to harden up (especially during winter time), place the mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water to soften it before further mixing. Same idea can be applied to those hardened sugar syrup that is stuck to your saucepan and thermometer and also those bits of remaining nougat adhering to the sides of the mixing bowl that cannot be scraped off. For the beater attachments I would simply pass that to my son and let him clean it right off lol. Softening them by submerging your pot and mixing bowl in hot water would make cleaning a breeze.
製作牛軋糖不難，秘訣就是要注意煮糖漿的溫度。EC較喜歡把糖漿煮至285℉/140℃的效果，牛軋糖是可以大力用手指按凹的硬度，咀嚼時不會黏牙。 煮糖漿時必須非常小心。剛煮好的糖漿是很熱很熱很熱的！此時EC絶不會讓孩子們走進廚房範圍半步以免發生任何意外，畢竟小孩子都是(起碼自己的是如此)充滿好奇心凡事也想看和幫助的小怪物啊。除了控制煮糖溫度，拌入的果仁也必須要是熱的。把果仁放在矽膠墊上與糖糰混合比在攪拌盆中混合更方便更容易，因為糖糰不會黏著矽膠或塑膠物料。果仁要預先保溫，因為糖糰冷卻後便會開始變硬，室溫果仁會令糖糰迅速降溫變硬增加混合難度，即使勉強混合了果仁亦容易跌出。因此當感到糖糰開始變硬(尤其是冬天時)便可把攪拌盆隔水加熱一下軟化糖糰才繼續進行攪拌。 同樣道理也可應用於那沾滿硬糖漿塊的鍋子和溫度計，還有那被殘餘糖糰牢牢黏着怎樣刮也刮不掉的攪拌盆和打蛋器配件(基本上EC會把打蛋器配件遞給兒子讓他直接用手挖來吃…哈哈)。只要用熱水浸泡一下將殘餘物軟化，清洗頓時會變得十分容易。
As per ingredients, the choice of sugar as well as their ratios do have influence on the nougats’ texture, color, flavor and level of sweetness. Sugar comes in various level of sweetness and according to the list here, table sugar and liquid honey is equally sweet (relative sweetness = 1) and invert sugar is less sweet (relative sweetness = 0.8). Then followed by maple syrup (relative sweetness = 0.6), maltose (relative sweetness = 0.5), trehalose (relative sweetness = 0.5), and dark corn syrup (relative sweetness = 0.3). What that means is that, if we replace one sugar with another for the same recipe, nougats made with invert sugar would be sweeter than those made maltose, And those made with maltose would taste sweeter than the ones with corn syrup. And if you replace part of the white sugar with trehalose your nougats would be even less sweet. In other words, we could reduce the level of sweetness of our candy by playing around with the sugar choices. But note that changing the syrup (even with same amount) will also change the softness (I will talk more about that later). My next goal is to make sugar-free nougats. I will keep you posted whether it is successful or not.
For the color and taste of the nougats, the following syrups are colorless and without particular taste: clear liquid maltose from Taiwan and China, mizuame from Japan, mulyeot from Korea, light corn syrup and glucose in the North America. They differ in compositions and manufacturing process and I would not go into further details here. A partial substitution with honey, maple syrup or maltose (the brown one) would enhance flavor and fragrance. I used demerara sugar instead of white sugar as I love the subtle note of cane sugar. But by doing so the nougats are slightly off white due to the brownish color of the demerara sugar.
Last but not least, the ratios of sugar. I’ve only experimented with glucose and light corn syrup (the two trials in which I burnt the pot while testing with maltose and honey didn’t count). What I found was that given the same conditions in which the sugar solution is boiled to 285℉/140℃, nougats made with glucose are much harder than ones made with light corn syrup. Moreover, the higher ratio of syrup to granular sugar, the softer the nougat texture. So, say with everything else is held constant recipe 1 contains 250g of corn syrup and 50g of white sugar whereas recipe 2 contains 200g of corn syrup 100g of white sugar. Then the nougats from recipe 1 would be softer than recipe 2. It follows that the texture of nougats could be adjusted through the choice of syrup and the control over its ratio. These are just my general observations and I do not know why that is the case. If you happen to know the reason please leave me a comment.
至於糖的比例，EC只是用過葡萄糖漿和粟膠兩種糖漿作實驗(使用蜜糖和麥芽糖的那兩次都把糖燒焦了失敗了所以不計算在內)。個人經驗是在煮至最終溫度285℉/140℃的相同情況下，添加葡萄糖漿的成品比添加粟膠的口感較硬。此外，添加糖漿的比例越多，成品口感也相對地較軟。 簡單來說，若配方一含粟膠250克和砂糖50克，配方二則含粟膠200克和砂糖100克，其他維持不變，那麼配方一的牛軋糖的口感會比配方二的柔軟。由此可見牛軋糖的脆硬度可從糖漿的選擇和比例中調整。這是觀察結果，EC並不清楚箇中原因。 有誰知道為什麼的請留言告訴EC。
Nougat with Nuts 果仁牛軋糖
Makes about 45 pieces
1-½ to 2 cups nuts, roasted and unsalted (I used peanuts)
40 g unsalted butter
70 g demerara sugar
200 g light corn syrup
A pinch of salt
40 g water
2 Tbsp meringue powder
2 Tbsp water
100 g whole milk powder
Spread the nuts evenly over a baking tray and place in a 200℉/95℃ preheated oven to keep them warm. Melt butter over a pot of hot water or in the microwave and keep warm. Set aside.
Combine corn syrup, sugar, salt and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the mixture starts to boil, cover the pot with a lid and let boil for 5 minutes to create an internal steam which cleans the sides of the pan thus preventing crystallization. Remove lid, clip on a candy or instant-read thermometer and continue to cook over medium heat without stirring.
When the sugar syrup is cooking, mix meringue powder and 2 tablespoon of water in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer on medium high speed until it holds firm peaks. Set aside.
When the sugar syrup reaches 285℉/140℃, immediately remove the pan from heat and, with the mixer running on low speed, pour the hot syrup into the meringue (without touching the beaters or the sides of the bowl) in a thin, steady stream in four additions. Switch to medium-high speed and beat until the mixture is thick, glossy and a thick ribbon forms when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Beat in warm butter in batches until incorporated. (**Place a wet towel underneath the mixing bowl to prevent it from moving during mixing)
Beat in half of the milk powder on low speed. Place mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water making sure the bowl is not touching the water. Add remaining milk powder and fold with a silicone spatula until incorporated.
Scrap mixture onto a silicon mat and flatten slightly with a spatula. Sprinkle warm nuts on top. Lift up one side of the mat and fold mixture over itself. With the help of the silicon mat, keep turning and folding until the nuts are well distributed throughout.
Transfer mixture into a ziploc bag. With the help of a rolling pin (I used a fondant smoother), roll or press the nougat into a rectangle with even layer. Let nougat set at room temperature for about 2 hours to cool.
Remove nougat from the bag and cut with a knife first into strips then into rectangles. Wrap nougat pieces individually with wax paper or candy wrappers and store in an airtight container.
Here is another batch made with mixed nuts.
Here is another batch made with mixed nuts and chocolate chips that my son liked. I was hoping to create a swirl effect but the chocolate chips almost all got blended in… sigh. For that effect I think I might have to make a plain and then a chocolate nougat dough and then swirl the two together. I will try that again later.
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