Cherry Nougat and a weekend of disasters

Cherry Nougat and a weekend of disasters

Serves: Makes ~6 long bars, enough for ~24 large, sweet servings
Cost: ~€6
Preparation time: ~40 minutes + 3 hours
Calories: ~226 per serving

Well, from a culinary point of view – boy am I glad this weekend is over. I’m sure you’ve all had times like this before – nothing goes right, no matter what you do, no matter how attentively you follow instructions, it all ends in failure! :( Let me go back to Friday night… or was it Thursday night? It’s all kind of blended into one big mess of badness.

First of all, the top hinge on the wooden panel covering the fridge door broke – not enough to cause the door to be falling off but still enough to make it drop down at an angle when opened and then to close it you have to lift the whole thing up and wedge it into place. Saturday I decided to make mussels and fries. Sounds good? Well, it would have been had 70% of the mussels not decided to stay closed after cooking and then the fries I was making, with such love and care, ended up brown – speckled with patches of caramelisation, limp and soggy. This was despite the fact that I had oh so carefully pre-boiled them and then fried them up once at 140 degrees and then again at 160 degrees.

Sunday, I began preparations for one of the Swedish dishes I was planning on making. I won’t say too much as I do fully intend on making it again so I’ll actually be able to post about it but suffice to say this attempt was a complete and utter failure… to the extent that it wasn’t actually edible any longer. Effectively, every single thing I made this weekend was unsuccessful, including the subject of today’s post. However – it’s tasty, it’s edible, it’s just a bit harder than I’d originally hoped for, but alas that is what happens when you allow the sugar to boil to too hot a temperature (I should note that the first time I tried to make this it ended up being too soft, didn’t set and so I baked it… and then forgot about it. Another disaster, sigh!)

Cherry Nougat

As I mentioned – it was actually delicious, just a bit hard. I’ve adjusted for this in the recipe below and so following this should enable you to get some really soft, chewy nougat. The fruit is obviously optional, although there’s some wonderful nougat sold in a nearby patisserie which has cherry in like this and I really recommend it. This time I’ve used glucose syrup, though a common ingredient in place of glucose is honey – something I’ll be trying next time.

For now, if it’s alright with you all I’m going to finish this post, aside from the recipe below, move on from the failures and look towards future successes! Have a great day everyone :)

Cherry Nougat

Video Recipe

Ingredients

Cherry Nougat ingredients

  • 500g Glucose Syrup
  • 500g Caster Sugar
  • 250g Whole Almonds
  • 150g Candied Cherries
  • 100ml Water
  • 2 Egg Whites

You’ll also need

  • 2 x A4 sheets of Wafer Paper
  • An electric mixer or whisk

Instructions

  1. Start off by preheating the oven to ~160 degrees Celsius. Place the almonds onto a baking sheet and roast in the hot oven for 10 minutes or so, just to ensure the nuts are nice and dry. Once toasted, remove from the oven and chop roughly. Set aside to cool and then line a baking tray, with a depth of at least 1 or 2cm with one of the sheets of Wafer Paper and cut the cherries in half in preparation for later.
    Chopped Almonds
  2. Place the sugar, water and glucose syrup into a saucepan and insert a sugar thermometer into the solution. Slowly heat up, stirring all the time with a wooden sppon until the sugar has dissolved (so you can no longer feel it crunching under the wooden spoon). Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to the boil without stirring. Once the mixture is at about 110 degrees Celsius, whisk the egg-whites, with a pinch of salt, in a heat-proof bowl, to stiff peaks. Continue boiling the sugar mixture  until you reach the “hard-ball stage”, 121 – 131 degrees Celsius. The higher the final temperature, the less water in the sugar solution and the harder the nougat. Roughly 125 degrees Celsius should be perfect.
    Boiling the sugar
  3. Remove from the heat and then pour the sugar solution slowly into the egg whites, whisking continuously using an electric whisk. A stand mixer is best, but I only had a hand-held type which will suffice. After all the sugar is whisked in, continue whisking for a couple of minutes. Pour the almonds and cherries into the hot mixture and mix well.
    Mixing in the almonds to the nougat
  4. The nougat will become quite unmanageable as it cools, so quickly spoon it out onto the wafer paper in the baking tray and smooth out as best as you can. Press down the final sheet of wafer paper and then set aside in a cool place and allow to set fully for about 3 – 4 hours. After this time, cut the nougat into the desired serving sizes and enjoy!
    Cherry Nougat

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63 Comments

  1. Do you have any tips on how to make nougat very soft inside but firm on the edges? I like this kind of nougat a lot, but it’s hard to know when you buy it in a store, so if I try to make one myself it might work) maybe )
    Would it work if I make it soft and then bake it like you tried to?

    Reply
    • Hi Marianna – I only baked it when it was not even setting properly… it went crispy on the outside but still liquid honey in the centre. I ate it with a spoon and it was delicious but not the way nougat should be to be honest! I would say try making it and boil the sugar to 130 degrees celsius and try and see how it is for you – you can always adjust the next time!

      Reply
  2. Hi Charles, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had such a torrid weekend. Rest assured, I’ve had days like that myself so don’t let it defeat you! But as for your cherry nougat, I once made nougat for a friend’s wedding (I was not only bridesmaid but also the caterer and the cake maker and I was only slightly stressed as you can imagine) and the nougat was a nightmare because it was so difficult to cut and it was so sticky (humid time of year) and I had to keep wrapping each piece in the paper to stop it sticking and it took me hours and hours and hours and I vowed never again. Actually haven’t made it since so well done to you for making this after a weekend of disasters. xx

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Charlie – it’s good to know I’m not the only one! I can only imagine how difficult it would be making something involving boiled sugar when it’s humid. Humidity seems to be a real “dish ruiner” – I hear it causes massive problems with macarons too!

      Reply
  3. Dear Charles,

    Looks like it wasn’t a very good start to the weekend. But your nougat looks incredible and I do not know of anyone who has attempted a home-made version of a nougat complete with wafer paper which can be so easily bought in shops here in Australia. Very impressive indeed!

    Reply
    • Thanks Chopinand – the nougat was definitely better than the first attempt (didn’t set!) – it wasn’t perfect but it looks really good I think. Something I’m definitely going to be making again!

      Reply
  4. Oh Charles, I feel your pain! I think we´ve all had days or weekends or even weeks like that :( I feel somehow that you´re still smiling through?! Thanks for posting such a great recipe. The Spaniards (Big Man) and Italians (my family) love their turron/nougat so I have often wondered about making this. Now I have no excuses!

    Reply
    • Hi Chica – yeah, when I lifted the list on the Swedish dish, our Sunday dinner, there was a moment when I wanted to fling the pot across the room but then I smiled and I was like “well, never mind, off we go to McDonalds for a burger”, lol :D

      I’m not familiar with turron – I’ll have to look it up!

      Reply
  5. Hi Charles,
    This looks awesome! Never heard of making nougat at home! You have done a brilliant job of it.

    Reply
    • Thanks Asmita – it wasn’t perfect, but definitely better than my first attempt a few weeks ago, lol :D

      Reply
  6. oh yeah I know these kind of days… they seem cursed at times. BUT u have to remember the countless days when u managed to come up with wonderful. so at the end u have more successful attempts then failures, right? ;)

    All in all I believe your cherry nougat looks perfect and I bet it tastes great too. Wasnt for the cat at all my friend!

    Reply
    • Hehe, thanks Helene – it’s true… how else can you learn and improve if you never make any faults? It was a good learning experience!

      Reply
  7. Oh dear. Bad mussels and limp fries and a tempermental refrigerator door. We all have weeks like this, Charles. Your nougat looks very good — it makes me want to make some. Cherries are just in here — I’m wondering if I can use fresh ones. I’ll have to consult my more old-fashioned cookbooks: we have one entirely devoted to candy.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharyn – hopefully the refrigerator door should be fixed on Monday… fingers crossed :)

      For the nougat – not sure about using fresh cherries – they might have too much liquid in them which will screw up the sugar solution maybe… not sure. It wouldn’t last as long with fresh cherries I guess, but this is quite easy to eat quickly! :D

      Reply
  8. Some of the best recipe inventions come from mistakes….so you just never know! Sorry things didn’t go as planned, but your nougat looks divine. I’m so impressed that you made this. Now I’m super curious about what Swedish treat you have up your sleeve……oh, the suspense!

    Reply
    • Thanks Barb – one of these days hopefully I’ll be able to get around to making the Swedish dish successfully. There are other dishes I can make in the meantime at least! :D

      Reply
  9. I am ALL over this recipe Charles and I would even love it on the harder side as long as it doesn’t break my teeth. Have you tried putting it into a plastic container and seal it tight? The humidity of the nugget might be enough to soften it up a bit. You can also chop it up into smaller bits and use it in a cookie or even ice cream (I’ve done that with failed Terrone, it was delicious)
    Well, to make you feel better I’ll tell you a huge mishap I had a few weeks ago. I was roasting a chicken and decided to make gravy using the lovely drippings from the roasting pan. I added puréed vegetables to thicken and flavour and decided to run it through the fine sieve again to make it silky smooth (the same sieve I had just used to strain the weird bits out of the jus). I had absentmindedly put it into the sink. So I grabbed it out and poured the lovely gravy through it, pushing it with the back of a spoon. Hmmmm, it’s really foaming up, not a reaction I expected. And as I bent into it to have a smell, it suddenly dawned on me that I had squirted the dish soap into the sieve when I placed it in the sink. Now I had dish soap gravy…all for the trash. Very disappointing indeed! I hope your week goes immensely better.

    Reply
    • Hi Eva – yeah, it wasn’t SO hard that it would be a “tooth-breaker”. It’s nice because if you suck on it a bit you get all the yummy cherry and sugar flavour and then it softens up enough to eat!

      I thought the same thing – I’ve shoved it in a plastic tub and it hasn’t helped much although a little bit I think! Great idea to chop up and put into ice-cream or something though… I didn’t think of this!

      Your deliciously soapy gravy… Oh no! What a terrible shame. I think I’ve don’t something like that a couple of times, although often it’s with empty pans which I’m hoping to scrap the remnants out of and enjoy, like when I’m melting chocolate. I use the chocolate dump the pan in the sink. Stick a bit of soap and water inside and fill it half full. Make my dish, return to the pan and curse my stupidity. Usually I’m half-way through pondering if there’s any salvageable chocolate in the pan when I scold myself for being dopey and think “what the hell am I doing? Trying to scoop up soap chocolate?”

      I’m sure your meal was still delicious, although such a terrible shame about the fabulous sounding gravy!

      Reply
      • Hi Charles, the meal was tasty even though I had to use store bought chicken stock to make up a new gravy. Not quite as flavourful as the little bits from the roasting pan, but better than soapy gravy that’s for sure.
        Yes, I can relate about the chocolate bits. I usually pour soap and run water in it so it really bubbles up to prevent me from scraping up the remaining bits. Helps keep me honest.

        Reply
        • Haha, I always feel bad for the final scraps of chocolate left over – to be honest, I feel that if I switched to a new pan and kept pouring it out, some would stay in and I’d have nothing left! I got a silicone pot scraper though – one of the best things I have in the way of utensils!

  10. Hi Charles, I’m glad you shared about your kitchen “disasters” because we’ve all been there! What I’ve learned is to take a break and try again another day when my head is a bit clearer :).

    I’ve never tried nougat but I love that you used cherries in yours!

    Reply
    • Thanks Laura – definitely… it’s just best to pack it in and call it a day. There’s always “tomorrow” which is a fresh new day :)

      Reply
  11. I’m sorry for the terrible cooking weekend you had as well as the refrigerator door woes. I enjoy nougat and, if I hadn’t always had bad luck with making candy (you don’t want to know about my turkish delight disaster) I’d make some using your recipe as the pictures look mouthwatering. I think I’ll have to keep buying my nougat though. :)

    Work has been very busy so I haven’t done any real cooking in 3 weeks other than subsistence recipes. But one day soon …

    Reply
    • Mm, turkish delight – now there’s something I want to try as well. Sometimes it can be so good. Of course, other times it can be terrible but if you have a good batch… it’s amazing stuff!

      Reply
  12. Well your nougat looks perfect, Charles. I know that frustration in the kitchen and I guess we’ve all been there. My latest difficulty has been forgetting to take the final shot of something I’ve made. Wishing you a peaceful and successful rest of your week!

    Reply
    • Hi Betsy – I know the feeling… sometimes I find it difficult, especially when I’m really hungry! Having to take extra time to take some photos when all I want to do is eat can be very difficult, lol :D

      Reply
  13. Oh, dear.. now I shall be laying in bed tonight, dreaming about this nougat.. and then I’ll dare to make it, just so I can have a taste. I didn’t stand a chance with photos like yours to look at and long for:) For someone like you who seems to have the “Midas Touch” when it comes to baking and cooking, that must have been a really frustrating weekend! But it appears you are back on track with this recipe!! xo Smidge

    Reply
    • Thanks Barb – hope you get a chance to try it. Just remember to watch the sugar temperature and it should turn out fabulously! :)

      Reply
  14. Oh how I can relate to a cooking episode like this. When this happens to me I question whether I’m just a poser and I should put on a reflective vest and pick up trash on the highway. I’m glad you got through it and this nougat looks yummy!

    Reply
    • Hi Maureen – it’s comforting to know it’s not just me who has disasters. I hadn’t had such a weekend of fail in a really long time to be honest so it was a little disheartening :(

      Reply
  15. Oh Charles! I’ve definitely been there. The worst is when it’s something that you’ve made a million times before. Ugh. I feel your pain. I’m pressed you persevered. I would have thrown in the towel and popped a frozen pizza in the oven. Lol

    Reply
    • Hi Kristy, well the Swedish slop I made on Sunday was the proverbial straw which broke the camel’s back. I jumped in the car after that and went to go and grab a burger from McDonalds :p We did sit by the lake near my apartment though which was a nice evening :)

      Reply
  16. Hey Charles, I have had cooking disasters like that too. For me it’s because my kids keep me busy that I overcook food or burn them. That’s when we eat breakfast foods for dinner or just order carry out! Glad this recipe turned out, any tips on how to make them soft? My husbands grandma love this recipe but b/c she has dentures,she prefers them on the softer side. Hope you are having a better week!

    Reply
    • Thanks Lisa – indeed, after we failed with Sunday night dinner we went to get some burgers, haha :D

      My first attempt I didn’t boil the mixture at all hot enough (had no thermometer) and it was still very loose. I think the perfect temperature should be between 121-125 degrees Celsius for soft nougat – I’m going to try for that exact temp next time!

      Reply
  17. When it rains, it pours, huh? ;) This Nougat would definitely encourage a smile out of me, however! =D YUM!!

    Reply
    • Hehe, definitely – thanks Squishy :)

      Reply
  18. Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear about all your disasters, I’ve had days like this too. Re: Mussels, apparently, some that stay closed are actually still alright to eat? But I wouldn’t risk it.

    Glad the nougats turned out much better though! I think with nougats there are two camps, the soft chewy one and the brittle crispy one, I can’t make up my mind which one I prefer, but I really love how yours sound, especially with sweet-tart cherries inside! Eat your nougats and cheer up Charles(:

    Reply
    • Hi Shuhan – thanks for the encouragement :)

      For the mussels, yeah, I’ve no doubt, and this wasn’t a “bad batch”… the ones which did open were delicious and tasted fabulous and fresh – the problem is, I’ve had multiple seriously bad experiences with mussels in the past. It was almost enough to put me off them for life but nowadays I’m just manically carefully about which ones I eat. Unfortunately, if it hasn’t opened enough for me to tweeze it out using my “eating shell” then I won’t be touching it alas :(

      Reply
  19. Ahem, disasters are happening all the time in my kitchen… I think I’m not a calm person so things start falling off from cabinet because I’m not careful enough and I broke my most favorite rice bowl from Japan over the weekend. I was shocked for at least 30 mins (I usually forget bad things but this was big deal to me). You sound like very calm person though yet I guess things can happen to you. :-) Your nougat looks so professional and I can’t believe you made homemade ones! Looks incredible Charles!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Nami, your comment made my wife laugh – to be honest I’m not calm at all! When things go wrong I’m ususually shouting at the oven or the pots :p

      Sorry to hear about your bowl – I broke my favourite bowl a few weeks ago… I was so sad! Luckily the pieces weren’t too small. I carefully glued it back together! If you look carefully you can see it but from a distance it’s fine. Still really sad though :(

      Thanks for the compliment! I hope you’re having a great day :)

      Reply
  20. I’m so sorry for your weekend’s culinary failures… I exactly know what you felt. I also have such days…
    Luckily you have cheered yourself up with this super difficult and impressive nougat! I have never attempted making nougat because it seems so complicated and difficult to get right and yours looks just perfect, so my sincere congratulations!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sissi – it all seems to be picking up a bit now at least :) The nougat was still a bit hard, but really tasty.

      Reply
  21. I`m so sorry to hear about your weekend, Charles. Hopefully you`ll cheer up again soon and the next weeks will be better ones!

    Reply
    • Thanks Arudhi – things are looking up already… I’ve got plans for this weekend, hopefully I won’t fail!!

      Reply
  22. Nougart, one of my favorites, had no idea it was so easy to make, but first I must get a candy thermometer.
    Hope this week and the following weeks go smoothly for you.

    Reply
    • Thanks Norma – I was looking all over for a digital thermometer but I just couldn’t find one at all. In the end I went for an analogue one – seems to work well though – I hope you can get one!

      Reply
  23. Sorry to hear about your kitchen mishaps Charles – what a drag and I can completely relate (you actually had me worried though with the title of your post that there was something seriously wrong – not that cooking isn’t serious business ;-)). I don’t know, this cherry nougat looks pretty wonderful to me; I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even notice the hardness factor if presented with these. Gorgeous photos too!

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly – cooking is indeed “Serious Business“, but don’t worry – everything’s fine :)

      I guess you might not notice the hardness if someone gave it to you as a gift – you sure would when you tried to eat it, but it wasn’t too bad. Perfectly edible and delicious – just needs a bit less long on the ol’ stove next time!

      Reply
  24. Sounds like this weekend was a time for everyone to stay away from Charles in the kitchen! Too many gremlins helping out. :) It happens to us all Charles, but I can see that you got right back on that horse and are ready for another round. I haven’t had a nougat in years! Loved them as a kid and would love to try one again. I know the first bite would be a deja vu moment. Love the idea of a nougat with candied cherries. YUM!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much MJ – it’s good to know I’m not the only one, though I never had *quite* this many failures all in one weekend to be honest! I’m looking forward to future nougat experiments, though I’ll use honey next time because I think honey in nougat gives a beautiful flavour!

      Reply
  25. Oh, yum! I’d definitely add the fruit. This would be lovely on a goodie tray for the holidays :)

    Fingers crossed that your weather has improved…less than a week and a half till our departure…I’m so excited!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Liz! I hope you can give it a try :)
      The weather – yes! It has… today is ~25 degrees Celsius… slight breeze, blue skies, bright sun… beautiful! If it stays like this, you’re going to love it :)

      Reply
      • Perfect weather!!! Hope it sticks :)

        Reply
  26. Although you say it didn’t turn out perfect, that nougat really looks amazing in the photos! I wish I could eat it! Hope this coming weekend is less stressful for you.

    Reply
    • Thanks Clare – I’ll try and whip up some for when you visit! Got some more plans to make other things this weekend too! :)

      Reply
  27. Oh I know exactly how you feel. I had one of those weekends recently… nothing was going right. Spent hours making a cake which fell on the floor and splattered to pieces, cut my finger deeply which almost needed stitches, forgot to add sugar to my cookies so they were inedible… but I believe there’s a silver lining in every cloud. Your nougat looks delicious – I love eating them but have never tried making them before. I think it cancels out the bad weekend. Look forward to more successes (for you and me!) in the future!

    Reply
    • Cake on the floor?! Oh no!!! Oh, I think I’d be heartbroken, though I’d be scooping up the bits not covered in floor-dirt and eating it though probably :D

      This weekend seems generally better so far, so let’s hope it continues like this!

      Reply
  28. Bummer about all the disasters. :( Nougat is a one of my manys sugar weakness’. I have never made it. Thank you for the recipe.I have never seen glucose syrup sold around here. I will try it with honey.

    Reply
    • Hi Debra, it’s fantastic with honey… even more so than glucose syrup I think, although it’s two sides to a coin – they both have different qualities, and also, if you’re using a very strong honey it can be very over-powering in flavour!

      I’ll be trying it with honey though next time I think for sure :)

      Reply
    • Thanks Karen – the week has indeed been much better – no more kitchen nightmares :D

      Reply
  29. I never would have thought that one could make nougat at home! This looks great!

    Reply
    • Thanks Su-Lin – home-made is the way to go! Much better flavours and you know exactly what’s going in!

      Reply