Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Help My Nougat!

Ok, so I have performed another experiment. I don't have any pics of it up yet because I am writing this post quickly and in desperation. Sadly, no one really follows my blog so I doubt I will get much wisdom, but I have to try something... even the internet won't give me the answer.

I tried to make divinity. I recognize the fact that I am not a very good candy maker. I'm more of a drop cookie kinda gal. I thought that maybe I should put in some practice though because candy can be expensive and making my own, being able to customize it, sounded intriguing.

So I found a recipe for divinity, that soft, fluffy, sweet, white nougat, in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It sounded relatively simple despite that there were 30 minutes in the recipe where I was supposed to be doing nothing, no stirring, no scraping, no measuring, nothing. I am not very good at doing nothing while I'm making something, I am very impatient. I tried my hand anyway. I put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in the pot and stirred just til it started to boil. I then turned the heat down until I achieved a consistent low boil. I boiled it untouched for probably about 25 minutes (though the recipe said 15-20 I wasn't relly concerned because I was being wussy about turning up the heat). Although I took the mixture off just as the termometer closed in on 260 (hard ball stage) I thought it looked pretty dark and had maybe overcooked despite the tellings of my equipment. I beat my egg whites in about 2 seconds with my hand mixed and brought them to what I'm pretty sure was pretty stiff peaks. Then I drizzled in the hot sugar syrup blending as I went. The candy turned out to taste pretty good. I had added vanilla and some chopped pecans to the mix. The problem I discovered was this: my divinity was not divine.

Honestly when I was making the divinity, I did not know it was a form of nougat. I figured this out when nougat was what I ended up with. Hard, dense, filling removing nougat. It wasn't fluffy at all. It didn't stay in nice little mounds on my baking sheet. Instead, it pretended to keep a shape only to ooze into a flattened blob a half an hour later. Why is my divinity so dense? What did I do wrong? How does one achieve the glorious fluffy texture I so desire? I have reviewed a number of divinity and nougat recipes now and they seem so similar that I cannot even really choose a technique out of the recipe that makes them different. Help, someone. Please, help my nougat!


  1. I am on it! I will research this mystery today and see if I come up with any insight into your dilemma. We will help each other through this baking nightmare we both seem to be experiencing. These are dark days, but we will come out victorious. At least you have your thread to fall back on...

  2. I hope the emails I sent to you helped your predicament. The other thing I noticed is that you added your vanilla at a different time than other recipes recommend. The recipe I found said you should add the vanilla AFTER the egg whites, but before you beat it. I am not sure if that makes a difference, but baking is all about chemistry, and I am not sure if the alcohol being mixed in makes a difference.

    I promise I will not post any more comments on your blog today.

  3. ooooh, sorry! I broke my promise. I also noticed that when you are scooping it out onto waxed paper, you should use a buttered spoon. Another recipe claims that you have to let it set up for almost 12 hours. I doubt that, but these are all bits and pieces I have collected in your pursuit of divinity. Please let me know if you have success, so I can share in your joy of eating these blessed things.

  4. I was hoping I'd found the answer here! I've made one batch which I took just barely up to 320 degrees which was perfectly pleasant but hard, and another batch which touched 280 degrees and oozes. Neither was remotely fluffy. I'm toying with the concept of extra egg white and a mid point temperature - 300. If not - maybe starting with home-made marshmallow?