Serving Size / Yield
- 2 C. sugar, plus 5 oz. for egg whites
- 1/4 C. water
- 1/2 C. light corn syrup or agave nectar
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. rose syrup
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 C. dried apricots, quartered
- 1/2 C. dried cherries, cut bite size
- 1 1/2 C. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine and melted
- candy thermometer
Spray an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with waxed or parchment paper. To make it easier to lift, let the wax paper hang over the sides giving yourself a lip of few inches. Lightly spray the waxed paper inside the pan.
In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup over low heat. Do not stir- swirl the syrup and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the syrup turns a nice amber color and the candy thermometer reaches 300 to 310 degrees, about 18 to 20 minutes. This when your syrup is at the hard crack stage. When the syrup registers about 240 degrees.
In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, start whisking egg whites and a pinch of salt on medium speed until a soft peak develops. Slowly add 2 1/2 ounces of sugar, the vanilla extract, and rose syrup. Continue to whisk the egg whites, on medium speed adding the remaining 2 1/2 ounces of sugar until they are hard peaks and shiny- be careful not to overmix, otherwise the meringue becomes dried and breaks. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in a steady stream of the syrup into the egg whites. Be careful not to let the syrup touch the whisk, pouring down the side of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue mixing for 8 minutes until the mixture holds it’s shape and is thick.
Using a spatula, sprayed with cooking spray, fold the dried fruit. It will be sticky. Pour the nougat onto the parchment paper, spray your hands with cooking spray and flatten with sprayed hands. Leave to rest overnight at room temperature.
The next day, in a Bain Marie or a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate over a little simmering water. Temper the chocolate, so it stays shiny and beautiful. Invert the baking pan, peel off the waxed paper, and discard. Cut to desired size pieces, with a pizza cutter (spray the pizza cutter with cooking spray), and dip half in chocolate or drizzle chocolate over the top and add sprinkles (optional). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
**Try 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean scraped for seeds only
** Be sure to temper the chocolate