- Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil; sprinkle with a small amount of cornstarch. Set pan aside.
- In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine sugar and the 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add the light corn syrup and water; mix well. Cook over medium-high heat to boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. This should take 5 to 7 minutes. Avoid splashing mixture on sides of pan. Carefully clip candy thermometer to side of pan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thermometer registers 286 degree F, soft-crack stage. Mixture should boil at a moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Reaching soft-crack stage should take 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat; remove candy thermometer from saucepan. In a large mixer bowl, immediately beat egg whites with a sturdy, freestanding electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
- Gradually pour hot mixture in a thin stream (slightly less than 1/8-inch diameter) over egg whites, beating with the electric mixer on high speed and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. This should take about 3 minutes. (Add mixture slowly to ensure proper blending.)
- Add vanilla. Continue beating with the electric mixer on high speed, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until candy becomes very thick and less glossy. When beaters are lifted, mixture should fall in a ribbon, but mound on itself, then slowly disappear into the remaining mixture. Final beating should take 5 to 6 minutes.
- Immediately stir in toasted almonds. Quickly turn nougat mixture into the prepared pan. While nougat is warm, score it into about 2x3/4-inch pieces. When candy is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan; cut candy into pieces. Wrap each piece in clear plastic wrap. Store tightly covered. Makes about 48 pieces.
From the Test Kitchen
Up to 1 week ahead prepare nougat. Store in a cool dry place in a tightly covered container.
Black Walnut Nougat:
Prepare Basic Nougat as directed above, except substitute 1/2 cup chopped black walnuts for the almonds. While nougat is warm, score it into about 1-1/2 x 1-1/4-inch pieces. When candy is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan; cut candy into pieces. Garnish top of each piece with a drained and halved maraschino cherry. Makes about 42 pieces.
Nutrition Facts (Basic Nougat)
- Per serving:
- 60 kcal cal.,
- 1 g fat
- 11 mg sodium,
- 12 g carb.,
- 1 g pro.
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet