Of all the sweet treat temptations you might offer me, there is only one I’ve never ever been able to resist: hazelnut nougat praline filled chocolate. And of all my favorite nougat filled chocolates (and there are oh so many good ones), this nougat praline crunch remains at the very top of my list.
Hazelnut nougat praline is different from white hazelnut nougat, which contains egg whites, is kind of chewy and originates in southern Europe. By contrast, hazelnut nougat praline contains no egg whites, has a very high content of hazelnuts (over 30 percent) and is more rich and less sweet. Now, this is the type of nougat you want to use. Other names for it will be Viennese nougat, German nougat or gianduja, so look for those when you shop.
In the traditional chocolatier shops in Denmark you can still get these nougat praline crunch treats. However, after moving abroad I’ve had to make them myself, which is really not a bad thing, as I usually make a large batch while I’m at it.
Of course you don’t have to eat it all at once (unless you want to… or, just can’t help yourself). It keeps very well in the fridge for at least a week. Or you might decide (hard decision) to be kind and share with friends.
In this recipe I’ve used salted almonds with the hazelnut nougat, but the classic version has roasted whole hazelnuts, so use whichever type of nuts you prefer. (I’m sure pistachios would be awesome too, though I’ve never tried). I just really like the elegant sweetness of the almonds and the extra depth of the salt which I find complement the nougat and dark chocolate incredibly well. My husband, however, likes it better with whole hazelnuts. But well, he’s usually not the one doing the cooking, so… 🙂
Nougat praline crunch filled with salty almonds
1 lb (500 g) hazelnut praline nougat (Viennese nougat or gianduja)
10 oz (300 g) dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
About 3.5 oz (100 g) salted roasted almonds (see recipe)
1. Start by preparing the roasted salted almonds unless you use ready made ones. See directions here.
2. Next, place a piece of baking parchment in a baking pan, approximately 9.5 x 13 inches (24 x 33 cm) or a round pie pan, about 10 inches in diameter (26 cm). Make sure the parchment covers both bottom and sides.
3. Gently melt the nougat by placing it in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Pour the nougat into the pan and then toss the salted almonds evenly into the nougat. If necessary use a spoon to press the almonds into the nougat. Put in the fridge until the nougat has completely hardened (about 1.5 hours).
4. Now melt and temper half of the dark chocolate. Here are some easy steps to follow if you want to make sure the chocolate is tempered:
Step 1: Pour about 1/4 gallon (1 liter) water into a pot and bring to a boil. Chop the dark chocolate coarsely (remember you are only using half of it now and the other half later).
Step 2: As soon as the water starts boiling, remove it from the heat. Place a heat proof bowl over the water, making sure that the bowl is large enough to cover the edges of the pot. This way you prevent steam from seeping into the chocolate and ruining it.
Step 3: Pour about 2/3 of one of the portions of the chocolate into the bowl and start stirring it immediately with a spatula. It will take about 10 minutes for it to melt while you keep stirring. Ideally it should reach a temperature of no more than 113 F (45 C) before you move to the next step. If you find the temperature is rising too quickly, remove the bowl from the pot.
Step 4: If you haven’t already done so, remove the bowl from the pot and then add the last 1/3 of the chocolate. Then keep stirring until the chocolate reaches and ideal temperature of 88-90 F (31-32 C).
5. Now cover the cooled and hardened nougat and almonds with the dark chocolate and put back in the fridge until completely hardened again (about 1-1.5 hours).
6. Then melt and temper the last half of the chocolate and take the pan out of the fridge. Gently lift up the nougat piece and carefully peel off the baking parchment. Put a new piece of parchment in the pan and then place the nougat with the dark chocolate covered side down. Cover the other side of the nougat evenly with the rest of the chocolate, and then put back in the fridge once more until hardened and ready to eat. You can either cut out piece with a sharp knife or simply break it up for a more rustic look.