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Sticky Sweet Nougat Recipe

I don’t know how everyone else spent their Chinese New Years, but I, for one, did not spend the entire time eating nougat. It’s only now occurring to me that this was a massive oversight on my part.

Although it’s possibly because of the sheer amount of dumplings I managed to consume, that’s no excuse for forgetting candy. 

Thankfully, I’m prepared and armed for next year. I will no longer spend my New Years doing something stupid like not eating candy. Instead, I plan on mixing up a massive batch of nougat, and celebrating togetherness via sugar.

Chinese nougat candy is quick to throw together, but tastes like something you worked for hours on. If you’re running around trying to get everything else ready for a Chinese New Year’s party, this candy is a fantastic last minute addition. 

What is Chinese Nougat Candy?

Chewy, creamy, sweet, and easy to make – that’s what Chinese nougat candy is. This dish is traditionally served on Chinese New Years, as part of the Tray of Togetherness.

A Tray of Togetherness is a simple tray with several compartments that are absolutely loaded with sweets and nuts. These symbolize luck and prosperity, and it’s considered bad luck to let the try become empty.

Which might be tough to achieve with this nougat, because I want to eat it all in minutes.

There are two ways to go about making Chinese nougat candy – the simple way, or the much harder way. Obviously, I’m going with the simple way. It replaces all the tricky ingredients with marshmallows, and tastes just as good.

How to make Chinese Nougat Candy

There are only 4 ingredients necessary to make this candy, and it only requires about 10 minutes of your time. 

The first step is to crush your peanuts using a roller and a ziplock bag. If you’d prefer, give them a quick blitz in the food processor instead.

I like to leave the nuts quite chunky, because it mixes up the texture of the chewy nougat. However, you can make them as fine as you like.

Next, grease a baking dish. Butter is standard, coconut oil is another fantastic choice. Vegetable oil is also a good option.

Basically, whatever grease you have, that doesn’t have a strong flavor (so olive oil is out). Don’t skip this step, or you’ll soon find out why greasing is important.

Pour the marshmallows into the baking dish. From here on out, things move quickly. You want to have everything ready. Measure out the peanuts and the milk, and grease a large piece of parchment paper. 

When everything’s ready to go, heat the marshmallows in the microwave for 1 minute on a high heat. Working quickly, add the powdered milk and the peanuts to the marshmallows. Using a fork or plastic spatula, stir well, mixing everything together thoroughly.

Tip the nougat mixture onto the pre-greased baking paper. Fold the paper in half, or place another (greased) sheet on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten the mixture until it’s roughly ¼ inch to ½ inch thick.

You can try cutting your nougat now, but it’s easier once it’s firmed up. Leave in the fridge for an hour, or at room temperature overnight. Cut into thin rectangles (or whatever shape you prefer). Wrap in glutinous rice paper, colored wrappers, or serve as is!

What is powdered milk?

Powdered milk used to be a fairly common ingredient that’s fallen out of favor. Look in the bakery aisle of major grocery stores, or try specialist baking stores. Otherwise, you can always find it for sale online.

Whole milk powder is best, for that rich and creamy taste. However, if you can only find reduced fat, don’t worry about it. It’ll still work for the recipe.

Chinese Nougat Candy Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 oz marshmallows
  • ½ cup powdered whole milk
  • ½ cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil (divided)

Directions

  1. Tip the peanuts into a ziplock bag, and crush them with a rolling pin. Alternatively, pulse them briefly in a food processor. They can be broken up into chunky pieces, or crushed for a finer finish.
  2. Thoroughly grease a baking dish with half the butter or coconut oil.
  3. Arrange the marshmallows in the baking dish. Place the marshmallows in the microwave and cook, on high, for 1 minute.
  4. Working quickly, add the powdered milk and roasted peanuts to the marshmallows. Using a fork or silicone spatula, mix together well. This will probably get sticky.
  5. Grease a sheet of parchment paper with the remaining butter or coconut oil. 
  6. Transfer the mixture onto the parchment paper, scraping down the sides to make sure you’ve got it all. Fold the paper in half, or place another sheet of paper on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten the nougat mixture, so it’s ¼ – ½ inch flat. 
  7. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or overnight at room temperature, to firm.
  8. Using a large knife or pizza cutter, slice the nougat into rectangular pieces.
  9. Eat immediately, or keep stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 

Notes: The key to this recipe is speed. Once the marshmallows are melted in the microwave, immediately mix in the peanuts and dried milk. It helps to have them measured out beforehand. I also recommend pre-greasing the parchment paper.

Mixing the nuts and milk into the marshmallows is a messy process, so be prepared to get sticky. The mixture will cling to the baking dish, so be sure to thoroughly grease.

If you can’t find roasted peanuts, they can be roasted at home in the oven at 300 Fahrenheit, for about 20 minutes. They should start to smell quite aromatic when they’re done. 

This is the basic, simple recipe, but feel free to mix it up. Add ¼ cup of instant hot chocolate powder to make a chocolate version. Use a variety of nuts, or simply replace the peanuts with your favorite nuts. Try using chopped dried fruit, if you’d prefer. 

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