Now here’s a super cookbook idea for our pandemic times.
Lucy Burton has created a cookbook with recipes for more than 60 cakes, cookies and other treats that can be mailed to loved ones. Her wonderfully cheery and colourful book, Postal Bakes (Welbeck Publishing) contains recipes for treats that will last in the post and bring a little delight to happy recipients. In the book, Lucy also shares how to pack baked goods so they look beautiful and arrive in one piece. But, whether you post them or not, all are delicious. This Hazelnut and Honey Nougat is a shining example!
PREP: 20 minutes, plus cooling and setting
COOK: 25 minutes MAKES: 16 bars or 48 smaller squares
150 g (5 oz/generous 1 cup) blanched hazelnuts
300 g (11 oz/scant 11⁄3 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
75 g (21⁄2 oz) liquid glucose
150 ml (5 fl oz/scant 2⁄3 cup) water
2 egg whites
90 g (31⁄4 oz/1⁄4 cup) runny honey
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
50 g (2 oz) glacé cherries (optional)
icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 6), line a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) tin following the instructions on page 12 and line a separate baking sheet with parchment.
Spread the hazelnuts on the baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until fragrant and starting to brown. Set aside.
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the sugar then put the remainder in a heavy-based saucepan fitted with a sugar thermometer along with the liquid glucose and water. Set the pan over a medium heat, bring to a boil and leave to cook until the temperature reaches 135°C (275°F).
While the sugar mixture is cooking, put the egg whites and reserved sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk to stiff peaks. Turn off the mixer, but keep the bowl attached.
As soon as the sugar mixture reaches 135°C (275°F) add the honey and salt to the pan and stir quickly to combine. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 145°C (293°F), then turn on the mixer to a low speed and carefully pour the hot sugar mixture over the whisked egg whites. Once the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and continue to whisk for 5–10 minutes, or until the mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Add the hazelnuts and glacé cherries (optional) to the nougat mixture and stir through to incorporate, then tip the mixture into the prepared tin. Press a sheet of baking parchment over the top of the nougat in the tin, then use a rolling pin to spread the nougat out in an even layer.
Leave the nougat to cool to room temperature and set, then slice into bars or smaller squares and dust in icing sugar.
SHELF LIFE: These will keep well for at least a week.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Swap the hazelnuts for other hard nuts (almonds also work well). Fold through 100 g (31⁄2 oz) of melted dark chocolate at the same time as adding the nuts to create a marbled nougat.
HOW TO POST: Wrap the pieces individually in baking parchment, or wrap a small slab tightly in cellophane and tissue.