It is easy to make soft German hazelnut nougat at home. All you need are a few basic ingredients, and you get that soft, chocolatey and nutty gianduja paste perfect to eat on its own or in these fantastic nut heaven pralines!
The nut heaven pralines are made with one layer of delicious German hazelnut nougat, one layer of delicate marzipan, coated in a snappy, dark chocolate coating and topped with a buttery almond crunch. So much nuttiness but vastly different textures - it is truly amazing!
These pralines are also part of my Christmas box of chocolates, so if you like these, make sure you give that a read too. Currently 8 other recipes in there as well.
What is nougat and what is German nougat?
Nougat is a traditional confectionary dating all the way back, the first one appearing in Persia in the 8th century. The word nougat is derived from the Occitan language, pan nogat, which means nut bread. So yes, nuts are always included in a nougat recipe.
However, there are several kinds of nougat and it can be subject to confusion. Mainly three forms of nougat, although the white nougat, or Spanish nougat, is the most common one - especially outside of Northern Europe. Also called turrón in Spanish and is derived from the original Persian one.
This type is made from whipped egg whites, honey and roasted nuts, and quite often also with dried fruit. It can be hard and crunchy or soft and chewy.
As I am North European, it is not this white nougat that first comes to mind when I think of nougat. Rather, it is German nougat, or Viennese nougat, which is a soft and creamy hazelnut, and often with chocolate, praline.
German nougat is also sometimes referred to as gianduja in Italy, but that can also confuse. Depending on the combination of ingredients, gianduja can be super liquidy like a Nutella spread, or it can be firmer like this German hazelnut nougat.
The third version, is a brown nougat, or French and Italian nougat. This nougat is firmer and crunchier than the Spanish one, and is made without egg whites.
Nut Heaven Pralines
The ingredients for German hazelnut nougat are just a few, basic pantry staples:
- Roasted hazelnuts (or hazelnut spread, see next section)
- Powdered sugar
- Melted butter
- Melted chocolate
- A little salt
And yes, it is very easy to make too! The nuts, sugar and chocolate are all equal in weights for the perfect soft and creamy nougat consistency.
Hazelnut butter vs roasted hazelnuts
Homemade nougat made with roasted hazelnuts provide the best flavor. However, store bought nougat is super creamy, smooth and soft. This is due to the fact that they have fancy equipment that can process the nuts super finely. That is also why homemade Nutella isn't as smooth as store bought.
You can come past this by using a hazelnut spread instead, just make sure it is 100% hazelnuts. However, then you can't have that roasted, delicious hazelnut smell in your house and honestly, it feels a little too easy. That being said, it boils down to your own preference!
Some say a blender is enough when making homemade soft nougat, but I believe you must use a food processor in order to get the pieces of hazelnut as absolutely minimal as possible.
And truth be told, homemade nougat when using a food processor is actually quite smooth! The only feedback I got when I made this was 'WOW that is nutty!', so if you don't think store bought nougat tastes nutty enough, homemade is your friend. It is smooth, I promise.
How to make hazelnut nougat
All you need to do to make homemade hazelnut nougat is roasting the nuts for ten minutes, let them cool, mix with powdered sugar in a food processor and then with melted butter and chocolate! So, so easy.
This recipe is adapted from All Tastes German. Start by pre-heating the oven to 320F (160C). Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Be careful not to bake for much longer or they become rancid. Place them in a towel (or just between your hands) and rub the brown skin off once they have cooled a bit.
Place in a food processor with the powdered sugar (1) and let it process for about 5 minutes or until it resembles very thick peanut butter (2-4). Add in the melted butter and process until smooth (5). Scrape down the sides if needed (2).
Melt the chocolate (I do it in the microwave at 30 second intervals). Add the melted butter to the hazelnut puree (6) and pulse until you get a smooth mixture (7).
Pour into a parchment covered 8x8 inch baking pan or just a bowl (8). Cover with plastic wrap. Let it firm up in the refrigerator, about 2-3 hours. Let it come to room temperature before using, to make it more manageable to shape. The nougat will last for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
The traditional shape is a nougat log, but for the Nut heaven pralines below, the 8x8 inch pan is perfect as is. If you need to roll it out to shape it, wrap it in plastic wrap before rolling (9).
Nut heaven pralines
These nut heaven pralines, or gianduja pralines, are any nut lover's dream. It's soft hazelnut nougat and marzipan (which is almonds), but that's not all. They are also topped with deliciously small pieces of crunchy almonds. This is called krokan in Norwegian, and it's literally just almonds, butter and sugar and I would make it while the nougat is chilling.
Once nougat is done chilling and the almond crunch is done, you can start with the nut heaven praline assembly. Place the marzipan on top of the nougat, trim if necessary (10). Gently press together so they stick together. Again, if you need to roll out either the marzipan or the nougat, place it in a plastic wrap before rolling (9).
Cut the nougat and marzipan into equal sized pieces, about ⅓ inch (7 mm) thick and ⅔ x 1 inch (15x25mm) rectangular shape, or make it into whatever shape or size you want (11).
Dip the nougat-marzipan pieces into (tempered) melted dark chocolate and place on parchment paper (12-13). Sprinkle almond crunch on top (14) and place in a cool place until the chocolate has set.
The entire batch of nougat makes about 107 pralines, so feel free to cut the praline recipe in half if you don't want so many! I normally make about 50% less (and I'm giving a lot away).
If you want to know how to temper dark chocolate, please red this peppermint cream cheese truffle recipe. And also, you should make those as well. Soo yum.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more chocolate recipes I think you would like:
- Peppermint patties
- Almond crunch milk chocolates (Krokanrull)
- White chocolates filled with raspberries
- Salted caramel chocolates
- Chocolate coffee truffles
- Peppermint cream cheese filled truffles
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