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Once you take a bite of this chewy nougat filled with the heady taste of honey, bits of sweet cherry, and the crunch of roasted pistachios and almonds, you will be hooked. This candy is a sweet and wonderful addiction.

Nougat, also called Torrone, is thought to have originated in Italy in the early 15th century. It is made with beaten egg whites, honey and almonds, and is normally sandwiched between edible sheets of rice paper or wafer paper. Unlike some versions of nougat which have a hard and crunchy texture, this nougat recipe is the soft variety, with a dense and chewy texture. Traditional Italian nougat is typically made with almonds, but I’ve added pistachios for their bright color and delicate flavor, along with some candied cherries. The cherries add a festive holiday taste but are optional.

Sheets of edible rice paper or wafer paper keep the nougat from sticking to itself and the pan, making it easier to handle and eat. The papers can be found in Asian or specialty grocery stores and cake decorating stores. Because rice and wafer paper is edible and flavorless, you don’t need to spend time peeling it off the candy before eating; it just dissolves in your mouth.

This is not the easiest candy to make, but if you take one step at a time you will have success. Don't attempt this recipe without a candy thermometer or a stand mixer; a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power for the heavy texture of the candy. It is important to have all ingredients, equipment and tools set out and ready to use before beginning.
Recipe type: Dessert | Candy
Small amount of vegetable shortening, parchment paper, and edible rice paper or edible wafer paper for preparing pans.
  • 1 cup honey (preferably clover honey)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unblanched almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup candied cherries, halved (optional)
Line one 13x9x2 inch oblong pan with parchment paper, lightly grease the top and sides of the parchment with vegetable shortening. Place a piece of rice paper or wafer paper in the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment paper. If necessary piece the paper together without overlapping to fit and cover the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Tip: Before beginning to make the candy, have all ingredients, equipment and tools prepared and ready to use.
  1. Place the honey in a bowl, and set the bowl in a larger pan of simmering water to create a bain marie water bath to warm the honey.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat just until the sugar is combined. Set aside. Tip: Use a stand mixer; a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power for the heavy texture of the candy.
  3. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
  4. Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 260 degrees F, a hard ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup.
  5. When the syrup has reached 260 degrees, pour the warmed honey into the syrup, stir carefully but quickly to combine, and continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 290 degrees, a soft crack stage. Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches 280 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 290 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 290 degrees to prevent it from going over 290 degrees.
  6. Meanwhile, after you have added the honey, and as the temperature of the syrup reaches about 270 degrees F, continue beating the egg whites on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
  7. When the sugar mixture reaches 290 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with the electric mixer at medium speed. This will cause the egg whites to double in volume. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
  8. Slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and beat until the nougat cools a bit and becomes thick and shiny, about 5 minutes. Stop beating and remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a heavy wooden spoon, quickly stir in the chopped almonds and pistachios and optional cherry halves; the mixture will be very thick and may be difficult to stir.
  9. Immediately pour the nougat into the prepared pan, smooth the top and press down to pack the nougat down into the pan as firmly and evenly as possible. Tip: Spread a thin coating of vegetable shortening on a heavy wooden spoon to help with the stickiness and removing the nougat from the bowl, or grease your hands with a little vegetable shortening, the nougat should be cool enough at this point to use your hands.
  10. Cover the top of the nougat with another sheet of rice paper or wafer paper, pieced together without overlapping if necessary to cover the entire top, smooth and lightly press the paper over the nougat.
  11. Let the nougat sit until cool and thoroughly set, 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  12. When the nougat is firm, remove from the pan by grabbing the edge of the parchment paper and lifting out of the pan, peel away the parchment paper and discard, but do not remove the rice paper or wafer paper.
  13. Use a sharp kitchen knife to cut the nougat into 2-inch by 1-inch rectangles; cut the nougat lengthwise into 2-inch strips, and then cut each strip into 1 inch pieces. Tip: The nougat will cut easier if the knife is hot. Run the knife under hot water, then wipe dry before each cut.
  14. Nougat Candy
Recipe Notes
Equipment: Medium-Sized Heavy-Bottomed Pan, Candy Thermometer Method: Stovetop Pan: 13x9x2 inch oblong Pan Prep: Parchment Lined, Edible Rice or Wafer Paper Yield: About 48 Pieces, 3 Pounds Storage: Airtight Container, Cool Place or Refrigerate

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