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Friday, September 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Nougat Bars

It's Friday, Friday, Friday...  I'm sorry to those of you who now have that song in your head.  Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about should head to YouTube and search "Friday."  Go ahead, I'll wait... 

There we go, now everyone is in a good mood, thinking about which seat they'll choose and how they want a bowl of cereol.  I know, the song is super annoying, but it puts me in a good mood!  Fridays have taken on such a new meaning since I've started my new life in the real world.

Fridays are the last day of the week that I have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning.  Fridays are usually devoid of meetings at work and everyone heads out the door by 4:30.  Friday evenings are for relaxing with boyfriend, eating pizza, Chinese food or sandwiches.  Friday is payday too!  Woot, payday!  Friday also means that the weekend is upon us and I get to spend some time in the kitchen.

This weekend I expect to get lots of baking and cooking done.  You know why?  It's because I'm an awesome girlfriend.  While at lunch yesterday I stopped by the video game store and got boyfriend NHL 2012.  Something that he has been suggesting that I buy him for at least three months.  It was just released on Tuesday and he's very excited about it.  When I gave it to him last night he was all jazzed, then he told me I had to learn how to play...  Hmmm, that wasn't part of my distraction plan...

Peanut Butter Nougat Bars
Adapted from Chocolates and Confections

I'm not totally sold on this recipe.  I know, you're thinking "Chocolate and peanut butter, what's not to like?!???!"  What I don't like about them is simple, molasses.  There isn't a whole lot of molasses in the nougat, it's more of a back note, a mystery flavor.  I'm not a huge fan of molasses.  Boyfriend actually did like these, must like molasses more than I do. 

Be sure to remove the syrup from the stovetop right at 255 F.  I waited a few degrees too long and my candy is a little harder than I would have liked.  While still delicious, I like a softer nougat.  Feel free to cook it to 257 if you like a harder nougat!

1 large egg white
3 oz corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups (1 lb) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz) water
1 cup (12 oz) corn syrup
1/2 cup (6 oz) molasses

3/4 cup (2 oz) dried milk powder (mine says "Instant Non-fat Dry Milk" on the box)
1/2 cup (2 oz) powdered sugar
1 cup (9 oz) creamy peanut butter

1 lb milk chocolate for coating (or 1 bag chocolate candy melts)

Coat1 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine egg white, corn syrup and vanilla and set aside.

In a 4 quart pot, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and molasses.  Stir to combine and place over medium heat.  Place the lid over and bring to a boil.  Allow the sugar syrup to boil for 2 minutes and remove the lid.  Clip on the candy thermometer.  Watch your syrup, once it reaches 233 F begin whipping the egg white.  Whip until shiny and fluffy.

Once the syrup reaches 255 F, remove from the heat and slowly pour into the whipping meringue mixture.  Be sure to pour in an even stream, into the meringue.  Do not pour it onto the side of the bowl or onto the whip, aim right for the meringue!

When you have added all of the syrup, continue whipping for an additional 2 minutes.  Mix powdered milk and powdered sugar together in a bowl and add to the whipped stuff.  Fold in with a rubber spatula.  Add peanut butter and mix in with your rubber spatula.  It might get kind of stiff at this point, try not to deflate the candy while stirring.

Pour candy into the prepared pan and allow to sit for 4 hours.  If you need to leave it overnight be sure to cover with plastic wrap.  Once set, remove candy from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares.  Coat in chocolate and enjoy!  I like to keep these in the fridge, it cuts back on the molasses flavor.
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