Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars

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oft, chewy caramel, roasted peanuts, nougat, silky milk chocolate, and a dash of salt! Today I’m making chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanut bars! Now, who could resist this combination? Not me! And you? Didn’t think so!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

Chocolate Bar v.s. Candy Bar

There is a difference between the two. Candy bar is a broad term that refers to a snack that contains mostly sugar, and it may or may not contain some chocolate. Chocolate bar, on the other hand, is much fancier – it consists of mostly (preferably good quality) chocolate, and possibly some nuts or dried fruits inside, like, for example, my hidden surprise white chocolate bark.

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

Now what the heck is a chocolate bark? Well, chocolate bark is always topped with lots of nuts, dried fruits, candy etc. Confusing? Maybe a little bit! Anyway, candy bar I’m making today consists of layer of soft caramel mixed with roasted peanuts, peanut nougat, and milk chocolate coating. Yummy!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

How to Make Soft Caramel with Peanuts?

To make chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanut bars, first you’ll need to make soft caramel. To do that you will need some sugar, cream, butter and a digital candy thermometer. Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment at hand, because you need to act quickly when making this puppy. Add a generous quantity of roasted peanuts, and you already have delicious sweet treat. If you want to keep it simple, check my post about making soft caramels, or take a glimpse at my chocolate salted caramels recipe, they are both good reads!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

A Few Words About Peanuts

Peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts, because they grow underground. That’s why they are sometimes called “ground nuts” or “ground peas”. Interestingly enough – American presidents love peanuts! Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA – Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson and Georgia’s Jimmy Carter. Also, peanuts are known for being space travelers since astronaut Alan Shepard brought a peanut with him to the Moon. I kid you not!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

Now, did you know that it takes about 540 peanuts to make a jar of peanut butter? Yes, that’s a lot of peanuts, but my dear peanut butter lovers, have no fear – American farmers produce approximately 1.9 million tons of peanuts each year, so your peanut butter jars will always be full! In fact, the average American eats more than 2.7 kg (6lbs) of peanuts and peanut butter products every year! The average European, on the other hand, will consume only 1Tbsp of peanut butter in that same time.

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

By the way – it is believed that peanut butter was originally invented by ancient Aztecs, who were mashing up peanuts for elderly people with no teeth! I wonder if some of those people were suffering from arachibutyrophobia? What is arachibutyrophobia, you ask? Well, it’s a fear, but not the fear of peanut butter as such, but the situation of having it stick to the roof of your mouth. Not good! But hey, don’t worry – in my recipe peanut butter is just one of the ingredients that my nougat consists of, so we’re good to go!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

How to Make Nougat?

Nougat is second layer of my candy bars. To make nougat, you will need honey, sugar egg whites and a candy thermometer. You can learn everything about history of nougat and how to make nougat in my post. Have in mind that once you make it, you need to transfer it into the loaf pan quickly, because it will be very sticky. I suggest you use two silicone spatulas, that works the best.

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

How to Coat Bars in Chocolate?

Once my nougat is done, all I need to do is to temper some milk chocolate, and coat my bars with it. First I’ll spread some tempered milk chocolate onto a silicone mat, and place my bars onto it.

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

When my chocolate is partially set, I will make incisions around the bars and leave the chocolate to set completely. Then, I’ll put my bars onto a rack and cover them completely with remaining tempered milk chocolate. There, my bars are now fully dressed, but, as every girl knows, you can’t just throw your coat on and simply walk out like that, right? No, you need that delicate final touch, a bit of a bling, you need to accessorize, of course! So, I’ll sprinkle some salted peanuts for extra crunch, and add a few crystals of fleur de sal for extra bling on my awesome chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanut bars! Now, they are done and ready to make your taste buds dance! Enjoy!

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars, Pastry Maestra

Chocolate, Nougat, Caramel and Peanut Bars Recipe

by:Tereza Alabanda,The Pastry Maestra

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Prep. time : 15 minutes

Cook time : 25 minutes

Ready in 60 minutes plus cooling

Level : Advanced

Ingredients:
Soft Caramel and Peanut Layer:

  • Sugar 90g (3.2oz)
  • Glucose syrup 90g (3.2oz)
  • Cream (35%) 125g (4.4oz)
  • Butter 15g (0.5oz)
  • Peanuts (roasted) 100g (3.5oz)

Nougat Layer:

  • Egg whites 25g (0.9oz)
  • Honey 140g (5oz)
  • Sugar 225g (8oz)
  • Glucose syrup 40g (1.6oz)
  • Peanut butter (smooth) 55g (2oz)
  • Milk chocolate for coating 400g (14oz)
  • Roasted salted peanuts to taste
  • Fleur de sel to taste

Directions

  1. To make chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanut bars line 30cmx10cm (12″x4″) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Next, make the caramel layer. To make soft caramel layer put sugar and enough water to cover the sugar into a saucepan. Mix to combine and put the lid on.
  3. When the mixture boils, the steam will wash down the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Remove the lid, add glucose syrup, and continue cooking until the syrup caramelizes. When the sugar syrup turns amber in color, remove the pan from the stove. Carefully add cream that you’ve previously heated in the microwave into the caramel. Add butter and stir until incorporated.
  4. Put the pan back on the stove, insert the probe of a digital candy thermometer into the mixture, and continue cooking.
  5. When the temperature reaches 121°C (250°F) remove the pan from the heat, add chopped roasted peanuts and stir well to combine. Then, pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread it with a silicone spatula and tap the pan against the counter to distribute it evenly. Leave it at room temperature to cool down while you make the nougat layer.
  6. To make nougat layer put sugar and water into a saucepan, put the lid on, and set it aside until needed.
  7. Put egg whites into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
  8. Put honey into a saucepan, and insert the probe of a digital candy thermometer into the honey. Cook honey until it reaches 110°C (230°F). At that point, start whisking the egg whites on high speed.
  9. When the honey reaches 120°C (250°F), the egg whites will be whipped to soft peaks. At that point pour the honey into the egg whites without turning off the mixer.
  10. Now start cooking sugar syrup that you’ve prepared earlier. Continue whisking you egg whites as you cook the syrup.
  11. When the syrup starts boiling, remove the lid, add the glucose and insert the probe of a digital candy thermometer into the syrup.
  12. When the syrup reaches 155°C (310°F) pour it into the mixture of egg whites and honey without turning off the mixer. Be very careful, the syrup is very hot and pretty dense at this point, so make sure you don’t pour it on the whisk while it’s working! Continue mixing egg whites for another couple of minutes.
  13. Add peanut butter that you’ve previously heated up in the microwave into the mixture and mix with a firm silicone spatula to combine.
  14. Transfer the nougat into the prepared pan onto the set caramel layer. Then, cover it with a piece of parchment paper and smooth it first using your fingers, and finally using a small spatula. Leave it at room temperature to cool down completely.
  15. When the nougat is set, take it out from the mold. Cut it into approximately 2.5cm (1″) wide bars using a sharp oiled knife.
  16. Temper the milk chocolate, and pour some onto a silicone mat. Spread it with offset spatula. Then, place the bars on the chocolate and leave them for a couple of minutes until the chocolate becomes partially set.
  17. At that point carefully make incisions around each bar using a small knife, and leave the chocolate to set completely. Make sure you cut very gently – you don’t want to cut through your silicone mat!
  18. When the bottom chocolate layer is set put the bars onto a rack. Glaze the bars with remaining tempered milk chocolate until they are covered completely. Tap the rack against the counter to distribute the chocolate evenly.
  19. Finally, decorate your bars with some roasted salted peanuts, and sprinkle some fleur de sel on the top. Bon appétit!

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