Torrone di Cioccolata

A popular southern European sweet , Torrone di Cioccolata (taw-roh-nay dee choh-koh-lah-tah) is very chewy and quite delicious! Toasted almonds are often substituted for hazelnuts.

8 fl. oz. thick honey

8 oz. sugar

3 fl. oz. cold water

8 oz. dark cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces 2 small egg whites 12 oz. shelled hazelnuts, toasted

Line a 10- x 10-inch baking tin with a double thickness of rice paper and set aside.

Pour the honey into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl and place it over the base of the double boiler or a large saucepan half-filled with boiling water. Place the pan over moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the honey becomes very liquid. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a teaspoon of the honey dropped into a small bowl of cold water forms a hard ball.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, dis-solve 2 ounces of the sugar in 2 fluid ounces of water over moderate heat, stirring constantly. Add the chocolate and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the mixture warm.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, using a wire whisk or rotary beater, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining sugar and the remaining water over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Increase the heat to moderate and allow the syrup to come to the boil. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes or until the caramel turns a light nut-brown colour. Be careful not to overcook the syrup or it will darken too much and become bitter.

Remove the pan from the heat.

Slowly add the beaten egg whites to the melted honey, beating constantly. Stir in the caramel until thoroughly blended and add the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly. Add the hazelnuts and mix well.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and, using a palette knife dipped in cold water, quickly smooth the nougat into an even layer.

Set aside to cool for 20 minutes. Using a sharp knife which has been dipped in cold water, deeply score the surface of the nougat to make 1-inch squares. Set aside to cool completely before breaking into pieces and serving. Alternatively, wrap the nougat in greaseproof or waxed paper and store in a cool dry place until required.

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