The second step in making [pistachio free] Mozart Balls is the German nougat. “Nougat,” at least in the sections of the States, where I grew up has the default of being Italian. It’s white; either taffy-like or hard-candy-like; and filled with dried fruits and/or nuts. However, [one of] the German version[s] of nougat is more like marzipan with coffee and cocoa flavors.
And, while we’re not on the topic, did you know that my mild allergy to pistachios stems from my poison ivy allergy? Poison ivy, pistachios, mango skins and lacquer (it’s a tree, the sap of which is used in furniture-finishing) are all from the same plant family. Subsequently, prolonged exposure by people allergic to one in the group, to any others in the family can lead to increased sensitivity to all members of the family. This is why many people can eat mangoes but cannot touch the skin (the oil that most commonly sets off the allergy is found in the skin of a mango). Handling mango skin is akin- biologically speaking- to handling poison ivy for many folks, myself included. And, the more regularly I eat pistachios, the more serious the mango skin reaction gets (I found that out the hard way when my throat started to close after I ate flesh scraped directly from mango skin) so I generally try to avoid the family as much as possible.
But I digress.
Here are the nougat ingredients:
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons strong, black coffee
- 1 cup ground hazelnuts
On the [very-not-]off-chance you don’t know where to get hazelnuts already ground, it’s quite easy to do yourself. After the marzipan post, all I have to say on the process of grinding nuts into a powder has already been laid down; grind once to couscous texture, add powdered sugar, grind again and run through a sieve.
Drop in the nut meal, sugar and cocoa powder and mix together.