Nougatringe are not for the faint-hearted. Large shortbread cookies filled with a mix of gianduia and butter, topped with chocolate and almonds. Very decadent and rich. Too rich for me and that says something. I have a massive sweet tooth and if I want to I can easily eat two bars of chocolate in under two minutes. But I can only eat half a Nougatring. Even though they are not even that big. Still they are my favourite baked good. I love their richness, the creamy and heavy gianduia filling, the crispy cookie and the crunchy almonds. And of course the chocolate.
Nougatringe are made with gianduia paste (a solid paste not that stuff like Nutella) and it is possible to find vegan versions. They can be hard to come by, so I have made my own. For that I used hazelnut butter. The brand I use has a very thin consistency and it is easily pourable. Its texture is that of melted chocolate. It’s made from 100 % hazelnuts. I am just saying this because other brands or homemade versions might give you different results when making the gianduia paste. Maybe you’ll have to experiment a bit and add a certain amount of vegetable oil.
150 g (5.3 oz) hazelnut butter
50 g (1/2 cup, sifted) powdered sugar
100 g (3.5 oz) chocolate
30 g (1 oz) cocoa butter
Pour the hazelnut butter into a food processor. Add powdered sugar and process to combine. The mixture will still be rather liquid and like a batter. If your hazelnut butter is more solid, you can try to add one or two tablespoons of vegetable oil like canola. But I haven’t tried this.
Carefully melt the chocolate and the cocoa butter. Pour over the hazelnut mixture and process until smooth. Pour into a container and let cool until solid. I tried to do this at room temperature but it took forever. So I suggest to place the gianduia in the fridge until it has set and is solid. Then take it out again. Later you are going to beat it with some coconut oil, so you don’t want it to be rock hard.
To make the shortbread cookies (makes about 15):
120 g (1/2 cup) refined coconut oil, room temperature
60 g (1/2 cup, unsifted) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
170 g (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon soy milk, optional
Preheat oven to 180° (350°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Beat together coconut oil, sugar, and starch. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until the dough comes together. Doing this with my hands always works best. If it doesn’t come together, add the soy milk. Roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap, about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick. Use a cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out disks. (I used a glass with a diameter of 8 1/2 cm or 3 1/4 inch.) Use a second cookie cutter (3 cm or 1 1/4 inch) to cut a hole in the middle of each disk to form a ring. Gather the remaining dough and repeat until you run out. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
To make the rings you’ll need:
60 g (1/4 cup) soft, refined coconut oil
200-300 g (7-10.6 oz) chocolate
100 g (3.5 oz) slivered almonds
Chop coconut oil and place in a bowl with the gianduia paste. Beat until smooth. The mixture will be very sensitive to warmth. If it starts to melt while beating, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes and then beat again. Attach a large and wide tip to a pastry bag. Fill with gianduia mixture. Again, if it looks like it is melting, place it in the fridge. Pipe the filling onto the cookies and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes. Melt the chocolate and cover the cookies with it. I placed the cookies on a cookie rack and used a teaspoon to pour the chocolate over them. Carefully transfer them to a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with almonds. (This way you can get rid of excessive chocolate that will drip from the cookies. But you can also skip the cookie rack step and place them directly on the parchment paper.) Let dry completely. Store in the fridge but let come to room temperature before serving.