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When I was a kid my father would go and buy cake every Sunday. He would ask us what we wanted and I would always beg for a Nougatring. Most of the time the bakery was already out of these or they had not made any. I was disappointed even though my father had brought a great alternative. (Most of the time it was a massive cream puff.) Sometimes he was successful and I was in heaven. For those of you who have never heard of these, let me explain why you need these in your life.
Nougatringe are not for the faint-hearted. Large donut shaped shortbread cookie bars filled with a mix of gianduia and butter, topped with chocolate and almonds. Very decadent and rich.Too rich for me now and that says something. I have a massive sweet tooth and can easily eat two bars of chocolate in under two minutes. But only eat half a Nougatring. (When I was a kid I managed one.) 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, nothing like Nutella). It is possible to find vegan versions. Vegan gianduia is not so hard to get in Germany. You can find it in the baking section and some health food stores carry it. But in case you can’t find it, I have included a recipe. 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 melted coconut oil. Make the paste a day or two in advance, as it takes time to cool and set.
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
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
Additional ingredients to assemble and glaze the cookie rings:
60 g (1/4 cup) soft, refined coconut oil
200-300 g (7-10.6 oz) chocolate, chopped
100 g (3.5 oz) slivered almonds
To make the gianduia, 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 melted, refined coconut oil. (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 in the fridge until solid.
Remove from fridge two to three hours before baking.
To make the cookies, preheat oven to 180° (350°F).
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat together 120 g 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 the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper, 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.
For the filling, chop remaining 60 g of coconut oil and place in a bowl with the gianduia paste.
Use a handheld mixer to 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.
For the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate and cover the cookies in chocolate. 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.