Vegan Chocolate Nougat Bars

Makes: 24 bars

Ready In: 2 hours

For the nougat:
1 1/4 cups (130 g) dry soy milk powder* (you can find this online or at some health food stores)
1/3 cup (40 g) powdered sugar
4 oz (110 g) dark chocolate, chopped (make sure it’s vegan)
1/4 cup (40 g) cocoa butter** (you can substitute with coconut oil, but the texture may be softer)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 g) aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 cups (710 g) light corn syrup, divided
3 cups (620 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (170 g) water

For the chocolate coating:
3 1/2 cups (600 g) vegan chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

To make the nougat:
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on both sides. Spray the paper with oil, making sure to cover all areas of the pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk powder and powdered sugar. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Set aside.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate and cocoa butter. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, combine the aquafaba, cream of tartar, and 1/4 cup (60 g) of the corn syrup. Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining 2 3/4 cups (650 g) of corn syrup, granulated sugar, and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.
Stop stirring and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals. Cook until the temperature reaches 252°F (122°C), which is hard-ball stage.
When the sugar mixture reaches about 230°F (110°C), start whipping the aquafaba mixture on high speed until it forms medium-firm peaks. If it reaches this stage before the sugar is ready, reduce the speed to low and keep it running.
When the sugar mixture reaches 252°F (122°C), carefully and slowly pour it into the aquafaba mixture in a thin stream, while continuing to whip on high speed. Avoid hitting the whisk or the sides of the bowl with the hot syrup.
Once all the syrup is added, keep whipping on high speed until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and less glossy, about 3 minutes. Let it cool slightly for a few minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the soy milk powder mixture until well incorporated. The mixture will be very sticky and stiff at this point.
Fold in the chocolate mixture until evenly distributed. The mixture will become even thicker and harder to stir.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread it evenly with an offset spatula or your hands. You may need to wet your hands or spatula to prevent sticking.
Let the nougat set at room temperature until firm but slightly soft when pressed, about an hour.

To make the chocolate coating:
Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or wax paper. Set aside.
Cut the nougat into 24 bars using a sharp knife or a bench scraper. You may need to dip your knife or scraper in hot water before cutting to prevent sticking.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
Pour about one-third of the chocolate mixture onto one of the prepared baking sheets and spread it evenly with an offset spatula.
Place the nougat bars on top of the chocolate layer, leaving some space between them. Press them down slightly to adhere.
Pour the remaining chocolate mixture over the bars, making sure to cover all sides completely. Use an offset spatula to smooth out any excess chocolate.
Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.

To serve:
Remove the bars from the fridge and peel off any excess chocolate from around them. Cut off any uneven edges if desired.
Enjoy at room temperature or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Nutrition per serving (1 bar):
Calories: 440 kcal
Fat: 18 g
Saturated fat: 11 g
Carbohydrates: 72 g
Sugar: 63 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 4 g

*You can make your own soy milk powder by blending dry soybeans in a high-speed blender until they form a fine powder. Then, spread the powder on a baking sheet and bake in a low oven (200°F/93°C) for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until dry and crisp. Let it cool completely before using or storing in an airtight container.

**Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from cocoa beans. It gives chocolate its smooth and creamy texture and helps the nougat set firmly. You can find it online or at some specialty stores.