Chocolate-Dipped Nougat with Dried Apricots
Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with waxed paper, allowing the paper to overhang by 2-inches on each side. Lightly spray the waxed paper inside the pan.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and honey over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the syrup turns amber and registers 315 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the syrup is cooking, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is very thick, about 7 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Fold in 1/2 of the apricots. Using a spatula sprayed with cooking spray, scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining apricots on top. Fold the overhanging pieces of waxed paper onto the surface of the mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Remove the waxed paper from the nougat and discard. Using a knife sprayed with cooking spray, cut the nougat in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 8 pieces. Dip 1 end of the nougat into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis