I am a huge vanilla fan.  HUGE.

Given the choice between chocolate cake and vanilla cake, I’m going to choose vanilla every.single.time.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Vanilla ice cream is typically thought to be boring, but it’s my ultimate favorite.  I actually get giddy seeing those little flecks of vanilla peeking out in my ice cream.  Or pretty much any other dessert.

If there’s “vanilla” in the title, I’m going to eat it.  Hands-down, first choice, every time.

So when I was afforded the opportunity to review Shauna Sever’s new book “Pure Vanilla,” I was all over it.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Shauna’s book is filled with recipes like vanilla, brown sugar and black pepper bacon (totally making this for Christmas morning breakfast), vanilla cream pie (heaven!) and salted vanilla chip oatmeal cookies.  And I want to try them all.

Not only are the recipes amazing, but the book itself is gorgeous.  It’s filled with a history of all things vanilla, and mouth-watering pictures in a beautiful hardcover book that looks amazing sitting on my kitchen pantry bookshelf.  You need it on yours, too.

Just sayin’.

Because then you can make stuff like these vanilla nougat candy bar bites.

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites - a hunk of nougat with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to balance everything out.  #candy #vanilla #recipe

Okay, so these do take a candy thermometer, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not a pro when it comes to candy-making.

So if I can get these to turn out, anyone can.  And they taste fabulous.  Like the very inside of a candy bar, with a bit of chocolate and salty peanuts to even everything out.

Oooh, what about using white chocolate for the drizzle, colored red and/or green for the holidays?  You could totally impress your friends and family with this.

Or…just keep it stashed in a special hiding place in your kitchen to sneak bites of when no one else is looking.  Not that I would know a thing about that.  😉

Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bars
from Pure Vanilla, by Shauna Sever
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • ¼ cup finely chopped salted nuts (I used peanuts)
  1. Lightly coat a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper as well.
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together sugar, ½ cup water, corn syrup, and salt. Boil over medium-high heat until temperature reaches 238 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites with the whisk attachment until they hold soft peaks (about 2 minutes). With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour half of the hot syrup into the egg whites, adding just 1 to 2 tablespoons to start. This allows the eggs to warm up and prevents them from scrambling. Immediately return the saucepan with the remaining syrup to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Continue beating egg white mixture until thick (about the consistency of marshmallow cream), then turn off the mixer.
  4. When the syrup mixture reaches 275, turn mixer back on at medium speed and slowly pour in syrup. Add in vanilla extract and paste. Increase speed to high and beat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until mixture is very thick and beginning to lose its shine. The bowl should be cool except for the very bottom. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and spread it into the corners, using lightly oiled hands. Let set at room temperature until cool, about 2 hours.
  5. Invert candy onto a cutting surface and remove parchment. Cut into 1-inch squares and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle melted chocolate over the tops of the candies; sprinkle with nuts.

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
{Week Five}: Homemade Gumdrops
{Week Six}: Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peppermint Bark

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!


**  I was provided a copy of Shauna’s book to facilitate my review; however, all opinions are my own.