Nougat-Stuffed Brownie Bites feature dark, fudgy mini brownies filled with soft honey nougat and topped with chocolate glaze and your choice of gorgeous decorations. They’re elegant and delicious! To make these faster and easier, you can substitute marshmallow cream for the homemade nougat in the center of the brownies. The filling will be softer and sweeter, but it's a good substitute in a pinch!
Toppings: chopped pistachios, dried apricot slivers, sea salt, edible flower petals, or other decorations
To Make the Brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray 24 mini muffin cavities with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the cubed butter, chopped chocolate, and brown sugar in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
Add the eggs one at a time to the bowl, whisking for 20-30 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.
Sift the flour and salt over the bowl, and stir it in with a spatula. At first, the brownies might seem a little "broken," with a loose texture and a grainy appearance. Keep stirring with the spatula until they come together and look glossy and satiny. This might take 2-3 minutes of stirring, but keep going until the brownie batter has a pudding texture.
Scoop the batter into the prepared mini muffin tins and bake for 14 minutes, until they're puffed and dry on top but a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs. While the brownies are baking, prepare the nougat filling.
To Make the Nougat Filling:
Combine the water, honey, and sugar in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat, and stir while the sugar melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush several times, to remove any stray sugar crystals.
When the sugar comes to a boil, insert a candy thermometer and start monitoring the temperature. When it reaches 230 F, place the egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and begin beating on medium-high speed.
When the sugar-honey syrup reaches 245 F, take the pan from the heat and pour the hot syrup into a measuring cup with a spout. With the mixer running, stream the hot sugar syrup into the mixer with the beaten egg whites. Continue to beat the whites until the mixture becomes thick, shiny, lighter in color, and somewhat stiff (this should take about 4-5 minutes). Stop when the nougat is thick and streams from the whisk in a slow ribbon, but is still warm to the touch. Add the salt and vanilla bean paste and beat them in as well.
Transfer the nougat to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and wait until the brownies are done baking.
Once the brownie cups are baked, let them cool for several minutes until they're still warm but not scalding hot. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or your finger to press a hole in the center of each brownie cup, about 1/2-inch wide and at least 1/2-inch deep. Fill each hole with nougat. You may have extra nougat left over depending on how large your brownie holes are.
Return the brownies to the oven for just 1 minute. This is optional but it forms a "crust" on top of the nougat and makes them a little easier to dip. Cool the brownie cups completely before proceeding. Once the brownie cups are cool, run a knife around the edges and pop them out of the pans.
Make the chocolate glaze by putting the semi-sweet chocolate into a small bowl, and pour the heavy cream into a small saucepan. Heat the cream until it comes to a simmer and bubbles appear along the sides of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let it sit for 1 minute to soften the chocolate. Gently whisk them together until you have a shiny, glossy chocolate glaze. Let it cool until it thickens up and is barely warm to the touch.
Dip the top of each brownie bite in the glaze, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. If you want a thicker layer of glaze on top, you can refrigerate the brownie bites for about 10 minutes and then dip them a second time. While the chocolate is still wet, top them with your decorations of choice—I used a pistachio half, a sliver of dried apricot, a pinch of sea salt, and an edible flower petal. Refrigerate the brownie bites just until the chocolate on top is no longer tacky.
For the best taste and texture, serve these brownie bites at room temperature. Extras keep well and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
Make sure that the honey you use is liquid and not grainy. Grainy honey will lead to grainy nougat. If your honey has has crystallized, warm it up briefly in the microwave, so that any crystals are melted before beginning the recipe.