Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Wash down side of pan with a wet pastry brush, and cook until sugar starts to turn golden around edge. Swirl pan, and continue to cook until golden throughout. Remove from heat, and stir in nuts. Pour mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Roughly chop nuts. Nuts can be stored up to 1 week.

Bring remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil, stirring. Wash down side of pan with a wet pastry brush, and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 238 degrees, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Beat until meringue is stiff, glossy, and cool, about 5 minutes.

Beat together cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into meringue. Fold in remaining whipped cream along with nuts and chocolate.

Line a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Pour in mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until hard enough to slice, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. To serve, remove plastic wrap and invert onto a serving platter. Slice with a serrated knife.

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