Recipe: Sesame Candy

The forum that is my primary social outlet is having a food swap. There are a few of us who signed up, filled out a questionnaire about preferences (including whether we would be willing to eat homemade food from a virtual stranger), allergies, etc. and were matched up with a name. The responses from the name I was assigned are funny and reminded me of this recipe.

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Toasted seeds and nuts

I have made this before. But like many recipes, I tried it when I first got the cookbook. Then when the novelty of the book wore off, I put it on the shelf and forgot about it.

I really need to go through this book and make some of these things.

Usually when I make this, I do a half batch. So that’s what I’m including below. Depending on how you cut them, you can get 30-50 pieces from the half batch. They are small, but then you can have more than one piece, or can try something else off the dessert tray. They have a nutty flavor that’s only lightly sweet, and are a great little tidbit to include on a cheese tray. Making smaller batches means you can make a couple of variations, trying different nuts and seasonings, without ending up with candy for weeks.

If you live near a store with a good bulk foods department, check it out for some of the ingredients. They can be pricey at standard mega-marts. Middle Eastern groceries are a good source for inexpensive sesame seeds, too.

A word of warning: this stuff gets HOT. The oils in the nuts and seeds come out during toasting and can burn if you’re not careful pouring them into the mixing bowl. And molten honey not only burns, it sticks.

Sesame Candy

Yield: 30-50 pieces

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Ingredients. Pepitas instead of sunflower seeds.

1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds (also known as sunflower kernels)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional; include if you like salty/sweet or if you use unsalted nuts and kernels)

Heat oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast sesame seeds in pan for 5 minutes. Add coconut, nuts and sunflower seeds.

Return pan to oven and toast, stirring frequently, until ingredients are golden brown, approximately 12-15 minutes. (If the mixture starts smelling burnt, it is. Start over.)

In a saucepan, combine honey and dry milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until dry ingredients are completely coated.

Press firmly into 10″ x 7″ baking pan, using plastic wrap or parchment paper as the mixture is quite sticky.

Cool at least 30 minutes in refrigerator. Cut into small squares, separating them.

NOTES:

  • I have made this with chopped or small dried fruit (chopped dried apricots, dried cherries) when I didn’t have sunflower seeds. The fruit adds some bright tartness and textural variety.
  • You may substitute shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for the sunflower seeds.
  • Instead of salt, try seasoning with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or even a tiny dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Use a smaller pan (9″ x 5″ loaf pan) to get thicker candies.
  • Line the pan with an oversized piece of parchment when you toast the seeds and nuts, and you can lift it off to pour them into your mixing bowl.
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