Friday, September 13, 2013

Easy Sesame Candy

Easy Sesame Candy

I love Middle Eastern food including the candy. According to second edition of the Food Lover's Companion our friend the sesame seed is the first recorded seasoning in history, dating back to 3000 B.C. Assyria. Assyria, I believe, is modern day (northern) Iraq.  Which would explain why you find packaged sesame candies in Middle Eastern markets. With seeds, nuts and honey this is a pretty nutritious candy, super tasty, and really easy to make. 

A few tips:
1.  This sesame candy will keep for several days if wrapped up or put in an air tight container.

2. Pastelli traditionally uses pistachios but any nut you have on hand will work well in the candy. I honestly don't think I have ever used pistachios they are always too dang expensive when I go to buy them. I usually use almonds and/or walnuts.

3. If you happen to turn your back and accidentally toast the sesame seeds for too long on the first step, simply transfer them to a plate while you melt the sugar with the nuts. Return the seeds to the pan when you add the honey.

4. You can find sesame seeds in Middle Eastern markets, the bulk section of your market or co-op, or in jars in the Asian section of the market.

Easy Sesame Candy

Easy Sesame Candy

Coconut or vegetable oil for the pan
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup shelled and roughly chopped nuts, pistachios are traditional
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey

Lightly oil a wooden spoon and a 9"x6" pan.

Place the sesame seeds and nuts in a nonstick skillet and toast them lightly over low heat just until they start to take on a deeper color. Be careful, low and slow here is the key. The seeds will continue to toast during the next several steps so you don't want to over do it on the first step. (See tip 3 above if you over do it.)

Add the sugar to the seeds and nuts in the skillet. Cook over low heat until the sugar melts and takes on a slight golden color. Don't stir, just give the pan a few shakes.

Add the honey to the skillet. Quickly stir the honey into the sesame seeds and nuts. Mix until the candy becomes sticky and thick. Scrape the mixture into the oiled pan and flatten it with the back of an oiled wooden spoon.

Let the candy cool for just a few minutes, turn it out onto a cutting board, and cut into small rectangles. Don't wait too long or it will be too hard to cut and you won't be able to have the cute little rectangles of candy and feel fancy and continental.

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