It all started with a little pack of Sesame Snaps. I picked them up from the international market last weekend, and once at home I nibbled on them as I prepared lunch. They were ever so subtly sweet, and packed with nutty sesame flavor. I was instantly smitten. The next step was obvious, I had to figure out how to make my own.
Before I continue with the candy recipe, I'd like to digress for only a moment...yes, that's a macaron you see. I have made them yet again. But with good reason. I recently picked up the "I love macarons" paperback and I want to share a picture from the book that may be helpful for macaron making.
But first, the candy.
For this recipe, you'll need a 12 oz. package (roughly 2 cups) of white sesame seeds, and 4 tsp. black sesame seeds (plus a little extra black if you embellish them as I did). I'd suggest buying these at your local Asian market. The packages sold in regular grocery stores are much more expensive. I paid .99 cents for the white sesame, and $1.50 for the black.
This candy comes together quickly, so you will be working very fast. There are a few things you should have at the ready before starting:
- A well greased/sprayed cookie sheet and/or silicone mold. I used a spray bottle of canola oil, and it made this process so much easier!
- A sheet of parchment, greased on one side. You'll use this to press your candy into the cookie sheet or mold.
- A greased rubber spatula.
- A metal fork.
- Toasted and measured sesame seeds.
Be careful when toasting your sesame seeds. Over-toasting can make them very bitter. Use your nose for this one. The color change will be slight, and you should remove them from the heat when they become fragrant. If you have a cast iron oven, I would suggest using it for boiling the candy mixture, which is just brown sugar and honey. You can also add cinnamon or ground ginger to give the candy some flavor interest.
The brown sugar and honey make a perfect "shellac" for the sesame seeds. I think these are so pretty! As you can see I used the Wilton Brownie Bites pan as a mold. I first poured the hot candy mixture onto the greased cookie sheet, then pressed it down a bit with the parchment. With a metal fork, I picked up small pieces of the candy and transferred it to the mold. You can press the candy into the molds with smaller piece of greased parchment, or if the candy is cool enough you can use your fingers. The candy will harden to a slightly chewy but still crunchy texture.
Of course I had to add extra embellishment. You know me, if there's ever a lily around to gild, I'll be there with my paintbrush. I added a white chocolate stripe and sprinkled on black sesame seeds.
I just had to sneak in a few more macarons. I couldn't help myself. Especially after picking up this book!
It is informative, and overall, just darn cute. It's a thinnish paperback that gives tips and pointers - even macaron lexicon, which I never knew existed.
Hmm, not really sure that will help my macaron making. But okay.
The picture below is what I found most helpful. It gives you an idea of the consistency your batter should have just before putting it in your piping bag - not runny like cake batter, but a bit heavier and folding into large thick ribbons in the bowl.
I was happy to see that the book held a recipe for sesame shells. I have a large amount of black sesame left over from candy making. The recipe differs slightly from my tried and true version. I didn't want to mess with a good thing, so I just used the suggested additives to the recipe I already use.
I filled them with melted dark chocolate and they were excellent! I'll mention again, the shell recipe I use is HERE, and I stand behind it. Totally.
There are lots of great recipe variations and information in this book. It even has recipes in the back for left-over egg yolks. Pretty neat!
Plus it's just charming...
....and cute. Just, too cute.