Sesame Brittle

My mother and I share a secret (well maybe not so secret) indulgence. Sesame brittle. Our local health food store almost always has it available, and sometimes we’ll make a trip to that store to buy whatever, it doesn’t matter, the real reason is to satisfy a hankering for sesame brittle.

Now that I’ve discovered how easy it is to make, I think mom and I are doomed.

Before, we at least had to make the effort to drive a few miles to get our fix. Sigh. Well at least I’ll have someone to share it with when I make a batch!

Speaking of which, this must be one of the easiest things in the world to make. All you really need is raw sesame seeds, sugar, and honey. A pinch of salt will add a little sparkle, as will a little nutmeg, butter and vanilla. A little baking soda will help create tiny pockets of air, making the brittle a little lighter. You can easily make a batch in less than 15 minutes, with maybe another 15 or 20 to cool. You don’t even have to toast the sesame seeds first. Cooking them in the honey and sugar will brown them sufficiently.

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 10 ounces of brittle.

Adding a small amount of baking soda to the hot mixture right before pouring it out will cause the mixture to foam up a bit, as the baking soda reacts with the acid from the caramelization of the sugar. This creates bubbles of carbon dioxide which helps produce a slightly lighter, more porous texture for the brittle, making it easier to eat.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

Method

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1 Put the sugar, honey, salt, nutmeg, and water into a small (1 1/2 quart), thick-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium heat and stir until a smooth slurry is formed. Stir in the raw sesame seeds.

2 Cook the sesame seed mixture, stirring often, until the mixture turns an amber caramel color, about 5 to 10 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer, the temp should be 300°F. At this point, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Once the butter has completely melted into the mixture, stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up a bit after you stir in the baking soda, as the baking soda reacts with the acid from the caramelization of the sugar.

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3 Pour the mixture out onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet. (If you don't have Silpat, no worries, pour directly onto a buttered metal baking sheet and use a metal spatula to separate brittle from the pan once cooled.) Once completely cooled and hardened (about 15-20 minutes), break into pieces.

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