Sesame 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.

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

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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Comments

  • Mary

    Whats 300F in Celsius? I would be pleased with any answer, thank you.
    Mary

    • Elise Bauer

      300 F is about 150 C. You can always just Google it if you are looking for a conversion. In the Google search window type “300 f in c” and it will give you the answer.

  • Joeline

    If you wonder why it is crunchy… that is a result of adding sugar. There are recipes out there that do not use sugar and those sesame bars will be softly chewy. Personally, I do not like them soft. The basic recipe for these only requires sesame seeds, honey and sugar… you can then add anything you like. My favorite is to make the basic recipe then add dried cranberries and almonds. Add the almonds with the sesame seeds so they can toast along then add the cranberries (or other dried fruit) just before turning out on the cooling surface. This really is a very forgiving candy so you can experiment with it.

  • Veronica Borthwick

    i can not eat honey what could i use in stead would glucose work

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Veronica, I haven’t tried making it without the honey. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you.

  • Abeer

    Hi Elise
    Just made the recipe , it was easy and good but a bit hard.
    Do you know why ?

  • Rachel

    I just made this and it is very gooey after sitting for hours. I read that it’s most likely because I didn’t get it hot enough. Do you think I can stick it back in the pan and heat it up again or is it too late for that? Thank you

    • Elise

      Hi Rachel, if it is still gooey, it probably needs to cook more. You can try sticking it back in the pan and heating it up again. Or maybe you could put it in a pyrex or ceramic bowl and microwave it. You’ll have more control on the stovetop though.

  • sigrid lewis

    umm not to sound stupid but where can I easily find raw sesame seed? does it come in bulk so I can make batches of this brittle for xmas gifts? I live very rural and have to travel 25 miles to nearest store so I dont have the option of shopping around too easily

    • Elise

      You might try ordering it online.

    • NYPJ

      Bob’s Red Mill has excellent sesame seeds. I’ve been using them for a long time. Ocean State Job Lot and many grocery stores carry it, and it can also be ordered online.

  • Tim Maddox

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I wanted a healthier candy alternative for my kids. The recipe was very inexpensive to make and extremely easy. I was initially worried that the mixture would stick to the pot and utensils but after soaking in cold water for 15 minutes everything washed right off. I will assuredly be making this recipe again and again, the kids loved it. Oh yes, it tasted fantastic..

  • Dina

    Hello! Is the brittle too hard for a 3 year old to eat?

    • Elise

      Great question. I don’t know! I don’t have much experience with what is appropriate to feed a 3 year old.

  • Laura

    I made this with toasted sesame seeds, so I tried the suggestion of cooking first, then adding the sesame seeds THEN the baking soda. Not gonna happen. As soon as I poured the sesame seeds in, I had a mass of seeds. There was literally no way to add baking soda. I dumped it onto my lightly sprayed parchment paper, and thought, “uh oh!” I grabbed the rolling pin and went to work! Save! I got it thin, and it must have been sufficiently cooked, because when it cooled, it crisped right up! Delicious. I’ll put the soda in before the seeds next time.

  • Saba

    Hi there…just made it,although some distraction of my kids made me pour around 2tbsps of water while caramelisation was on. Yet i am glad it didn’t mess up. The thing is ryt now getting cooled on aluminium foil sheet,and i have already eaten up 1/4th of the mixture before it even became brittle…ha ha..
    Its a wonderful recipe, thank u..!!

  • Nikki

    Hi, I’d like to know if it works without butter as I’m allergic to dairy. Someone mentioned they would try making it with tahini and I wondered how this turned out. Thanks.

    • Rachel

      Hi Nikki
      I’ve just made this with dairy-free butter and it tastes great! I used ‘Pure’ Sunflower dairy free butter (UK) but I’m guessing any would work. Haven’t tried it with tahini.

  • Neni

    I too do not have Silpat to line my pan. So I did as suggested, poured
    Into a metal baking cookie sheet. This was a BIG mistake. It took
    One hour to pry it off pan in pieces with knives …a spatula didnt phase it
    For removal! If you had suggested buttering the pan first. I think the
    Removal would have been a snap!

    • Elise

      Hi Neni, When I tried this directly on my baking sheets I had no problem lifting up the brittle with a metal spatula. But just in case, I’ve added your suggestion of buttering the pan first. Thanks!

  • mygeisha

    I made it and it turned out yummy. I omited the nutmeg and added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.judt the right amount of spice.

  • Elise

    My recipe indicates 300 degrees, not 240. You need it to get to 300 or your melted sugar will not get to the state that will result in a “brittle” brittle.

  • Denise

    I wanted to add peanuts (sesame seeds and peanuts combined. My recipe for peanut brittle says to cook to 300-degrees, but this one says 240. Otherwise the recipes are similar. What temperature is best and why? Thanks for your help.

  • Stacey

    Hi, I just thought I’d share a variation of this that I “discovered” after following my grandmother’s instructions.

    She knows all her recipes by heart so she left out several steps assuming I would automatically know what to do. I end up with a crumbly mess. It was a disaster but I couldn’t throw it out so I tried sprinkling a little on some plain yogurt. That’s how I discovered a gluten-free substitute for granola. (I’m gluten intolerant).

    Although, I’ve since made it the ‘right’ way, I also still make it the ‘wrong’ way: I toast the seeds first (sometimes I add almond slivers too). I then melt down the sugar in a sauce pan but only for 2-3 minutes (I often add cinnamon or ginger at this point). I stir in the sesame seeds, take it off the stove almost immediately and spread it out on a baking sheet. Once it cools in the fridge, it literally falls apart into small pieces. I keep it in the fridge and use it as need.

    I now realize this happens because I haven’t carmelized the sugar and I basically have sugar-coated sesame seeds; hardly a discovery but my ‘accident’ ends up sprinkled on vanilla ice cream or fresh berries, especially pomegranate, and of course, plain yogurt.

  • Alli

    I’m tempted to make this. I’m not a huge fan of sesame seeds but could I swap the sesame seeds with almonds or peanuts?

    • Elise

      It should work. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

      • Alli

        Came out great.

  • Sarah

    Absolutely perfect! I used to have these little candies as a child and I have always loved them. Your recipe is wonderful, maybe even better, because of the addition of the baking soda. Thank you for the brilliant idea. I whipped these up tonight and they totally hit the spot.

  • Amber

    This candy was fantastic, Elise! I’m a fan of brittle, but had never tasted it with sesame before. I love how they get the spotlight here, allowing you to really experience their nutty flavor.

  • WileyP

    What a wonderful treat! This recipe makes about 3/4 pound of golden decadence, nutty, not-too-sweet and easy to break or bite off. Not only that, but it is easy and quick to make! I don’t have a silpat, but used parchment to prevent sticking to the cookie sheet. Worked fine.

  • Leo

    I made this last night and it was super tasty! I made the mistake of cutting it into little pieces and putting it in a tupperware…and by today it has become a giant mass of sticky brittle pieces. Is there a way to salvage this? Should I try to re-melt it in the pot?

  • Coriannder

    I was so inspired after reading this recipe I jumped out of bed at 10pm and made it in my pyjamas. It’s just cooling now. I sprinkled a little bit of fleur de sel on top because I love that salty/sweet combo (and skipped the salt in the brittle itself).

    Can’t wait to try it… and then make it again with some interesting spices, maybe even sunflower seeds!

    Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Kat

    This recipe is great! I made it for my students and we all really loved it. If I want to make it for a vegan friend, do you think coconut oil or olive oil would work in place of butter?

    I don’t know about those substitutions. I do know you can leave out the butter entirely if you want. ~Elise

  • Ana

    I’ve just tried this récipe, and it worked really well!

  • Debra

    This is a traditional sweet here in Greece. When people ask what gift they should take to friends and family this is one I recommend. It is addicting. :) Thank you for sharing your recipe. I am going to make some.

  • Nancy M

    Could this be made with flax or chia seeds instead of sesame?

    No idea. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Edith

    This recipe was super-easy and yielded a delicious snack for the family. Thank you for another keeper. This is a great alternative to peanut brittle for those with nut allergies.

  • Jen

    mine hasn’t hardened yet. it’s been about 40 mins. maybe i didn’t get it up to the right temperature? any ideas?

    Sounds like you did not get it hot enough. One surefire way to tell is if you take your stirring spoon and run it under cold water. If the candy hardens on the spoon, it will harden when you pour it out and it cools. ~Elise

    • Anita

      Another great tip……take a drop of the sugar and drop into cold water……it takes a while to reach “crack” stage without a thermometer.

  • Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    The pastry chef at Olympic Provisions SE in Portland, OR made this as part of the dessert for the Japanese Farm Food dinner they staged there earlier this fall. She preheated the cookie sheet in an oven to help spread the brittle more evenly. I thought that very inventive.

  • Ri

    In India we call this Chikki. Its a healthier alternative as it is made of Jaggery & not sugar. Jaggery + Sesame seeds / Jaggery + Peanuts & many more varieties. I like it thin so the best way is to roll it when it is hot. I like the nutmeg addition in yours. Thanks.

    • Aileen

      Ladies:
      How much Jaggery would you use in place of the refined sugar?
      Thanks

  • Sheetal Goel

    Hey Elise! There’s a version of this (minus the vanilla) found in India called Til Ki Chikki (means the same – Sesame Brittle). Also made in the form of laddoos (1 inch sized balls) where you replace the sugar with jaggery, and add chopped cashews in with the sesame. Yum yum!

  • Caroline

    Whipped up a batch this evening– it was so simple and the baking soda trick was really neat.

    Now I’m dreaming up variations. Maybe next time I’ll try it with ginger and five spice powder, or with nut butter or tahini stirred in instead of the butter. At any rate I think this will be a great thing to make and give to people during the holidays…assuming I can keep myself from eating it all.

  • Uma

    As someone else already mentioned this is a common sweet in India (chikki/tilgul are common names), except it’s made with raw sugar (jaggery) which tastes much better than refined sugar and has a better texture in my opinion. Something you might like to try too :) Raw sugar is available in little blocks in most Indian stores in the US. Now I need to go and make some.

  • Kevin

    Not to sound ignorant but can this be made with splenda instead of sugar. Don’t know if this will carmelize like sugar does. since I am diabetic I would love to see if this is possible.

    Thanks

    No, I don’t think it will work. Caramelization requires sugar. ~Elise

    • Shounak

      Tried with splenda-brownsugar blend (need half as much as regular sugar) Came out okay.

  • Robin

    These sounded so good, that I had to make them this morning. They are super easy to make! I used parchment paper and had no problem with sticking. The only problem I ran into was trying to STOP eating them! Thank you for such a simple and very tasty recipe!

  • Paula

    Hi Elise,

    In India we call it as “TILGUL”. You can replace sugar and honey with jaggery. We also add peanuts and dry coconut to the seasme mixture.

  • Su--Zanne

    We make peanut and nut brittle every year and this will just be another great recipe to add to the collection. As for clean up you can also use parchment paper, but it’s always been pretty easy to clean up without. If there are sticky bits, just soak with water and it will dissolve after a few minutes (I use a sponge soaked in water and leave it on the stove top when I’ve boiled over and it comes off completely as well).

  • Sarah

    Genius, I tell you. Since we went vegan, I am constantly looking for ways to get my husband to eat more nuts and seeds. Hiding them in a sugary treat is such a sneaky wonderful idea. Making this tonight! Wonder if it would work with broccoli…

  • Susie

    can you use toasted seeds if you already have those or is that too much?

    Yes, just add them after the sugar honey mixture has already caramelized. ~Elise

  • Mary Jo

    Yum! I can’t wait to make this. I recently bought Bumble Bars (very similar to this) and love them but they’re not cheap. Thank you!

  • MikeC

    One thing holding me back here not being much into candy making & such – it sounds a little messy to get that off a baking sheet – I’m guessing that wax paper would not work as it will melt & stick? what about spraying the baking sheet with oil first? or dusting with flour? Just looking to avoid another trip to the cooking supply store for silpat lining… something I don’t have much call for.. but I will get if that’s the best option…

    I’ve made it also just on a shiny clean aluminum baking pan without any mess. If you are concerned, as the mixture cools to the touch, but is still pliable, lift up the edges from the pan. I’ve also made this pouring it out onto parchment paper, and for that method you definitely need to lift the edges of the mixture and remove the paper while the candy is still pliable. ~Elise

  • Tina

    This recipe is similar to one my mom used to make at Christmas, only she used to cut it into candy sized bars and she put orange zest in it. I always thought it was an Italian tradition. It used to be one of my favorite things, growing up. Thanks for posting this, I never got Mom’s recipe and now I can make it after all these years.

  • Anu

    Indulge !!! Forget the guilt. Sesame seeds are very good for you. The little seeds are full of calcium.

  • ellina

    Hello Elise! In Greece this is called “pasteli” and can be found virtually anywhere. Super-markets, kiosks, mini markets, anywhere I tell you! And it used to be the standard treat grandparents gave to their grandchildren before the mass invasion of ready made cookies and chocolate. I will be trying my hand at this today, thank you!

  • Harley

    Are there any adjustments that one could make to prepare this with roasted sesame seeds? I’ve got an abundance of those. Otherwise I’ll have to go seek out raw ones.

    Yes, this is what I would try: cook the sugar and honey until they are amber colored, and then remove from heat, stir in the butter, and then the sesame seeds and vanilla, and then the baking soda. ~Elise

  • Caroline

    You can also pick up sesame brittle at the local Chinese food mart. Choose from white or black sesame seeds, and the brittle is pressed extra thin for crispiness.

  • Lori

    Be still my heart; I LOVE this brittle! It is phenomenal.