Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
lizztwozee

Sesame Candy

Recommended Posts

Greetings, pastry chefs! A middle eastern deli in my town sells a sesame and dried fruit/nut candy that is pure heaven. It's not rock-hard or brittle, like some asian sesame/sugar candies I've had, but chewy at room temperature, and made with what looks like some kind of sugar syrup, tons of sesame seeds, dried fruit and nut bits held in the candy by the sugar "glue", and set in a sheet pan as a mold, then cut into soft sticks. I've peppered the owner with questions, if he's about, and he says he uses Karo syrup (it's very lightly sweet, almost not sweet enough), brought to the boil, simmered, then combined with hot toasted sesame seeds, and dried fruit bits and nuts. So in trying to recreate the recipe, do you think the syrup is brought to a specific temperature, and that the heat from the sesame seeds needs to be accounted for? Since it's a candy product, I'm guessing we have to be kinda accurate, although the owner of the shop seems kinda "loosey goosey"! Maybe he's guarding the secret carefully, I dunno. Any thoughts?


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lizztwozee,

I was stunned to read your letter. I have been trying for years to find, without success, a Chinese sesame candy. Even tried the Asian candy threads in eGullet.

Mine was a bit different. It was chewy, but flavored with oriental toasted sesame oil. So very different from anyone I had ever tasted before. I never even got one reply to my question.

Perhaps you'll be more lucky and perhaps this thread will also lead to my need. I too tried all sorts of Asian folk with no luck.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never had it, but sounds very interesting! I'd harbor to guess the seed temp wouldn't effect the mixture. Sugar gets its formation as it cools, and I don't think the toasted seeds would be hotter than simmering corn syrup. I'd guess you could just toast the seeds in advance, and the temp of them wouldn't have any impact on the candy. I make an Asian take on Buffalo Sponge Candy, and Ive used both fresh from the oven toasted seeds and ones that I toasted a week prior and there was no side effect to taste, form, or texture in either case.


"It only hurts if it bites you" - Steve Irwin

"Whats another word for Thesaurus?" - Me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cannot tell you specifics, but this sounds like a variation on peanut brittle theory.

Corn syrup will turn into a hard sugar if cooked until all the water leaves it, so, I'd guess that you want to get it to at least 250°. When boiling sugar syrup, the boil usually stalls around 230° for a bit as water leaves the mix.

Is the sugar base clear or brown? This will tell you if you need to take it to caramel temperatures.

Are you certain that the seeds are toasted first? When making peanut brittle, it's more common to add the nuts at 250° and allow them to cook in the sugar, adding a richer flavor.

I would also be a bit nervous about the dry fruit. It can absorb some moisture and is probably what brings this mix together, but, I would be afraid of burning it.

I'd just make a small test batch and see. If it doesn't work out, what have you lost -a cup of syrup and some sesame and fruit?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like it might be a version of Sukaryiot Soomsoom, which is typically made with honey, and may have some corn syrup added to make it chewy rather than crunchy. I would venture the guess that the dried fruit is stirred in after the pot has been off the heat for a few minutes, or perhaps even spread on the pan with the syrup poured over it.


Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great information, all! I'll be using your tips this weekend to experiment. Maybe you'll see some pictures, if I can wangle the darn camera. I'm a cook, not a photographer, that's for sure.

The candy sugar emulsion is not carmelized, as the product is uniformly light colored. Come to think of it, the seeds don't look toasted at all -- they have no brown edges that I can see; they're light colored throughout. The fruit and nuts are scarcely studded in there, so I'm guessing they don't affect the moisture level. I'll try bringing the karo syrup up to 250, and stir in the accoutrements, and see what happens.

Here's a recipe I googled to find "sesame candy". It looks like the honey, brown sugar and spices are just briefly boiled (2 min. according to the rec), but that it yields a stiff product, that needs to be scored while hot, then broken apart, like brittle. Maybe the Karo is less sugary and thus doesn't get so stiff? Here are the proportions:

* 2 cups sesame seeds

* 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, optional

* 1/2 cup honey

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Experimentation to come!

Lizz


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great information, all! I'll be using your tips this weekend to experiment. Maybe you'll see some pictures, if I can wangle the darn camera. I'm a cook, not a photographer, that's for sure.

The candy sugar emulsion is not carmelized, as the product is uniformly light colored. Come to think of it, the seeds don't look toasted at all -- they have no brown edges that I can see; they're light colored throughout. The fruit and nuts are scarcely studded in there, so I'm guessing they don't affect the moisture level. I'll try bringing the karo syrup up to 250, and stir in the accoutrements, and see what happens.

Here's a recipe I googled to find "sesame candy". It looks like the honey, brown sugar and spices are just briefly boiled (2 min. according to the rec), but that it yields a stiff product, that needs to be scored while hot, then broken apart, like brittle. Maybe the Karo is less sugary and thus doesn't get so stiff? Here are the proportions:

* 2 cups sesame seeds

* 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, optional

* 1/2 cup honey

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoon table salt

Experimentation to come!

Lizz

Perhaps one of your experiments could be to cook the sugar to a specific temperature, say "firm ball" instead of by time. I'm sure the combination of honey and brown sugar will give you the color, but the question is will the appropriate amount of water cook out at that temp?


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason why the Karo isn't as stiff is because it's a different type of sugar. It's primarily water and glucose. Glucose helps prevent sugar recrystallization.

Honey is 38% fructose and 31% glucose, plus 17% water. Fructose is famous for adding moisture to baked goods and is very hygroscopic.

If your source doesn't use sugar, brown or otherwise, I'd advise against it. My suspicion is that he is using a mix of honey and corn syrup and that syrup is there to boost the glucose level. This has two main functions, soft texture and less sweetness. (fructose is super-sweet and the reason why honey candies can be tooth-achingly sweet)

I think that the results will depend primarily on how high the temperature gets, partly because at lower temps you may still have some moisture in the mix, but at higher temps any crystals will be dissolved and/or suspended in glucose.

I agree with adding the fruit once the pot is off the fire.

Let us know how it turns out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings, all. Today's candy experiment results: candy good, camera bad! How was I to know that spending $20 on Craigslist for a digital camera would yield only a few photos before making true the old adage, "you get what you pay for"? Maybe age and maturity should have done the trick, but in this case, it fell to the ground. Similar the area just under my chin.

OK, enough silliness! The candy was a smashing success! Thanks in most part to my egullet advisors, thanks all. I halved the recipe posted previously, substituted karo syrup for the brown sugar, and stirred in dried fruit and nut bits after the syrup had come off the heat, having reached a temperature of 247F. The syrup was just enough to coat the sesame seeds and almost the same quantity of garnishes (in this case chopped raw cashews, figs and pistachios), then conveniently cooled it down enough to press into a greased pan. The candy could then be turned out of the pan while warm in about 5 minutes, and cut into squares. Lovely, and delicious!! If I only had a picture!

The texture was PERFECT. Soft and chewy, and just lightly sweet. I would either increase the honey proportion, or maybe even add a bit of brown sugar, as I think it is too lightly sweet; maybe the additional sugar could be compensated for by lowering the final temperature of the syrup. I'm psyched to try some other flavorings as well. This recipe, having ginger and cinnamon as the spice, gave the candy a slight aroma, which matched well with the honey, which was just a bit apparent, but if I didn't know it was in the candy, I might not have guessed. They were all nicely invisible flavors, and kept the candy from being too bland. I'd love to try some rosewater, or extracts, during my next foray into the land of Food That is Photographed Properly with a Camera That Wasn't Purchased by a Cheap Person. Thanks, all!


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, exactly! My proportion was almost 1-1 of sesame seeds and garnishes, and yes, it did kinda look like an energy bar.


Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings, all. Today's candy experiment results: candy good, camera bad! How was I to know that spending $20 on Craigslist for a digital camera would yield only a few photos before making true the old adage, "you get what you pay for"? Maybe age and maturity should have done the trick, but in this case, it fell to the ground. Similar the area just under my chin.

OK, enough silliness! The candy was a smashing success! Thanks in most part to my egullet advisors, thanks all. I halved the recipe posted previously, substituted karo syrup for the brown sugar, and stirred in dried fruit and nut bits after the syrup had come off the heat, having reached a temperature of 247F. The syrup was just enough to coat the sesame seeds and almost the same quantity of garnishes (in this case chopped raw cashews, figs and pistachios), then conveniently cooled it down enough to press into a greased pan. The candy could then be turned out of the pan while warm in about 5 minutes, and cut into squares. Lovely, and delicious!! If I only had a picture!

The texture was PERFECT. Soft and chewy, and just lightly sweet. I would either increase the honey proportion, or maybe even add a bit of brown sugar, as I think it is too lightly sweet; maybe the additional sugar could be compensated for by lowering the final temperature of the syrup. I'm psyched to try some other flavorings as well. This recipe, having ginger and cinnamon as the spice, gave the candy a slight aroma, which matched well with the honey, which was just a bit apparent, but if I didn't know it was in the candy, I might not have guessed. They were all nicely invisible flavors, and kept the candy from being too bland. I'd love to try some rosewater, or extracts, during my next foray into the land of Food That is Photographed Properly with a Camera That Wasn't Purchased by a Cheap Person. Thanks, all!

Did you need to make any changes to the formula or method? Do tell!


Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...