After a most enjoyable pretty spicy week, Friday evening called for something sweet. As always in the evening, it also called for something that was going to be fairly quick to make.
A trip to a local biscuit shop earlier in the week got me thinking about making Sesame Crisps (flat brittle) like they had on their shelves, and how lucky it was that mom and I had decided it was time to use the jar of sesame seeds we’ve had for a little while. So, Sesame Crisps it was.
The ingredients in the store-bought version seemed delightfully simple (and preservative, colourant and fancy coded element free) and this simplicity was confirmed through my internet research for an appropriate recipe.
While there were simpler recipes, with fewer ingredients, I settled on this one from Simply Recipes (a nice touch of irony!). It contained a very similar ingredient list to that of the store, and also didn’t require pre-toasting of the sesame seeds, which seemed a nice added bonus for effort saving. The inclusion of butter in the mixture also added a different dimension to my regular sugar-only brittle and I knew it would produce a nice variation in texture.
Mum and I are both not overly-fond of a strong taste of honey so, although it is a healthier option, I decided not to use the honey recommended. Instead, I opted for our preferred golden syrup. I also didn’t use any nutmeg, as it too is not a favourite flavour (only the tiniest amount in spiced cakes, biscotti and muffins).
I chose to make mine flat, spreading it to a single layer of sesame seeds, as I wanted the “crisp” effect rather than thicker “brittle” of the recipe. Doing so resulted in a nice sized batch of 49 squares.
¼ cup golden syrup
1 Tbsp water
Pinch of salt (1/8 of a tsp)
1 cup raw sesame seeds
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp margarine
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Baking tray (24cm x 24cm)
Small pot (1½ – 2l)
Non-serrated sharp knife
Spray the baking tray well with the non-stick spray (don’t forget to spray the sides as well)
- Place the sugar, syrup, water and salt in the pot and heat on medium (number 3), stirring till the sugar melts and the mixture is thick and smooth. (Note: the sugar does not have to be completely melted and clear, the ingredients just have to be combined well and no longer separable).
- When the mixture is the amber colour above, add the sesame seeds. Stir to combine.
- Place the candy thermometer in the pot, and cook until the temperature reaches 150C (300F). Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. (The recipe said this takes about 5 to 10 minutes. It actually took closer to 15 minutes). As the mixture nears this temperature (from about 120C/ 250F) it starts bubbling (boiling) with bigger bubbles.
- **Here’s a great tip I picked up reading through all the different recipes on the net: While the mixture is cooking, and nearing the required temperature, place the baking tray in a warm oven for a few minutes. This will heat the tray, and make it much easier to spread the mixture in it. It is coolness (of air and surface) that causes any sugar-based mixture to set, and a cool tray makes spreading a setting mixture pretty tricky. This is a tip I wish I’d read ages ago!**
- When the mixture reaches 150C (300F), remove the pot from the heat.
- Add the vanilla essence and margarine and stir well.
- When the margarine has melted completely, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir well. You’ll notice a bit of foaming as the bicarb aerates the mixture. (Unfortunately, no photos here – due to some previous photographic adventures, my camera informed me at this point: “Battery Exhausted”)
- Pour the mixture into the prepared (warmed) baking tray and spread to the desired thickness.
- Let the mixture set for a few minutes, and then score the desired size pieces with a non-serrated knife, sprayed with non-stick spray. (This makes it easier to break when fully set. After setting, though, I found I wanted to cut each square in half so that a whole piece could be popped in your mouth at once. This sweet is slightly softer than pure brittle and I was still able to score the set mixture and break the squares along the score-line.)
- Leave to set for at least 30 minutes.
- When set, loosen from the tray (a quick twist to the tray does the trick). Break along the scored lines.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Keep an eye on dad, as there may not be any left by the next day!