Marc’s halvah post had me contemplating sesame seeds. I have always really enjoyed the flavor of sesame seeds and am fascinated by their versatility in both sweet and savoy dishes. My personal preferences generally categorize certain flavors and seasonings as sweet or savory and never the twain shall meet, but sesame I like in a variety of forms. One of my favorites is in sesame candy. My first exposure to it was the packaged variety from the Brooklyn based kosher candy maker Jovya. (they also make packaged halva and an odd array of kosher marshmallow product) Later I discovered an almost identical treat in Asian grocery stores. In general, every country on the Asian continent and around the Mediterranean has a recipe for sesame seed candy, all of which call for sesame seeds and some form of sugar to be cooked, cooled, and cut. (Indians call it Til Gajak, the Greeks, Pastelli and of course, Sukariyot Soomsoom in Hebrew) This isn’t surprising given that sesame seeds are one of the world’s oldest know condiments and have been incorporated, in someway, into most cuisines. Additionally, sesame seed have high nutritional content, being a good source of fiber, protein, iron, and calcium. This way you can almost claim that this is a healthy candy…and it is incredibly easy to make and allows me to use more of my honey. These candies are a particular favorite among the Sephardim, and Israelis, as a Hanukkah treat.
recipe after the jump