The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison. -Ann Wigmore
I have been hesitating to write this post for some time now. I certainly didn’t want to publish it before Halloween lest I rain on somebody’s parade. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. Especially now that I have children, it’s even more special. My only issue lies with the candy part of it. I know, it’s candy, it’s not meant to be healthy. But have you looked at exactly what the candy of today is made with? It’s beyond my comprehension that this is what we give our children … as a treat … and in copious amounts to boot. What message are we sending out?
This year, as in the past, I bartered most of what was collected for homemade candy and cookies.
Sesame seed candy is an ancient candy, originating over 6000 years ago. Interestingly, it didn’t start off as a candy. It’s actually the predecessor of the present day energy bar, made with nothing more than honey and sesame seeds, it was eaten by Greek warriors before a battle as an energy boost. These ancient Greeks were not too far off; sesame seeds are a superfood and have many health benefits. Can you believe that? A candy that is actually healthy!
Today, there exist different versions of this candy in various cuisines, some using maple syrup or jaggery instead of honey, some including nuts and spices. It can be made flat or shaped into a bar or a ball.
I usually follow the traditional Indian recipe which uses jaggery but because I am not so fond of too sweet, I have a special third ingredient. I use tahini to compensate for using a lower jaggery to sesame seed ratio. Okay, so really tahini is just ground sesame seed so it’s not really a third ingredient but it does the trick to help hold the seeds together while reducing the sweetness and without adding an additional flavour.
Sesame Seed Candy with Tahini
- 150 g or 1 cup sesame seeds
- 75 g or 1/2 cup jaggery, finely chopped
- 140 g or 1/2 cup tahini*
- Dry roast sesame seeds in a skillet over low heat for about 5 minutes until they are fragrant and a shade darker in colour. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- In a large saucepan over low heat, add the jaggery and the tahini, stirring constantly until the jaggery is melted and the two are well blended. You will get a mixture closely resembling peanut butter. Turn off the heat.
- Add the toasted sesame seeds to the tahini-jaggery mixture and stir to mix completely.
- At this point, you can roll the mixture into balls (wait for it to cool a bit to prevent burning your hands) or you can roll the mixture out between two sheets of parchment paper and cut into bite-size pieces once it is cooled or you can simply leave it as a crumb-like mixture (to top over ice cream or yogurt or add to granola).
- Cool to room temperature before storing.
*If tahini has separated, pulse the solid part and the oil in a processor until smooth before measuring.