Sesame Seed Brittle

  photo WP_20161007_008_e_zpsn8xhqqps.jpgBe prepared for multiple descriptions of “caramel coloured” none of which will help. Probably.

Over-sharing moment incoming. I ended up hurting my gums eating this. After my wisdom teeth removal, a really lengthy surgery, I’ve had trouble with hard candy. I love hard candies, I love chewing them. So, sometimes brain forgets that I can’t do that any more, I’ve been good, I’ve given up a lot, story of my life therein, so I make this, eat some of it and my face hurts. The brittle actually has just the right texture. Not too hard not too chewy, but yeah, I’m in a cranky mood and this hasn’t helped. I’m using this as an excuse to moan. Still, recipe is fine and I’ll talk a bit about caramelizing sugar. I used to be morbidly obese, I know about sugar. The original recipe can be found Here.

Oooo, me mouf. Sorry. Serious time, Spanky. So, before I start I will say that I use an induction hob and can’t use a candy thermometer. I think the hob can cause things to heat differently, which might explain my struggles with the thermometer. I never needed it before so it’s all good. You don’t need it here, just a sense of smell will do. What you’re doing with the sugar is cooking it until it reaches a certain point. The point in question, with any measuring apparatus, is when it turns amber and smells delicious. Just past this is what you’ll know as burnt caramel, that’s a knife edge between the former and burnt sugar, which is disgusting, trust me, I’ve eaten that. Go to Google for the science. At a basic level you’ll get Caramel Shards, which are pointy bits of tasty sugar. Add almonds and you’ll get French Praline. What these are noted for is their hard, crunchy texture. The brittles, this and the Peanut one, are slightly more chewy, not quite toffee like, but somewhat easier on the gums. Shards are better for decoration, they’re like stained glass, wonderful to admire when the light hits. There’s also Honey Comb. Which is where this one is similar as they both use baking soda for some aeration, which is chewy too, but has a crackle to it thanks to the air bubbles trapped in the cooled sugar. Then there’s Caramel Sauce, which relies on the caramelising of the sugar, whereas Butterscotch Sauce is simpler. You can control the flavour of the caramel by getting near burning it, whereas the Butterscotch can’t be changed with altering the ingredients.

 photo WP_20161007_004_e_zpsmmpjom8d.jpgThe starting stage.

So that’s my basic sugar repertoire, I wish I could teach you more, but I never got to do much with it, coeliac disease put a stop to a lot and all that sugar went out with the weight. I’ll try to pass on some tips all the same. Forgive me, reader, if any of this is unclear, I’m a bit tired, in taking advantage of the good weather to sort out the garden I seem to have run myself down a bit. Hence the treat today, more fool me. Be safe when boiling sugar. I got it on myself once, just a bit but you don’t forget that. Have a kettle or pot of boiling water handy for cleaning up as even lukewarm will set the sugar and you’ll need to boil it out of the pot. If you do get it on yourself drowse yourself in cold water and peel it off. What happens with the sugar is that as it cooks it starts to colour, some recipes say to stir others don’t, go by the recipe, you’re interrupting the crystallization of the sugar molecules or something, I think, it’s been years. The less you mess the harder the set. The caramelization happens in a matter of seconds, your light gold, slightly thick syrup turns amber, then dark amber, then burnt all in one fraction of a second. You need to pull it off the heat and get it in a jar or on a tray fast. You can’t waste time or it’s ruined. With practise you can master working with sugar, but always be safe and be fast.

 photo WP_20161007_005_e_zpsofo9vetu.jpgThe sesame seed slurry stage.

I’m sleepy, is this making any sense? As I say I find my hob works differently. I had to boil it low-ish to cook the seeds and then raise it to caramelise the sugar. Be careful of burning here as it’s hard to see what colour the syrup is. This is one of the easier recipes, but it really does taste nice. Like Sesame Snaps if you’ve ever eaten them. I remember loving melted chocolate on cooked sugar, again: Fat, you could just grate or chop some fine and toss it on while it’s hot on the tray. I don’t know if the butter can be substituted, it’s part of the reason this has a chewy rather than hard texture. If you know of any substitutes that work in sugar recipes then please comment below. That’s all for today. I’ll get back to normal next post, promise. Until later.

 photo WP_20161007_007_e_zpspkhrmntu.jpgJust out of the pan, five minutes before scoring.

Ingredients

3/4 Cup/150g Sugar
1/4 Cup/75g Honey
1 Tbsp/15ml Water
1 Cup/150g Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp/15g Butter, Room Temperature
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda

Method

1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Dissolve Sugar, Water and Honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring, with a wooden spoon, as needed.

3. Once Sugar has dissolved add Sesame Seeds and stir everything together. Cook slowly until Sesame seed start to colour slightly. Increase heat to medium-high, mixture will start to bubble. Keep stirred and cook until the mixture has taken on an amber hue, be careful of burning.

4. Immediately remove from heat, whisk in Butter and Vanilla Extract. Add Baking Soda and then pour mixture over the prepared tray.

5. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then run the back of a knife over to divide into squares. Let cool completely and break apart. Store in a container in the fridge.

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