Peanut Sesame Seed Crunch

February 7, 2018

in Cook What You Like, Cookies and Confections

Sesame Seed Peanut Candy

In Cantonese, fah saang is peanut, jee-ma is sesame seed, and tong is candy.

Pop off the lid to a tin of this peanut sesame seed candy and catch your nose swoons over the rich nutty aromas.  The harmonious combination of peanuts and sesame seeds is amplified when both are toasted.  No wonder the pair is often found together in Chinese cuisine, both in sweet and savory dishes.

This crunch has just enough sweetness to bring the pieces together making light and crisp bites – not the hard jaw-breaking version found in stores (although we have formulas for those, too).

The technique in making this candy requires no candy thermometer but some of the steps are swift.  Timing is important when cooking syrup for candy so please read the entire recipe first and prepare well.  Here’s a few tips:

  • Toast the sesame seeds and peanuts to release their oils and nutty fragrance.
  • sprinkling salt on just toasted peanuts helps the salt stick better.
  • Bring out the rolling pin before prepping the work area.
  • Make these and other cooked candies on low humidity days for best results.

Recipe: Sesame Seed Peanut Crunch

The sesame seeds and peanuts can be toasted the day before making this sweet.  Cool well before covering airtight.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup raw white sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups raw peanuts without skins
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup (not high fructose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (divided in 1/4 teaspoon each)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1-2 teaspoons flavorless vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Toast and cool:  toast sesame seeds and peanuts separately on the stove top.  Use a large sauté pan for the seeds and a medium sauté pan.   Over low heat, spread out seeds or nuts into separate pans.   Stir occasionally.  As the seeds or peanuts start getting fragrant, move and flip them around in the pans to evenly toast; adjust heat as necessary.  Toast the seeds to golden brown, and the peanuts with little brown “toast” marks on them.  This may take 10-15 minutes.  When ready, remove from heat and pour into separate shallow bowls.  While peanuts are warm, toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cool seeds and peanuts completely before using.
  2. Prepare work surface:  clear a clean work surface as the candy will be poured on it for shaping into an 8-inch square.  Smear a thin layer of vegetable oil on the work surface and a rolling pin.   Position the bowls of toasted seeds and peanuts close to the stove.
  3. Make syrup:  in a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water and cook on low heat.  Don’t stir syrup yet; instead, tilt the pan’s liquids over the dry sugar to help dissolve the sugar.  When the mixture starts boiling, turn up the heat to medium-low. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon.  In 3-4 minutes the syrup will start to turn light amber, and start testing by frequently lifting the wooden spoon out of the syrup looking for very thin gossamer-like threads (hard crack stage; 300° F); the syrup is ready.
  4. Add seeds and peanuts:  pour the seeds and peanut into the syrup.  Using a wooden spoon, stir quickly to mix together into a single lump.  Move fast – the mixture starts to harden quickly.
  5. Shape:  swiftly dump the whole concoction onto the prepared oiled work surface, scraping the candy off the wooden spoon as much as possible.  Using your hands, bring mixture together into one piece pressing to flatten at the same time (mixture will be cool enough to handle and somewhat pliable).  Use the rolling pin to press down and even out the surface to create an approximate 8-inch square piece.  The edges will be ragged.
  6. Cut:  the candy will start to set up in a couple more minutes.  Before it hardens completely, cut square into small 1 x 2-inch pieces with a metal bench or heavy knife. No worries if the pieces don’t separate.  When the candy is completely cool, the pieces will easily break off.

Makes about 2 dozen pieces.  When cool, store in an airtight tin separating layers with waxed or parchment paper.

Adapted from Maangchi.

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