I really like board games. Does this make me a dork? I’m thinking yes.
The thing is, if loving board games is wrong, I’m not so sure I want to be right.
Bring me your Yahtzees, Parcheesis, Strategos and Battleships. Oh, sweet Battleship.
D2. D3. D4. D5.
I just sunk your battleship.
An important factor in successful board game play is the food that you choose to fuel your victory.
Candy is one of my favored options.
But I will admit that I don’t care for store-bought saccharined out candy.
No, after the Great Jolly Rancher Phase of 1992, my taste buds converted to rustic, homemade candies. They are so much more fresh and flavorful. Just like this brittle.
You may be asking yourself what sesame seeds have to do with southwestern cuisine – they’re actually often used as thickening agents in moles and other sauces.
I like the flavor of sesame because it’s subtle, and I like the crunch of the seeds.
What better way to punch up some brittle candy?
I went with white and black seeds to keep things interesting.
I toasted the seeds up and cooked the brittle base down. I throw some butter in at the end of the cooking process and it really produces a nice flavor in the finished candy.
The key to making a honeycomb brittle is to throw in a high proportion of baking soda immediately after the candy reaches the hard crack stage.
As soon as you hit the right temperature, you remove the candy from heat and stir in your baking soda. The mixture will puff and puff and come close to doubling in volume – it’s so cool. Like some science experiment. A winning science experiment. A science experiment with a much happier ending than that papier-mâché volcano you built.
So dust off your Clue, Candy Land and Chinese Checkers boards. This is a dork safe zone.
Plus, everyone wins when you make some sweet Honeycomb Sesame Seed Brittle to munch on.
Honeycomb Sesame Seed Brittle
2 c. white sugar, granulated
1 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. raw blue agave
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. black sesame seeds
3/4 c. white sesame seeds
1 tsp. ginger, dried, ground
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spread seeds out over an unlined baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Set seeds aside to cool.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring sugar, salt, water and agave to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot. Set a candy thermometer in place. Once boiling, add the seeds and continue cooking, stirring often, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 300°. Immediately remove the pot from heat and stir in the ginger, butter and baking soda in that order. Continue to stir until all of the added ingredients are completely incorporated. The mixture will bubble and foam, almost doubling in size.
Working quickly but carefully, spoon the candy onto the prepared pan and smooth it out to cover the entire pan as evenly as possible. Set the candy aside to cool and set. Once the brittle has hardened, snap into pieces and enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Following are a few tips for successful brittle work:
- Have all of your ingredients set up and measured before you begin – timing is critical when working with this candy, especially at the end.
- Don’t cheat on the temperature. It may take some time for the candy to reach 300°, but you need it to get there to make true brittle.
- When the mixture reaches hard crack and you are ready to add your baking soda, be sure to take a moment to stir thoroughly. The candy will be almost the consistency of foam at this point, and if you don’t incorporate all of the baking soda, ginger and any other spices you may be adding, you’ll have pockets of the raw soda and spice laced throughout the finished candy.
- Use a very large, rimmed baking sheet to mold the candy and be sure to line it completely with parchment. This recipe produces quite a bit of candy and it may be difficult to fit it all on a large sheet. Just keep carefully spreading so that the entire pan is covered and the candy is contained by the rims of the sheet.
- Do yourself a favor and use a nonstick pot and utensils. Soak immediately after you finish. Use a metal spoon to chip away any remaining brittle pieces.
- Be careful! Brittle work is not difficult but it involves working with extremely hot liquids. While the finished product is fun for the whole family, I would never involve a small child in the manufacturing process – it’s just too dangerous.
YIELD: several pounds of honeycomb brittle