September 29, 2020

Chinese Sesame Candy 黑芝麻酥糖

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

For the upcoming Chinese Mid Autumn Festival, my most favorite festival of the year, we decided to make some traditional Chinese candy along with making mooncakes (we decided on snow skin custard mooncakes 奶皇冰皮月餅 this year!).   I've always loved these Chinese Sesame Candy, buying them by the bagfuls, but wowzers if homemade Chinese Sesame Candies don't beat em all for fresh nutty fragrance and a delightfully crispy crunch!  

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

The candy itself is pretty basic, just sesame seeds held together by a caramel made from sugars and water.  With sesame seeds there are both white and black seeds.  The white sesame seeds are sweeter and nuttier, the black sesame seeds are harder and ever so slightly bitter.  I like to mix the seeds  together when making this candy for a more interesting taste and texture.   

The sesame seeds are first lightly roasted to bring out the maximum flavor and aroma.  You can do this in an oven or what I like to do is to get out my wok and stir fry over low heat for a minute or two until the fragrance rises and some of the seeds start popping.  Then the roasted seeds are placed in the oven to keep warm until the caramel is ready to stir in.  

A good tip is to keep the sesame seeds warm in the same container that will be used to stir the seeds and caramel together.

Sesame Candy,chinese,black sesame candy,homemade,nuts,recipe,黑芝麻酥糖
Water, maltose sugar and sugar
Sesame Candy,chinese,black sesame candy,homemade,nuts,recipe,黑芝麻酥糖
Measuring the temp

Time to make the caramel!  For sugar work there are two things to remember.  One is to use a food thermometer (an instant read food thermometer like this good).  The second thing is to remember that the sugar syrup gets REALLY HOT and you have to keep your hands away from it.  I wish I could remember rule no 2 better...sigh...

The sugar syrup starts with water, sugar and maltose syrup (a malt sugar syrup.)  These are boiled until the sugar reaches the right temperature (very hot!) to form caramel.  It takes some patience but sugar work always does.  Make sure to not go over the temperature range specified!

Tip:  Getting the maltose out of its container is tricky as the consistency is that of a very very stiff honey.  Either microwave for 15 secs to warm it up enough to pour or if you don't have a microwave just add a bit of cold water to the container and then scoop with your fingers.  The cold water will prevent stickiness.  Pour out the water when you're done.

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

Next step, it's time for some action!   Time to mix the roasted sesame seeds and the caramel.  Be sure to have everything ready to go cuz once the caramel starts cooling it starts to set and then it will be difficult to stir the caramel evenly through the sesame seeds.  

This is the reason for keeping the roasted sesame seeds warm in the mixing bowl in the oven.  The warm mixing bowl and seeds will not cool down the caramel, allowing enough time to stir. 

With everything ready at hand, once the sugar reaches correct temperature, pour all at once into seeds and stir like mad until evenly mixed.  Remember the caramel is HOT!

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

Once evenly mixed pour candy quickly onto parchment paper.  I set my paper inside a shallow baking tray which is not necessary but helps to contain and shape the edges.  Place another piece of parchment paper over and roll out evenly.  Pressing down more or less allows control over the density of the candy.  I like my sesame candy more crunchy so pressed down harder.

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,

Use a sharp knife to cut the candy first into strips, then cut the strips into rectangles and your candy is done!  Nutty and oh so fragrant candies that crunch gorgeously with every bite.  And so yummy, have we gone over that?  I made these Chinese Sesame Candies just the day before and they're all gone already, they're that popular!  I guess I'm just going to have to make some more :) 

Here's wishing every and all a beautiful moonlit Mid Autumn's Festival!  And don't forget to let them eat cake, mooncake that is!

Sesame Candy, chinese, black sesame candy, homemade, nuts, recipe, 黑芝麻酥糖,
Chinese Sesame Candy Recipe
(adapted from 辛福應景的中式糕餅點心, makes 40 candies) 
Prep time:  10 mins   Cook time: 15 mins



Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C).

Roast sesame seeds in a wok over low heat, stirring continuously for approx 2 mins or until rich sesame aroma arises and faint popping sounds are heard.  Pour into a large mixing bowl and place in preheated oven to keep warm.

Add maltose syrup, sugar, salt and water to small heavy bottomed pot.  Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 320°F-338°F  (160-170°C).  When the temperature is reached remove pot immediately from heat.  

Take the still warm sesame seeds from oven and pour the caramel in all at once.  Use a spatula to mix the caramel evenly into the sesame as quickly as possible.

Once mixed pour out onto a piece of parchment paper.  Place another sheet of parchment paper over and use an oven mitt and a rolling pin to shape the candy mass into a 1/2" thick rectangular shape.  Let cool for a few minutes until the candy begins to stiffen.  

Use a sharp knife to slice into 3/4" wide strips.  Cut these strips further into 2" lengths.  If the knife sticks use a dab of oil to lightly oil it.  

The candy is ready to eat.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month but I doubt it will last that long.  Enjoy!



  1. Made it! I love your posts and sometimes I'll venture to try. Candy is good! I'm new to the black sesame seeds, they are slightly bitter/earthy taste. That sugar is extra messy, maybe because of maltose syrup. Next time I'm going to pour the seeds into the bowl with the hot sugar caramel, one less bowl to scrape clean of hardened sugar. I hope this will be ok?
    I waited too long to cut into pieces and it got really hard, had to have husband help me chop them. They came out into cool chunky abstract pieces. Oh and my seeds took much longer to toast up, perhaps my heat was too low. But I was afraid of burning them.

    1. Hi Joanna - That's a excellent suggestion! You can definitely pour the sesame into the caramel pot, as long as the pot is big enough to fit it all and to stir in. I also waited a bit too long and had to have my hubby help out with the chopping...LOL! Handy to have hubbies around, amirite?! So happy you liked the candies! ~ellen