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need suggestions for failed sesame candy

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In preparation for teaching a Middle Eastern cooking class this summer, I tried out a recipe for sesame candy- the recipe looked like this:
1 c sugar
1 c water
1 t lemon juice
1.5 c sesame seeds, toasted
1 t orange blossom water

The recipe said to boil the sugar and water to the soft ball stage, which I thought I did successfully (though I don't have a candy thermometer), then to add the sesame seeds and orange blossom water and spread in a pan.

The candy is just too soft. I can roll it into balls, but they don't hold their shape. My original hope was to make a crisp candy- something like a brittle.

My questions are these:
1) If I want a hard candy, should I be cooking to the hard crack stage? That seems obvious, but the recipe didn't call for it.
2) what would you do with too-soft sesame seeds in sugar syrup? I'm trying to think of some use for it, since I can't really serve it as individual pieces. Might there be some recipe that it could be added to?

Thanks!

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  1. I'm a little confused.

    You didn't use a candy thermometer so you can't be sure if you actually got to the soft ball stage.

    And you say you wanted a hard candy, but is this recipe intended to be a hard candy?

    I say get a thermometer and make the recipe as written and see what you get. Or look for a recipe that specifically says it's a brittle type.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jennalynn

      I used the cold water method, and did indeed get a soft ball. The recipe didn't say whether it was a soft or a hard candy, but I assumed it must at least have meant to be harder than it turned out, since this won't even hold its shape...

    2. "Soft ball" stage for sugar is usually reserved for things like fudge or fondants. I suspect your recipe should have recommended a "firm" ball or "hard" ball stage or even to soft crack if you're looking for a taffy consistency. Soft ball temperature is slightly below that of firm ball (soft = 235 - 240 degrees, firm= 245 - 250 degrees <tough to judge with the cold water test method unless you've got a lot of experience > )
      Try reheating some of your current batch (use a little water if you must, to give it some help getting back into solution) and add about 10% by weight of corn syrup, then take it to about 270 degrees and get it off the burner immediately and pour it into a cooler vessel. The corn syrup will retard the tendency for the mix to turn into a brittle and you may be able to save what you've already invested. If that doesn't work, you can always use the soft stuff in sticky buns, muffins, or something like that.