Create this delicious homemade Sesame Candy with just three simple ingredients: sesame seeds, honey, and sugar. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this Italian confection!
I recently tested this nougat recipe with sunflower seeds, and as you can see, they came out so good that I just had to share!
Sesame seeds, originating in Africa and cultivated across Asia, have a 5,000-year history, inspiring unique variations of sesame seed bars. From Greece’s Pastelli to Israel’s Sukariyot Soomsoom, these timeless treats resemble the commercially sold sesame snaps.
People call it cubbaita in Sicily, and in Calabria, they call this candy with sesame seeds Confetto di Giuggiulena.
The best part?
Making this kind of candy is not as challenging as you might think. There’s no need for candy thermometers or complex equipment.
I’ve been making this delightful recipe for over ten years, and I can assure you it’s a straightforward and rewarding process.
You can create this delightful, nutty-sweet, and crunchy sesame candy with just three ingredients – sesame seeds, honey, and sugar.
I recently tested this recipe with sunflower seeds and the results were amazing! I can’t wait to share this simple process perfect for novice and experienced cooks.
- White sesame seeds: A fundamental ingredient offering a delightful nutty flavor.
- Sugar: This critical ingredient contributes to the satisfying crunch of the sesame bars.
- Honey: A natural sweetener that binds the ingredients together.
- Orange: This is an optional ingredient for flavoring.
Prepare the pan and parchment paper: Lightly coat two sheets of parchment paper with non-stick spray. Use one sheet to line a large baking sheet. We will use the other sheet to cover the top of the sesame candy mixture, ensuring it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. If using a marble surface, you only need one sheet of parchment paper.
Toast sesame seeds: In the large non-stick pan, toast 2 cups of raw sesame seeds over medium heat until golden brown. Notice how they release a nutty aroma.
This step takes 3-4 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning. Once toasted, remove from the pan and set aside.
Check out my detailed guide on how to toast sesame seeds for more information.
Make the sugar syrup: In the same pan, combine ½ cup of granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey. Stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until the mixture reaches a smooth, thick consistency.
After 2-3 minutes, the mixture will darken. When it does, it is time to add the sesame seeds. Be cautious not to overcook or burn it.
Add sesame seeds: Add the toasted sesame seeds to the sugar syrup. Stir quickly to coat the seeds evenly.
Transfer to a sheet pan or marble surface: Pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined sheet pan (or marble surface). Place another sheet of parchment paper over the top. Use a rolling pin to flatten and spread the mixture to approximately ¼- ½ inch (or whatever thickness you prefer)—working quickly while it’s still pliable.
Cut into pieces while still warm: Lightly coat a sharp knife with oil and use it to slice the candy into your preferred pieces. In the accompanying video, which you can find on the recipe card, I demonstrate cutting them into rhomboid shapes similar to my mostaccioli cookies. I opted for thicker bars in the photos since I added a handful of sunflower seeds.
Optional: After rolling out your nougat, gently rub the surface with half a lemon or orange, imparting a delightful citrus aroma.
Prepare in advance: Prepare your parchment paper, sheet pan, and rolling pin before you begin. The candy mixture sets rapidly, so preparing everything in advance ensures a smooth and efficient process.
Gentle toasting: Shake the pan continuously to prevent burning when toasting sesame seeds. Sesame seeds can quickly go from perfectly toasted to overly dark, affecting the candy’s flavor.
Customize with nuts and other seeds: Experiment with ingredients like a handful of almond slivers or blanched almonds for added texture and flavor. I love adding a handful of sunflower seeds to create a different, crunchy texture. This personal touch can make your sesame candy truly unique.
Quick shaping: Shape the candy quickly while it is warm and flexible. Use a knife to make the sides even. Then, cut it into small, equal-sized pieces.
When stored properly, this homemade candy stays fresh for several weeks. Its texture may become slightly softer over time, but the flavor remains delicious.
Keep sesame candy fresh by storing it in an airtight container at room temperature with parchment paper to prevent sticking. This will help maintain its texture and flavor over time. You can also use a tin box.
Charcuterie board: Incorporate small pieces of sesame candy into your charcuterie board as a sweet and nutty element to balance the savory and salty components like marinated olives and eggplant caponata.
Dessert toppings: Use crumbled or chopped sesame candy as a special and crispy topping for ice cream, sweet ricotta, or this fresh fruit salad. It can also add texture and flavor to your favorite desserts.
No-bake Christmas treats
Who can resist homemade Italian holiday treats? They enhance your holiday dessert table and serve as the perfect choice for thoughtful hostess gifts. Here are a few of my favorite Italian treats:
Calzone di Ceci: Try the flavors of Southern Italy with Calzone di Ceci, a rustic chickpea-filled calzone that’s so addictive!
Pandoro Christmas Tree Cake: Create a festive centerpiece with store-bought Pandoro, an Italian Christmas cake. Shaped into a delightful tree, it’s a show-stopping dessert.
Experience the sweet magic of Struffoli, a classic Italian dessert made of deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey and colorful sprinkles.
Over a decade ago, my daughter-in-law’s parents introduced me to these homemade sesame snaps during the holidays. Since then, they’ve become a cherished part of my annual Christmas cookie platter.
Nancy and her husband are from Isca Marina, located in the province of Catanzaro in the beautiful region of Calabria. People in this region know this sesame seed candy as Confetto di Giuggiulena. I’m thankful to Nancy for sharing this fantastic recipe.
Why not add this Calabrian delight to your cookie platter and experience its deliciousness?
Are you looking for more sesame seed recipes? Try these Italian sesame cookies, perfect for a holiday cookie platter!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community, where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you tried this Sesame Seed Nougat recipe, please share your experience in the comments and rate it!
No bake treats
Homemade Italian Sesame Candy Recipe
- 2 cups sesame seeds 300 grams
- ½ cup sugar 100 grams, granulated
- 2 tablespoons honey 50 grams
- Prepare a sheet pan, 2 sheets of parchment paper (lightly greased with non-stick spray), and a rolling pin.
- Toast sesame seeds in a non-stick pan over medium heat until light golden brown. This can take 3-4 minutes. Keep shaking the pan to and fro as they toast very easily.
- Remove from heat, place in bowl. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Add sugar and honey in non-stick pan and stir until sugar has melted and begins to boil.
- Stir continuously until mixture begins to darken (2-3 minutes).
- Add roasted sesame seeds and combine.
- Quickly turn out mixture in a parchment lined jelly roll pan.
- Top with sheet of parchment paper (Be careful not to touch the mixture as it is very hot).
- With a rolling pin, flatten the mixture to approximately ¼ inch (or whatever thickness you prefer).
- Transfer to cutting board.
- Cut immediately into rectangles, squares, or diamonds as the mixture gets hard as it cools down.
- Optional: After flattening your nougat, gently rub the surface with half a lemon or orange, imparting a delightful citrus aroma.
I originally published this article on November 18, 2014 and republished it on November 11, 2018 and October 26, 2023 with updated content, and photos. Thanks for sharing.