Amaranth Sesame Seed Brittle Candy with Honey
Most of the time, I'm not much for sweets, but I'm an absolute sucker for nut and seed brittles. Whenever I'm at my local health food store, I dive for the bin of sesame-honey candies. Sadly it's pretty far away and none of my nearby stores seem to carry them.
So, here I am in the little Indian market down the street, looking for something fun and unusual to cook, and I spy a package of amaranth seeds. Teeny tiny little seeds, but you know big stuff comes in little packages. I had to experiment with it, right?
I added the black sesame seeds both for a color and flavor contrast.
For added fun, I used my Damiana Rose Petal Honey, but you can use any honey you like. I intend to experiment with several honey flavors - avocado honey might be especially interesting.
Pack this brittle in a decorative box for a sweet gift.
Amaranth: An Ancient "Grain"
Amaranth is one of the oldest seeds known to man. It's used in cooking in just about every cuisine from the Aztecs to India, Korea, Greece and in between. The Aztecs are said to have used it in about 80% of their diet.
Amaranth is sacred to the Aztec hummingbird god, because hummingbirds feed on the bright red flowers of this plant. Candies and cakes much like this are often still made in Mexico for Day of the Dead, Christmas (around the same time as the original hummingbird god's holy day) and similar holidays.
There are a few different varieties of amaranth still used for food. Technically amaranth is a seed, not a grain, but most people lump it in with grains, since it fills the same use.
I'm learning that amaranth is not only good for you, it's yummy! I'll be working out plenty more recipes for this "grain" in the future.
Amaranth isn't just tasty, it's healthy too.
Why do many cuisines like amaranth? Because it's crazy good for you.
Gluten free, it's rich in lysine, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Plus it's low carb and easy to digest.
If you're on a gluten free and/or low carb diet, it has slight lower carbs than other gluten free grains and its polyunsaturated oils hold about the same amount of vitamin E as olive oil.
- 1/2 cup amaranth seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon butter plus enough to grease your baking sheet
- Pop the amaranth in a saucepan or other high-sided pot, over high heat. (It will try to jump out of a low pot!) To prevent it from burning you'll want to do this about a teaspoon at a time. It takes only seconds to pop each teaspoon-full. Some of the seeds will pop and turn white, much like tiny popcorn, others will just brown, that's fine.
- Toast the sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant. I used black sesame seeds in this recipe because that's what I had on hand, and I like the contrast of colors, but you can use regular white/golden ones instead.
- Both the amaranth and the sesame can be popped/toasted a few days ahead of time and stored in the freezer if you wish.
- Boil the honey for about 3 minutes, stirring so that it doesn't burn.
- Add in the sugar. Stir until dissolved and the syrup is thick.
- Remove from heat and add baking soda and butter. Stir until fully blended.
- Add in the amaranth and sesame and stir until well incorporated.
- Pour onto a well greased cookie sheet. Alternatively you can use a silicon baking sheet - which means no need for extra butter in your recipe.
- Spread the mix out on your cookie sheet, using a silicon spatula or a buttered knife.
- Let cool. Crack into chunks.
Silicone baking mats are fantastic for no-stick cooking!
And a baking sheet sized for that mat.
© 2014 Lionrhod