The Washington Post

Sesame Candies

Sesame Candies 64.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Oct 10, 2018

Here's a quick, easy and flavorful introduction to candymaking that riffs on the individually wrapped pressed sesame bricks you're likely to find in Middle Eastern shops and restaurants. The tahini is a nontraditional addition but reinforces the sesame flavor and helps keep the candies tender when they harden.

If you want a thicker slab (this recipe creates thin pieces), you can put the mixture in a pan with less surface area, such as a loaf pan; the yield may vary.

Make Ahead: The candies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Where to Buy: You'll need about two 2-ounce spice jars of sesame seeds; you can often buy the seeds in bulk.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 64 servings; pieces from one 8-inch slab

  • Canola oil, for the pan
  • 1 cup sesame seeds (not toasted; see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini, stirred well


Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish or pan lightly with the oil.

Combine the sesame seeds, honey, sugar and salt in a small, deep saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, stirring vigorously.

Stir in the tahini; once the mixture returns to a boil, cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until thickened. Stir vigorously and, working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish, using the back of a spoon to spread it into an even layer.

Let cool slightly, then use a rounded table knife or thin plastic spatula to loosen the slab around the edges. Slide it onto a cutting board, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Serve right away (they will be a bit chewy), or let them sit at room temperature until hardened, about 1 hour.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious," by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

Tested by Becky Krystal.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per piece: 25

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 2g 3%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 10mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 2g 1%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 2g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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