Almond and Sesame Seed Brittle

Stella Cohen
Recipe by
Stella Cohen

Toasted sesame seeds, honey and almonds make a deep-golden, chewy treat. Popular at any celebration, this ancient confection is traditionally offered over the Festivals of Purim and Hanukkah (Festival of Lights). These petite treats, not unlike the nut bars that are popular today, are utterly addictive

5 cups hulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
6 ounces (170g) blanched split almonds, toasted
1 ½ cups clear honey
1 ½ cups hot water
1½ cups sugar
  1. Sprinkle 1 cup of sesame seeds with a pinch of flour and toast lightly in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat for 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Shake the pan often and stir with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this process, 1 cup at a time, with the remaining four cups of sesame seeds.
  2. Heat the honey, water and sugar in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until it thickens and reaches the soft ball stage*. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a very large, heatproof bowl.
  3. Add the almonds and 3 cups of sesame seeds and stir together vigorously with a wooden spoon. Spread the hot mixture onto an oiled worktop. Sprinkle in the remaining 2 cups of sesame seeds, working it a little at a time into the mixture. Dampen your hands with cold water and roll into four ropes about 1-inch (2.5cm) in diameter. Cut diagonally into 1-inch (2.5cm) sections using a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Allow to cool at room temperature until hardened.

Stella's Hints

  • *The soft ball stage is reached when a small drop of syrup forms into a little ball at the bottom of a cup of cold water. It will flatten and feel soft and pliable.
  • To store: Place the brittle between layers of baking paper and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.