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Korean Sesame Candies (Kang Jung)

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Korean Sesame Candy
Naomi Imatome

I used to love these Korean sesame candies (or cookies) growing up, but I never realized how easy they were to do until I tried to make them for a gluten-free friend. They are as easy to make as Rice Krispie Treats and have the same no-bake, few ingredient simplicity.

You can get fancy with different shapes and by using colored sesame seeds and nuts as decoration. I usually make the simple plain black or golden sesame seed squares and they are no-fuss. This recipe is not overly sweet, but you can adjust the sweetness level of the syrup if you find it too sweet or not-sweet-enough for your tastes.

If you don't want to make your own syrup, you can substitute with other types of store-bought syrups.

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Cooling: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

    • 2 cups sesame seeds (regular or black)
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 4 tablespoons honey

Preparation:

  1. In a large skillet, roast sesame seeds over low heat until they start to pop. They should become fragant after 4 or 5 minutes.
  2. Remove seeds from heat and reserve.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, water and honey over low heat.
  4. Stir often until sugar is melted, making sure that the syrup does not burn.
  5. Remove from heat when the syrup is thick (about 5-7 minutes).
  6. Immediately pour sesame seeds into syrup, mixing to combine.
  7. Spread the sesame seed and syrup mixture onto a cookie sheet that is either greased or lined with parchment paper.
  8. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll gently with a rolling pin to flatten the top of the candy.
  9. Let candy cool about 5 minutes and then cut with a sharp knife into 1-inch squares or smaller rectangles. (Grease the knife if you are having a hard time cutting through).
  10. Cool completely and enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Some Facts about Sesame Seeds:

Sesame seeds are one of the oldest condiments known to man- they were first recorded as a crop in Babylon over 4,000 years ago. It has remained a popular spice in the Middle and Near East. Its use in cooking spread through Africa and Asia and finally to other parts of the world. Sesame oil is resistant to rancidity, so it had particular value in ancient times.

If you like the taste and texture of these sesame chewies, then also try this recipe for Greek Pasteli.


Along with garlic, kochukaru (crushed red chili pepper), soy sauce and ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil are two of the most important condiments in the Korean kitchen.

Nutritional Facts about Sesame excerpted from WH Foods:

Not only are sesame seeds a very good source of manganese and copper, but they are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber.

In addition to these important nutrients, sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

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