This nutty, crunchy and healthy sesame crunch is so easy to make with sesame seeds, honey, and sugar! You can also add your favorite nuts and/or seeds.
To me, sesame crunch is an easy snack I can whip up with no effort! It’s also great as an edible gift to your wonderful friends and neighbors for Christmas. It’s nutty, crunchy and much healthier than most holiday cookies!
I hope this recipe will become a family favorite during the holiday season and all year round.
The sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are a staple in Korean cooking, so I always have a plenty of them around.
It’s much more economical to buy raw sesame seeds than the ones already toasted. Plus, they taste better when you toast them yourself before using them. Store the portion you are not going to use anytime soon in the freezer. The low temperature prevents the natural oils in the seeds from spoiling, keeping them fresh for a long time.
In Korea, sesame crunch is also commonly made with black sesame seeds or a combination of black and white. Try it if you want something different for a change.
You can toast raw sesame seeds in a pan over medium to medium low heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly golden brown and fragrant.
You can make these only with sesame seeds, but the addition of some nuts and/or seeds makes it more interesting and tastier. I like to add pumpkin seeds and pine nuts. Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds are all great options.
How to make sesame crunch
To turn the sesame seeds into candy, all you need are sugar and honey with a little bit of salt. Add the honey, sugar, salt and water to a pan. Stir to mix over medium low heat. Let it bubble up. Continue to cook, without stirring, until it turns light golden brown, about 3 minutes or a little longer depending on your heat. This cooking time is necessary for the sugar mixture to harden when cooled.
I use honey but you can use any sort of syrup such as maple syrup, corn syrup, oligo syrup (oligodang, 올리고당), rice syrup (jocheong, 조청) etc. These are less sweet than honey, so use a little more sugar if using one of these.
The sugar mixture hardens quickly as it cools, so work quickly once the mixed sesame seeds are off the heat. With parchment paper and a rolling pin, you can roll it out as thick or thin as you want. Finally, cut into any size and shape you want.
Wishing you and your family happy holidays!!
Kkagangjeong (Sesame crunch)
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium low heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Keep your eye on it not to burn them.
Add the honey, sugar, salt and water to a pan. Stir to mix over medium low heat. Let it bubble up. Continue to cook, without stirring, until it turns light golden brown, about 3 minutes or a little longer depending on your heat.
Turn the heat off. Stir in the sesame seeds and nuts. Stir well until everything is well coated with the syrup.
Place the mixture between two pieces of parchment paper. Let cool for a minute, or the mixture can stick to the paper. Press it down to flatten it, and roll it out with a rolling pin to a 1/4 to 1/2-thick rectangle. Using a side of a knife, push in the rough sides to straighten up a bit. Roll it again to an even thickness, as necessary.
When the crunch is hardened but still slightly warm, cut with a sharp knife into desired sizes.
This recipe was originally posted in December 2012. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information, and minor changes to the recipe.