Pasteli, the sweet and moreish sesame seed and honey bars dotted with roasted nuts is so easy to make at home. Enjoy these bars of goodness whenever you fancy a snack or a boost of energy. They make excellent Holiday edible gifts too!
Sesame seed candy is one of my favorites. In India, it is usually made by mixing the seeds in a thick jaggery syrup and either rolling the mixture into balls (while still hot, mind you) or making candy bars. I’ve tried a few times to make them, with mixed results. The hard part of course, is heating the syrup till just right so that the candy is not too soft or too hard.
Several attempts and many burned fingers later, I had all but given up. It was then that I came across sesame-honey bars popular in the Mediterranean.
It is called pasteli in Greece, and needs just two ingredients in its simplest form – toasted sesame seeds and honey.
They are the original natural energy bars. Add a handful of roasted nuts and you just upped the protein and yum factors by several notches. These chewy bars are so addictive, you simply cannot stop at one. Or two. Ask me how I know!
Pasteli is a great snack. It goes excellently with Mediterranean style rose and lemon flavored tea. Or you can eat them whenever you need an energy boost, like when you are experiencing a post-lunch afternoon slump.
This homemade candy can be chewy or crisp depending on the sweetener used. Honey keeps it soft, adding processed sugars will make it hard and brittle. You can try a combination of the two to find out what works best for you.
If you are making these with honey, you must keep the individual bars wrapped in parchment or wax paper to prevent sticking. The bars will keep at room temperature for a few days, but if it’s humid where you live, expect some sticky fingers when you enjoy these bars.
But it is all so worth it, because pasteli is such a delight! It is unbelievably simple to make and you can easily make a large batch at once. The chewy sesame seeds, crunchy roasted nuts combined with the sticky sweet honey makes for an enticing treat. Try these moreish sesame candy bars for the Holidays this year. Call them candy, but they are full of goodness. Sesame seeds, almonds, cashew nuts and honey are all such nutritious ingredients, you can feel good eating these delicious bars. And this is such a unique Holiday edible gift idea, so go ahead and gift a box of goodness this year.
- Sesame seeds - 1 cup (I used white sesame seeds)
- Nuts - ⅔ cup, roughly chopped (I used almonds and cashew nuts)
- Salt - a pinch
- Honey - ½ cup
- Demerara or granulated sugar - ¼ cup
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a large skillet over low heat. Keep stirring and toast till seeds are lightly aromatic. Do not burn them. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add nuts to the skillet, sprinkle salt and roast till lightly browned. Alternately, this can be done in a 350 deg.F oven for 7-8 minutes. Cool slightly, chop the nuts roughly and set aside.
- Take the honey and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat till sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture starts to boil gently. Simmer for 4-5 minutes to thicken it slightly.
- Tip in the sesame seeds and nuts and mix with a spatula to combine thoroughly.
- Once all the honey is absorbed, tip the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Spread the mixture to ¼" thickness with an oiled spatula. Alternately, you can cover the mixture with another sheet of wax paper and use a rolling pin to flatten it.
- Cool for 5 minutes and cut into 1"x3" bars with an oiled knife while still warm. Once completely cooled, separate the individual bars and wrap in strips of parchment or wax paper, to keep from sticking.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
2. You can use your favorite nuts or other seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds in this recipe.
Enjoy these pasteli any time of the day, for snack or dessert.
Don’t forget toPIN & SAVE this recipe for later.
Do try these sesame seed candy bars and let me know how you like it.
Looking for more Holiday inspiration? Go here for more Holiday treats like this one.
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