Sesame Caramels

sesame caramels
Photo: Bobbi Lin

Looking for a hostess gift? Try Martha's take on the popular Middle Eastern sesame seed candy known as simsimia.


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for pan

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups sugar

  • ½ cup light corn syrup

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ cup sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Lightly coat bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; lightly spray parchment.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine cream, butter, and salt; heat gently over low. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Clip on a candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming, 8 to 12 minutes.

  3. Continue swirling pan until sugar is a dark golden color, about 10 minutes. Carefully add warm cream mixture to pan, taking caution as it will bubble up. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.

  4. Transfer to prepared pan, sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

  5. Transfer caramel to a large cutting board. Cut into 1-inch pieces; wrap each piece in waxed paper to seal.

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