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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Date with Nuts and Sesame Candy

Date with Nuts and Sesame Candy

             Chinu is enjoying his term end break and I am scratching my head finding ways to keep him busy during sunny afternoons. I also had plans to make some handy "pick me" snacks for him which would be nutritious and at the same time filling so as to satisfy his hunger pangs . Chinu being a great fan of dry fruits thought of preparing some nuts candy for him . I gave him some drawing assignments and started roasting and grinding Sesame and Nuts, I was just about to shape them and my naughty champ again invaded my kitchen saying he wanted me to make some toys out of clay dough..so I just thought of involving him in shaping my candy instead . To my surprise he merrily helped me in doing so without being bothered about his little hands getting messy. The candies he shaped may not seem too great to display on a blog, but they were special for me and we both enjoyed our  date with Nuts and Sesame Candy !

             Coming to health benefits of this candy.. I have used Sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of copper, calcium , iron and dietary fibre , Dates which are known to give relief from constipation and intestinal disorders, effective in treating anaemia, and help in gaining weight,  Prunes or dried plum  considered one of the healthiest foods for their ability to relieve constipation, provide antioxidant protection, prevent pre-mature ageing, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of Osteoporosis and Nuts - these bite-size nutritional powerhouses are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

              The Dates , Nuts and Sesame candies are great on-the-run snack , perfect for pregnant women, lactating mums, kids, active teenagers, or anyone who has a busy lifestyle and they are super easy to make from readily available pantry ingredients . So my candies may look small, but as they say good things come in small packages, these too are packed with healthy goodness for all age groups !

  • Sesame Seeds - 1 bowl
  • Dates ( seedless)- 1/2 bowl . I have used red Dates.
  • Prunes or dried plum - 1/2 bowl
  • Nuts of your choice 1 cup ( I have used Cashew nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts)
  • Poppy seeds( roasted and powdered)- 2 tsp
  • Nutmeg and Cardamom powder- 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee  -  1-2 tsp
  • Jaggery / honey (optional)
  • Dry ginger - 1 tsp

  1. Clean and dry roast the Sesame seeds in a pan on medium heat. When sesame is toasted or roasted , the flavor and crispiness are brought out and make the taste even better. Sesame tastes best and most fragrant when it is freshly toasted. Put Sesame seeds  on a frying pan, barely covering the surface. Be careful not to pile them up or put too much sesame at one time. Stir them constantly with spatula and toast evenly over medium heat. To avoid overheating, lift the frying pan slightly from fire. If frying pan becomes too hot, sesames will be toasted too much or unevenly. Sesame seeds will pop when they are toasted,  turn off the heat and continue toasting over the residual heat until toasted to your taste.. let it cool down reserve some of them and then grind remaining of it to coarse powder.

   2.  Now similarly toast all the nuts on a medium heat in a frying pan until they turn golden brown. Toasting nuts releases their essential oils. This causes the nuts to become more fragrant and flavorful than in their raw state. Do not add any oil , as the nuts have enough oils on their own to cook. Remove from heat once they turn golden brown and then coarsely grind them. Feel free to use nuts of your choice , all the ingredients used in this candy are flexible. You can cross match any dry fruit according to availability and taste.

 3.  Roughly chop  Dates and Prunes in small pieces and grind them either in a food processor or grinder.

  4.   Now take all this in a bowl , mix well and try to knead it like a dough. Prunes, dates and jaggery release moisture so try to mix well and then at the end add melted ghee to make it into dough. You may need only 1 tsp or so of ghee. Once you have made a dough, add the reserved roasted Sesame seeds to the dough and again mix well. If you increase the quantity of dates in this recipe, there is no need to add jaggery or other sweetener, also no need to add ghee also  in that case as dates will help the other ingredients in binding.

   5.  Now pinch a small amount of dough and using your palms, give them desired shape. You can make big balls or rolls or small bite size candy out of it. I have kept the size small for my champ to pop up. Keep the candy in air tight container in freezer . They serve as a nutritious dessert or a perfect sweet bite to serve after dinner or power snack to be taken before heading to Gym or one can have it just to satisfy sweet cravings .

Notes :
  • In the step 4, after making the dough, instead of adding the sesame seeds in it, you can first shape them as balls and then roll them in roasted sesame seeds, this will make them more visually appealing but with small kids, coating sesame seeds superficially may be bit messy , so I embedded the seeds in the dough.
  • I have grounded the toasted nuts for this candy, otherwise my naughty champ would have picked up all the nuts from the candy. You can keep small chunks of nuts, for better look and crunchy flavour. 
  • You can also use desiccated coconut for coating your candy.
  • The above quantity of ingredients will yield 30-35 small candies, around 20 medium size rolls and 15-16 big size balls.