There are lots of recipes around for toffee made with the more common nuts such as walnuts, almonds or pecans. This toffee is made with sesame or sunflower seeds, and is a nice, quickly-made, unusual candy that you might want to include in a Valentine’s Day candy box next week. If you know someone who likes sesame or sunflower seeds, they will love it.
I clipped the recipe from the 1969 issue of Sunset magazine and have made it often. Wrapped air tight, the candy will stay fresh and hard indefinitely.
A candy thermometer is necessary to make this recipe. A nice metal one can be purchased for less than $10. Each time a candy thermometer is used, it should be checked for accuracy. Heat some water to a full rolling boil and place the thermometer into the water, but do not let it touch the bottom of the pan. The thermometer should reach 212 degrees. If the thermometer reads a lower or higher degree, adjust for the difference when making the candy. Have the vanilla and salt containers open so they can be measured quickly when the candy reaches the desired temperature.
If you can only find salted sunflower seeds then pour the seeds into a cotton dish towel and rub the towel between your hands to remove as much salt as possible. Lay the towel down and lift the seeds from it with a slotted spoon. Discard the salt. Omit the salt from the recipe.
To toast the sesame or sunflower seeds, spread out in a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan and toast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, watching carefully and stirring frequently, until they are a pale golden color
Sesame Seed or Sunflower Seed Toffee5 oz. sesame seeds or sunflower seeds (about 1 c.)
1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
12 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt (omit if sunflower seeds are salted) see above
Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Set aside. Melt butter in a heavy 2-qt. saucepan; mix in corn syrup and sugar and cook over highest heat, stirring frequently, until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees. (This goes very quickly, about 5 to 10 minutes.) Remove at once from heat and quickly stir in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan spreading as evenly as possible. Let stand until cool and hard. The pan may be placed in the refrigerator to hasten cooling if necessary. Break into bite-size pieces and store air-tight until ready to serve. Makes about 1 lb.
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