By KEVIN FRISCH
ONE OF THE GREATEST PLEASURES of life is . . . well, I mean, obviously it's food. But, more specifically, a good in-between-meal snack (or snacking continually for that matter) does have a certain appeal to it. And I'm not saying this just because by snacking you can eat more, and thus gain weight more easily (though that's definitely part of it), but rather because snacking allows for more variety in one's diet. And, after all, what is a meal, but a collection of various snacks?
But in a meal, there is a limit to how much variety is acceptable; a lunch consisting of some watermelon and a sardine sandwich is something that many people would find rather repulsive. But as well-spaced snacks -- no problem. Another drawback to meals is that you can only have sweet things once per meal, and then only under the guise of dessert. But with snacking, it's perfectly acceptable to down an entire "family pack" of Double Stuff Oreos.
One of my favorite sweet snacks has always been those sesame sticks, made essentially of sugar, honey, and sesame seeds. But, just recently, in a small store in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, I had an improved version, which had a bunch of nuts thrown in along with the sesame seeds. These being quite yummy, I called up the company, got the ingredients, and experimented. Well, it wasn't too tough to come up with something that was even better than the store-bought version.
If you do make these, go easy on
them -- they are a touch high in fat and calories.
Honey Sesame Nut Bars
@# cup sesame seeds
cup cashews, roasted, unsalted
cup almonds, roasted, unsalted
1/4 cup peanuts, roasted, unsalted
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roasted, unsalted
2 Tbls. honey
21/2 Tbls. light corn syrup
1 Tbls. sugar
Preheat oven to 250@#F. Mix together the honey, corn syrup, and sugar. Then dump in everything else, and mix really well. Spread out to about -inch thickness on an aluminum-foil-coated baking tray, and bake at 250@#F for 20 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes, and then cut into bars. Serves two.
Pretty much everything is "to taste" in this recipe. So if you hate peanuts and love some other nut, you can substitute freely without any problem. The only thing you need to be concerned about is the "little things" (sesame and sunflower seeds) to "big things" (various nuts) ratio. If you get too many "big things," the bars will hold together even worse than they normally do. Roasted versus unroasted is also a matter of taste. Unsalted, however, is mandatory -- if even one grain of salt finds its way into the mix, you will end up with an inedible, sticky mess. If you can't find an unsalted version of some nut, just leave it out. Between Bread and Circus, Cambridge Food Coop, and Star Market, I didn't have any problems finding everything I needed.
Good luck and good eating.
(Please write to kevinf@athena if you would like to see more recipes of a certain type in this column, or if you have any comments or suggestions. -- KF)