Giuggiulena – Sicilian Sesame Candy

One of my favorite places in the world, Sicily is home to deceptively simple cuisine, revealing deep layers when you start digging. For example, this candy, and the fact sesame, almonds, and oranges are grown there, stems from a history of Arab rule. I’ve added a layer and made this traditional recipe my own, including olive oil which makes the mass less sticky and easier to work, and our Apollonia N29 blend for its deep yet bright flavors. It is made from very few ingredients, so quality is paramount; find the best sesame, orange, and honey you can get your hands on, and be ready to taste something amazing.

Apollonia N29 – Recipe by Christian Leue

Makes 1kg candy, approximately 40 2×2″ pieces


300g sugar (1 1/2 cups)
200g honey (a bit less than 2/3 cup, orange blossom works great)
500g toasted sesame (prefer Ispica Sicilian, Japanese, or Ethiopian)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Apollonia
Zest of 1 orange, cut into thin strips
80g toasted almonds (optional, prefer Sicilian)


Lay a piece of parchment paper on a heatproof surface, and have a rolling pin ready.

Heat the sugar, honey, and olive oil in a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Once the sugar has melted completely (this will take about 20 minutes), stir in the spices, then the zest, then the sesame seeds, and nuts, if using. Stir well to combine; it will get pretty thick and difficult to stir.

Once the mixture is homogenous turn it out onto your parchment paper and begin flattening the mass with a rolling pin, rolling out to 1/4” thick and trying to keep it in roughly a square shape.

While the candy is still warm, slice into strips, squares, or diamonds with a sharp knife. Rub the knife with a bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking.

Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, then break the pieces apart. Giuggiulena can be stored for up to 4 weeks in a tightly sealed container.

Fun to Try

• Play with different spices and fruit: (Shabazi, lemon zest, toasted whole coriander seeds), (Espelette, mandarin zest, crystallized ginger), (Oz, toffee pieces, black sesame), (Desert Rose, sumac, pistachios), (Mishmish, amchoor, puffed rice)

• Keep the sesame mass warm over very low heat and roll out small quantities at a time into very thin sheets (1-2 sesame seeds thick). Cut out circles and form them over thin rod molds to make open ended tubes. Allow to cool completely, then pipe full of spiced pastry cream (some ideas, Cancale, Yemen and halva, Orchidea and green tea).

• As above roll out very thin sheets on parchment. Cut into 4-inch triangles while still warm and move the sheet to a drying rack to cool and firm up. Use to garnish a banana split along with shredded halva and chocolate sauce.

Past February Recipes

2018 – Shakshuzza – Shakshuka Pizza

2017 – Shakshuka


Food images and recipe © Christian Leue

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