Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

Food Blog

Recipe of the Week (12/08/2011)

Posted by Bill Abruzzo on December 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Giuggiulena (Sesame and Pumpkin Seed Brittle)

This week's  recipe takes us to the region of SICILIA.  “Passagiata” is an Italian tradition that I adore! On summer nights, Italians take to the streets for a stroll or “passagiata”. They walk off an evening meal, meet up with friend, or head to a gelateria. Whenever I visit my friends in Sicily, we always head to a nearby seaside town to stroll down the waterfront promenade or “lungomare”. This is always the best place for a “passagiata”. There, you will find plenty of cafes and gelaterias. There are also sure to be street vendors displaying piles of roasted nuts, candies, dried fruits and nougat. They are tempting treats and I can never resist buying a bag! Sesame brittle is my favorite snack to munch on while strolling the “lungomare” with friends. It’s a crunchy honey flavored candy you will surely enjoy. When I make it at home, I always throw in some pumpkin seeds too! If you don’t like pumpkin seeds, use whole almonds instead.



Hulled Sesame Seeds (1 lb)

Shelled Pumpkin Seeds (1/3 lb)

Sugar (3 ½ cups)

Honey (2/3 cup)

Salt (½ tsp)


Toast the sesame and pumpkin seeds in a preheated 375 degree oven for 5 minutes, then give them a stir and continue roasting for another 2 minutes or until golden. Spray an 11 ½ by 17 ½ inch non-stick baking tray with cooking spray and set it to the side. Place the sugar, salt and honey in a large saucepan and thoroughly incorporate them together. Place the saucepan on a medium burner, and stir the sugar mixture constantly with a stainless-steel spoon, scraping it from the bottom of the saucepan.

After 10 minutes, the sugar mixture will turn to syrup. Continue simmering and stirring constantly for another 3 minutes or until the syrup turns a medium amber color. Next, remove the saucepan from the burner and gently stir the syrup to remove the air bubbles. Then, quickly stir in the sesame and pumpkin seeds while the syrup is piping hot. Transfer the mixture to the baking tray and spread it to an even ¼ inch thickness. While the giuggiulena is still hot, score it with a knife into 1 ½ inch squares. Allow it to cool completely and then break the squares apart. Makes 50 to 60 squares.


Categories: Desserts + Liqueurs

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Reply Bill Abruzzo
3:59 PM on May 16, 2012 
Try the same recipe using any other type of nut. Just be sure to roast them first! Almonds would be great!
Reply Heather
11:16 PM on April 19, 2012 
I tried this candy. It was easy to make and delicious. It is also healthy too, because there is no butter or cream. Sesame has good fat. Thank you
Reply elena
11:14 PM on December 21, 2011 
I adore this candy! Had it for the first time in Mondello a few years back. I was just cruising the net for a recipe when I came across your blog. It was the only recipe I found in english! Hitting the translate button on google wasn't much help with the Italian language recipes. I am excited to try this recipe for the holidys. Thanks.