Snapdragon Baking Co.'s Black Sesame Toffee

Categories: Sweet Beat
Jonathan Kauffman
Snapdragon's black sesame toffee, $5 for 4 ounces.
Hway-ling Hsu wasn't trained as a pastry chef, so when she started making brittle last fall, she researched it the way most of us do: She downloaded a bunch of recipes off the Internet, then watched YouTube demos to learn the method. "It turned out to be very fun," she says. "It's sort of like being a witch. You throw a bunch of stuff into a cauldron, bubbles appear, and then when you pour it out, it's totally different."

One flavor begat 15, which range from Dr. Pepper peanut to vegan brittle made with coconut milk and coconut oil. Hsu's located in San Jose, and so far she's placed her Snapdragon Sweets at Barefoot Coffee in Santa Clara, Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos, and the monthly New Taste Marketplace events in Potrero Hill, which is where SFoodie picked up a package of her black sesame brittle this weekend.

The brittle, which looked like an extra thick sheet of nori, resembled a goth girl: forbidding on the outside, sweet and nutty once we got to know it. Once stirred into a bubbling mass of sugar and butter, the unshelled sesame seeds took on a cocoa-nib quality, deep and rich, just shy of savory. The thousands of seeds and their hardened-toffee casing crunched in the mouth like a piece of feuilletine, or perhaps a rustic halvah. (Hsu also makes a vegan version with sesame oil in place of the butter.) If you can't make it to one of the locations where Snapdragon sells its black-sesame brittle, contact Hsu via Snapdragon's Facebook page or e-mail.

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