Why It Works
- The ingredients can be tossed into a bowl and mixed until a dough comes together. No fancy equipment required.
- With homemade sesame sticks, you can customize the finished product by controlling the type and amount of fats and seasonings used.
In DIY attempts to mimic packaged goods, it often comes down to the shape of things. Cookie cutter defines mass production. When a homemade version of this sort of food is even a bit off visually, it can ruin the illusion—no matter how good it is, the look may beat out the taste in the rush to judgment.
Maybe it's just me, but that's where I sometimes find myself getting frustrated in the kitchen. I feel an imaginary Tim Gunn peering over my shoulder, his exasperated voice urging me to pull it together, make it work, and get it in the oven already, even though my efforts have only produced a cheap imitation. And that's where I stood with these sesame sticks. Those traditional snakes of seed-flecked dough confounded me. Could I use a dough thin enough to push through a wide pastry tip and still get the taste I wanted? I could not. Could I use the dough I preferred for taste and just cut it into small rectangles? I could, but something was missing. It felt more like eating very small crackers than the customary bulk-bin treat.
So I picked up a small piece of dough and rolled it briskly between my palms a couple times. Et, voila! A small snake of a sesame stick. That said, by the end of rolling the batch, I was seriously questioning this added-labor decision just to get the visual. Next time, I might just roll the dough out a little thicker, cut the strips narrow, and call that shape...well, close enough for homemade.
Requiring no fancy equipment, this recipe couldn't be easier—just toss the ingredients into a bowl and stir up the dough. In this way, the cook also controls the type and amount of fats and seasonings that end up in the finished product, so you can really have some fun with it. Still, in my house, sesame sticks are an occasional snacking treat, not a weekly staple, and simply pulling down the bar on the bulk bin of Cajun Hot Sticks—even if I have no idea how long they have been sitting in there—will remain a tempting option.
1 cup (about 5 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) fine cracked wheat
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon beet root powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sesame oil (plain, not toasted finishing oil)
6 tablespoons water
Combine flour, sesame seeds, cracked wheat, turmeric, beet powder, garlic powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.
In a small bowl, combine water and oil. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand.
Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic, flattening into inch-thick squares. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into small rectangles (approximately 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch). Alternately, roll and cut dough to your desired shape. Uniformity is more important than size to assure even baking.
Leave the pieces as they are or roll each one quickly between your palms to form thin rods. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, then flip or roll the pieces around on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown. Continue baking 5 to 8 minutes more, until sticks are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
I used beet powder because it is an ingredient listed in most commercial versions of the sticks. However, it seems to be more for color than for taste, so you may eliminate it if desired.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 7g||9%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|