10 January, 2011

Seaweed Sesame Squares

Do you watch food channels on TV? I love them. It's an acquired taste, at least in my case. When I met my now husband years ago, my cooking skills didn't go much beyond making a cheese sandwich. So when I learned that my husband loved to watch BBC Food or Food Network, it struck me as very strange and not particularly in his favor. Fortunately, there were enough other good things about him, that made me oversee this food channel obsession.

Several years fast forward, I love to watch food channels myself. When I am too tired to watch a  movie or clever documentary, I switch on to some food channel. One of my favorite programs these days is CHOPPED on Food Network. In CHOPPED, contestants are presented with a mystery basket that contains a quirky combination of three ingredients for either starter, entree or dessert. The other day, contestants were asked to make an entree out of a whole turkey, kale and marshmallows. Get the drift? Originality and creativity is being asked for, and although I will probably never find out, how turkey stuffed with kale and marshmallow tastes like, I love to watch what these chefs do with the ingredients.

Now here is my mystery basket: sesame seeds, seaweed and maple syrup. Make some utterly delicious seed bars!! Who would have thought of putting seaweed and maple syrup into the same pot. Add some nuts and seeds and I promise you, it works.
It's not my idea, I experimented with recipes that I found here and here. Even my much loved Flavor Bible didn't have an answer to this flavor combination. This bar will surely be one of my all-time favorites: a deliciously sweet seed bar with all the good and nutritious things that come naturally with sesame, nuts, seaweed and maple syrup.
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SEAWEED SESAME SQUARES


1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup almonds, chopped

1 1/2 sheets Nori seaweed, cut into almond size slivers
1/4 cup maple syrup

Yields 8-10 squares
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Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Combine all seeds and the chopped almonds in bowl. In a large dry pan over medium-low heat, roast seeds and nuts for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir regularly to provide even roasting. Transfer back to bowl. Stir in Nori slivers.
Pour maple syrup over the seaweed seed mixture and stir until mixture is evenly coated and sticky.

Use the prepared baking sheet as surface and fill large cookie cutters with the batter. Press down the batter. with a teaspoon or your fingers. Gently remove the cutter to keep the bars in shape. Repeat until all batter is used up.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool a little on baking sheet. Then carefully remove bars from the parchment paper. They might still be sticky underneath. Transfer to cooling rack, or simply turn bars upside down to coll and dry completely.

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs         What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water - Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers         The Flavor Thesaurus: A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook

20 comments:

  1. Nope - I wouldn't believe it...unless it was you telling me Anja. I'm going to try this recipe for sure.

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  2. Sally, let me know if you liked them when you make them. I am very curious to know!!!

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  3. I am definitely going to try these! Thank you for sharing. And I love watching food channels.

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  4. That's so funny, I've been wanting to get more seaweed into my diet for all of the nutritional benefits. I've been having symptoms of an underactive thyroid/hormone and getting more Iodine and Iodide may help.
    Will give these a try. I have some seaweed in my cupboard, I'll have to see if it will do.

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  5. @ Healthy Mamma, I think as long as the seaweed is thin enough to bite through easily, any seaweed will work in here. Good luck and let me know how you liked them.

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  6. I'm making these this weekend and cannot wait to try them!!!! I love seaweed, and love sesame seeds so it should be divine!

    Samantha
    http://flavorator.blogspot.com/

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  7. This is such a cool idea! Can't wait to try it out!

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  8. @ Samantha, Jenniger and Jacluyn
    Glad you like the idea of this. Let me know how you liked them. I have modifified the cooking directions a bit. You really need to press the batter into the cookie cutter. Otherwise they will not hold together.

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  9. wow, yet another funky and creative ingredient combination - you've got true talent to attempt such counter-intuitive combinations!
    (PS. I really connected with this post! Everything from Food Network to the turkey and marshmellow episode on Chopped to the Flavor Bible, one of my most loved books too!)

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  10. Ooh! These look delicious! It also looks like they could be made raw really easily by using raw seeds and a dehydrator. These might be one of the first things I make in my new dehydrator - thanks!

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  11. Oh my word, these were soooo delicious! I ended up following the same recipe, just using amaretto agave nectar instead of maple syrup, scrumptious! Perfect snack.

    - Samantha
    http://flavorator.blogspot.com/

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  12. @ Sarah
    I believe it can be done in a dehydrator. Please let me know how the raw version turned out. And how you liked them.

    @Samantha
    I am so glad you like them. I find them absolutely incredible too. Just stocked up on more maple syrup today :-)

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  13. Anja,

    I was curious to know if you think these would freeze well? and for how long they will last on the shelf or in the fridge?

    Thanks,
    Anne.

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  14. Anne,
    I don't have much experience with freezing, but otherwise these squares will keep easily for a couple of weeks in an airtight container, either in the fridge or at room temperature.

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  15. Oh, wow! I have to admit that when I saw this recipe posted on the Bauman forum I was skeptical about the seaweed-maple combo. But after seeing the photo I've changed my mind. Must be true that we eat first with our eyes...Will try them soon!

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  16. I'm a big fan of both seaweed and sesame, so when I saw this recipe I reacted similar to how someone else might react after seeing a recipe for nut-laden double chocolate mega fudge caramel brownies (not that I'd have anything against those, either). :-> Hope I get to try it out soon!

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  17. Hi, Anja! I made these bars today, and they were absolutely delicious--the only problem was that the mix stuck to the parchment paper, which was also stuck to the bottom of the pan, and when I tried to remove everything, it just all crumbled. Instead of using cookie cutters and a baking sheet, I just pressed the mix into the bottom of a 8x11 pan and then baked it for the full 20 minutes. What do you suppose was the problem? Any guidance would be very much appreciated. I plan on attempting these again ASAP because they are truly fabulous!

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  18. Hmmm, just made these. they taste good, but the parchment sticks to it, sooooooooooo, you can't really enjoy them, because they are covered in parchment. ??????????? sucky to have to waste a bunch of organic seeds. :(

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  19. Oh my! These are amazing!! I used the ring from a small mason jar as a cookie cutter and ended up with 7 1/2 bars. When these first came out of the oven I was worried that they wouldn't come off the parchment paper. But, I let them cool completely and then they just slid off - super-easily. They taste sort of like the really expensive "KIND Bars" that they sell here in the USA, except these are better! I want to make them again and use more/different nuts and seeds, and maybe increase the seaweed. Thanks for this recipe!

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  20. I have had these bookmarked forever - and I finally found some nori to justify trying it. These didn't come off a silpat all that well, but it is really, really good! I used some of the crumbled broken bits as a praline for banana muffins. Thanks for the reciepe!

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