Dining

Open Sesame

Move over, peanut butter cups: Chocolate and sesame is our new favorite dessert
Bonbons from Stick With Me | Photo: Katie Foster/Tasting Table
Black Sesame-and-Passion Fruit Jam Bonbon

Pity peanut butter, which has been overshadowed in recent years by all manner of alt-nut butters (almond, cashew, etc). But these days you'll find sweets filled with something even nuttier: sesame.

Sesame has long been a staple in Asian and Middle Eastern desserts (black sesame paste dumplings, halva, respectively). But historically, sesame hasn't mixed with chocolate very often—until now.

Chocolatiers and confectioners across the country are melding east and west with a new type of candy, swapping peanuts and almonds for sesame in their chocolate. Step aside, peanut butter cup—we're digging the refreshing twist on a familiar combination.

At the tiny Stick With Me shop by Susanna Yoon (a former chocolatier at Per Se) in New York, the Asian influence shines through. Take the black sesame-and-passion fruit jam bonbon, for example, in a chocolate shell. The bright, puckery fruit notes complement the darker sesame and chocolate beautifully.

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Meanwhile, Brooklyn-based bean-to-bar maker Raaka Chocolate has just started offering truffles, including a sesame oil ganache version with 71 percent chocolate and toasted sesame seeds. Raaka creates "virgin" chocolate (meaning the beans are not roasted but aren't considered raw), and its truffles follow the same ethical and vegan standards as the line's solid chocolates.

On the opposite coast, Bay Area chocolatier Michael Recchiuti makes a sesame nougat truffle and a sesame nougatine bar, both with his signature dark milk chocolate. Speaking of bars, jcoco plays up the health angle with its new agave quinoa sesame bar, with puffed quinoa and Vanuatu milk chocolate. Then there's Hedonist Artisan Chocolates, which blends toasted sesame oil into the cocoa and tops its milk chocolate sesame bark with toasted black and white sesame seeds and fleur de sel.

Of course, some of us prefer to spoon the stuff straight out of the jar. In the past we went with Nutella or one of its many imposters. But no more! Brooklyn Sesame has created a cocoa and sea salt halva spread that will change your life, as will the chocolate-sesame butter from Soom Foods. If you eat it on toast, it counts as breakfast instead of dessert.

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