Bahamian Benny Cake
Joke of the day. I posted a request on Facebook asking if anyone knew where I could find Benny Seed. I had been to the usual spots in the Pinedale area. Had canvassed the spots in The Grove, and was disappointed when stops at what was once the Fruit Market at the Potter’s Cay Dock and the in Fox Hill turned up seedless. My grammy would have had them if she was still alive. The little fruit stall in her yard had people coming in and out for things like grated coconut and benny seed.
As I headed home, I stopped by the lady in my neighborhood and guess what I got the LAST bag of Benny Seed. It cost me about $12.00. It was A LOT of benny seed, otherwise known as Sesame Seed. Really, it’s available in large quantities in the Restaurant Supply stores, but I wanted a particular amount and to support a smaller business owner in the process.
It’s amazing how Benny Cakes, a SIMPLE nut-based candy can be sold and help to bring a smile to people’s days. I’m going to share the recipe with you AND please go and watch Melda242 and her channel on YouTube. She posted a recipe and after making mine, I was happy to see what I did right or wrong by watching she and her husband cook. Here’s my Benny Cake recipe.
1 cup raw Benny Seed (Sesame Seeds)
1/3 cup sugar (as needed)
A pinch of salt.
That’s it. That’s all you need. Four ingredients, a spoon and deep pot.
Bodine’s Chocolate Benny Cake:
1 cup raw Benny Seed
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp lemon zest
A pinch goat pepper
1 pinch salt
Trust me, you’ll love it!
So, looka me trying to use my cute gold skillet talking bout I parching (toasting) Benny Seed. Yeah… so, what you do is heat the pan. You need a pot with HIGH sides. Benny Seeds jump as they are heated. They don’t pop open like popcorn, but they do pop out of the pan.
Heat the pan, add the Benny Seed and stir consistently. If you don’t continue to stir, the Benny Seeds will BURN. That happens very easily. Don’t let that happen. When the popping slows down, you know that the Benny Seeds are done.
I’m suggesting that you may want to remove the parched seeds from the pan and put in a glass or ceramic bowl. The Benny Seeds hold in heat. Add your sugar to the pot and dilute with water. Bring the sugar water mixture to a boil. You want to boil it until it reduces down past syrup stage and is a bit thick. This part is really important. If you undercook the sugar, you won’t get the right texture. Benny Cake is essentially a candy, so if the sugar is under cooked, it will still be grainy and the Benny cake will fall apart when you try to form it. We don’t want that. (If you’re making my chocolate Benny Cake, add the cocoa powder, vanilla and lemon zest here).
Next add the Benny Seeds you had already parched back to the mixture and stir.
Guess what? Your Benny mixture is almost done. Another word of advice. After making this for the first time, here’s what I realized. It’s easier to let the mixture cool a little bit. It will take a while. But let the Benny mixture cool, then take a piece of parchment paper and spoon the mixture onto it, placing them similarly to making cookies.
And now we wait. It takes a while for the Benny mixture to CURE into candy.
I had to wait basically overnight for them to harden, otherwise, they were sticky and gooey; prone to falling apart. So, just be patient. Leave them to cool. The sugar will be super hot and the Benny also holds in heat.