pumpkin seed brittle

Fall is here, right?  Right??  So why was it still 105° when I high-tailed it out of the desert last weekend?  Can you tell me that?  This oh, so long stretch of endless summer prompted a week-long getaway to Michigan during Kat’s “Fall Break,” at school.  Well, it’s not much of a break if it doesn’t feel like fall.  Sometimes you just have to go after what it is you’re craving…like spiced apple cider, and crunchy fall leaves, and anything, Anything, ANYTHING with pumpkin in it.
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I don’t recall how this recipe landed in my in-box, but it had my attention pronto.  The whole concept of pumpkin seeds in brittle was not something I’d ever considered.  Peanuts, yes.  Pecans, yes.  Cashews, oh my word, yes!  But never pumpkin seeds.  And, really, in this case, the raw, hulled, green version better known to most cooks as pepitas.  Now those, I’m familiar with.  I toss them into salads and tortilla dishes all the time.  This was my first experience using them in candy.
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There’s only one word I can use to describe the finished product: Yum!  This stuff is so good (it’s brittle, after all), and so addictive.  Clearly I need to package it up and give it away to neighbors and teachers and random, kind strangers – if that wouldn’t seem completely creepy.
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Make it!  You’ll see!!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted; 4 ounces)
  • Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer

Directions:

Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape.

Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). Remove from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.

Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted). Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. (Alternately, break brittle into pieces once cool.)

*Cook’s Notes:  You’ll note I underscored a couple of words in the directions.  If you’ve never worked with molten hot sugar, you’ll want to take note of those underscores.  Sugar must be stirred constantly or you’ll have one gosh-awful stink in your kitchen.  And probably a pan you’ll want to dispose of rather than wash.  Also, molten hot sugar cools really, really fast.  So when the directions say to do something “immediately,” seriously…do it!  Don’t answer the phone, check your Facebook status updates, or send a Twitter tweet.  You’ll be done for!  Enjoy!!

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