Homemade Halloween Candy That’s a Scream to Make: Pumpkin Seed Brittle

When Halloween rolls around, everyone is all like, “candy, candy, CANDY!!” but nobody seems to actually make too much of it. Most people (myself included) make cupcakes or fun cookies. I mean, it’s understandable, though. Candy is flippin’ hard to make!

Well, wait…actually…no, it’s not. It just seems like it would be. And I guess it kind of looks like it would be too, but trust me, it isn’t. Well, this candy isn’t anyway.

I wanted to make something a little more unusual this year, but still in keeping with the season, so pumpkin seeds were my first thought for this recipe. Why not replace the peanuts in peanut brittle with pumpkin seeds? I already had a great brittle recipe, so that put me 90% of the way there already. I just had to figure out the best kind of pumpkin seeds to use, and how to use them. That ended up being stupidly easy, so I was ready to go.

This stuff is so surprisingly easy to make, it’s scaaarrrryyyyy!

Sorry.

I won’t do that again.

More important than the ease, though, is how very, very tasty it is. I don’t even normally like brittle, but I can’t stop eating this. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and toasty, nutty flavors. Plus, it only takes about 15 minutes to cook up (and it can be made vegan, as well as gluten- and dairy-free).

**Important note!! I just discovered this morning, like, right now, that this stuff is even better the next day! Wow.**

I chose to start out with raw, pre-hulled pumpkin seeds, but couldn’t find them anywhere on island, so I ordered mine from Nuts Online. You could probably use already roasted seeds, but I would recommend getting them unsalted.

The raw seeds, also called pepitas, should be pre-hulled (shelled) and greenish colored.

Place the seeds and a little canola oil in a medium skillet set over medium high heat to roast.

 

The seeds will sizzle quietly, then start popping. Keep the pan moving constantly to prevent burning. Once all of the seeds are a golden color (about four minutes later), remove them from the heat and place on a plate for later.

The rest of the brittle ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, butter (unsalted) or margarine, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Oh yeah, and water.

Place both sugars, the corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and water in a two quart sauce pan set over high heat. Stir to combine and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Once the sugar mixture reaches a boil, add the roasted pumpkin seeds and stir well. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (this took me about eight minutes on a gas stove, in an already warm kitchen). If you don’t have a candy thermometer (why? you should get one! they’re Awesome), cook the candy until a small amount dropped in cold water turns to hard, brittle threads.

Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and baking soda, stirring quickly to combine it. Be careful here (Voice of Experience talking)! The butter and soda will cause the hot candy to splutter a little (but not as bad as it does when making caramel). The candy will begin to foam and expand a bit. Make sure that you fully incorporate the butter and soda before moving on.

For an extra treat, sprinkle chocolate chips over half or all of your baking sheet before pouring the brittle mixture over it. I just did a few for our candy, but you could certainly go all out with it. I recommend semisweet chips because they set very nicely.

Pour the mixture onto your baking sheet, covering as much space as possible. If you decide to add chocolate chips, be sure to pour the mixture at least an inch out all the way around them, so the melted chocolate doesn’t ooze out as you spread the hot brittle (once again, Voice of Experience…listen to the Voice of Experience).

When spreading the mixture, you’ll notice that it seems very foamy or bubbly, that’s okay, it’s supposed to look like that.

Spread the brittle as thin as you like. We like it a little thicker around here, but if you want yours thinner, just be sure to spread it quickly, as it cools very fast! Some recipes recommend sandwiching the hot brittle between two pieces of parchment, and flattening it with a rolling pin. I think that this is a great idea and would work great, especially if you want your brittle to be thinner. Just two warnings against that technique (the Voice of Experience has a lot to say about this recipe…):

1. Be very careful of hot candy pouring out of the sides of the two pieces of parchment.

2. If you live somewhere with very high humidity, the candy won’t set fast enough for this method to work. Instead, spread the candy as usual, getting it as thin as you can. If you want it thinner, wait a couple of minutes for it to start setting up, then you can add the top layer of parchment and roll it.

To make your brittle look nicer, as well as making it easier to break, use a pizza wheel to cut score marks into the hot candy before it sets. Allow the candy to set up and cool completely before serving. Once cooled, break into pieces.

This brittle is so good it’s spooookyyyy!

Oh, geez. Did I really just do it again? Sorry.

Well, it is really, really, really good. I love the spice from the cinnamon, and using half brown sugar really adds a lovely depth to the candy. And don’t even get me started on the pieces with chocolate in them. Those pieces murdered me.

Even if you’re not a brittle fan, this stuff will have you coming back for more to munch on over and over again. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Makes about 1 pound

Ingredients

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup hulled, raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or margarine), softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

Semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.

Place the seeds and a little canola oil in a medium skillet set over medium high heat to roast. The seeds will sizzle quietly, then start popping. Keep the pan moving constantly to prevent burning. Once all of the seeds are a golden color (about four minutes later), remove them from the heat and place on a plate for later.

In a 2 quart sauce pan set over medium high heat, combine the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, water, cinnamon, and salt and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the roasted pumpkin seeds and stir well. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook the candy until a small amount dropped in cold water turns to hard, brittle threads.

Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and baking soda, stirring quickly to combine it. Be careful here! The butter and soda will cause the hot candy to splutter a little and the candy will begin to foam and expand a bit. Fully incorporate the butter and soda before moving on.

Immediately pour the mixture onto your baking sheet, covering as much space as possible. If using chocolate chips, pour the mixture at least an inch out all the way around them, so the melted chocolate doesn’t ooze out as you spread the hot brittle. Spread the brittle as thin as you like and score using a pizza wheel, if desired. Allow the candy to set up and cool completely before serving. Once cooled, break into pieces.

recipe by Darla

 

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Comments

  1. Sugarbear says

    @Lonesome Road Studio – I hope you try it! It really is very easy, and completely worth it!

    @Amalia – I debated vanilla when I was tinkering with the recipe, but opted to use the brown sugar instead. I had started out with all white sugar in the recipe, but found that the brown sugar added so much to the candy, even more than vanilla (that seems so sacrilege to say)! And I added a small amount of salt to the actual recipe, but briefly considered also sprinkling a little flake sea salt on top while it was still hot…maybe I'll try that next time! :)

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