For the October 28 posting date, we’re making a pumpkin seed brittle out of Elements. More cooked sugar, everyone! Is anyone planning on using fresh pumpkin seeds or adding chocolate to the brittle?
Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Yield: Approximately 2 pounds
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 cups raw, hulled pumpkin seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.
Place the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan a few times to make sure the oil is completely covering the bottom of the skillet. When the oil is hot, after 1 to 2 minutes, add the raw pumpkin seeds and toss with a large spoon until they just start to brown (you want them lightly toasted), about 2 minutes. (Alternatively, toast the seeds in a 350-degree-F oven by tossing them with 1 tablespoon of oil and spreading them in an even layer in a baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, stir the seeds, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.) Transfer the seeds to the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and let them cool.
Place the cooled pumpkin seeds in a small bowl. Remove the paper towels and line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan over very low heat, gently stir together 1⁄4 cup water, the sugar, corn syrup, and honey until the mixture is almost clear. Stir in the butter. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue gently stirring the mixture until it just begins to boil. Stop stirring and cook until the mixture is golden brown, 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the baking soda, then the cinnamon and the remaining 11⁄2 teaspoons of salt. After the mixture has stopped bubbling vigorously (light bubbling is fine), stir in the pumpkin seeds. Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use a lightly greased offset spatula to spread it out in an even layer. Allow the brittle to cool completely, at least 3 hours.
Break the brittle into pieces with a sharp knife or your hands. It can be stored at room temperature, between layers of parchment in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Not sure about using fresh pumpkin seeds, but I do love the idea of chocolate in the brittle!
Erin Star says
I made this a few weeks ago with my fresh pumpkin seeds…this time I’m going with some sort of nut medley, not sure yet! Maybe some chocolate as well.
I made the brittle yesterday and covered it with chocolate- it looks great but I’m not crazy about it. My brittle is fine when you bite into it but it’s too sticky as you chew on it, I’m wondering if I should have cooked the sugar/butter mixture longer as I read on other pumpkin seed brittle recipes up to 300 or hard crack candy on the thermometer.
Unfortunately I followed the recipe as directed and now I have a batch of brittle I don,t like :-(.
I’m wondering how these recipes were tested and thinking the directions aren’t very good, I’m disappointed with this recipe. I have a friend who made the recipe last week and she was happy with her results but figured out she needed to cook the sugar syrup longer so her brittle was more brittle like, oh well!
Erin Star says
Patty – sorry to hear that! I like my brittles dark (like almost burnt) so I cooked my sugar past what was recommended in the recipe. This time I am planning on following the recipe exactly – except that I’m going to add more nuts, not just use pepitas.
I started making mine tonight, and the sugar took FOREVER, like 20 minutes, to resemble a state of “almost clear”. After I put in the butter, it boiled very high, but was still light in color. I let it go longer, but when I took it off, it seemed like the texture was way off, kinda taffy-like. I didn’t bother adding the pumpkin seeds, since I assumed it wasn’t right. I’ll try again tomorrow. How long did your sugar take on the stove? Thanks for your help, fellow bakers! :)
Hi Dafna, Check out other recipes for pumpkin seed brittle recipes- there are quite a few that come up on a Google search that have more detailed instructions I wish I would have done my homework before making this brittle recipe I have a container of pumpkin seed brittle covered with chocolate that I should throw out because it is too sticky to eat – as in may cause a trip to the dentist, lol, actually not funny! I don’t think the sugar mixture should boil for 20 minutes before adding the butter ?! But the instruction ‘almost clear’ may be too vague for a candy recipe- I would like to see actual temperatures for the mixture not just approximate times or instructions such as look for a certain color in the liquid – that are difficult to interpret for a candy recipe. Ok today I will dump my brittle, so sad! I’m not sure I should post this recipe on my blog, even though my brittle looks pretty, I think this recipe might cause confusion for my followers and let’s face it all these ingredients are expensive and there are way better detailed recipes on the web than this one, sorry to say!
Good thinking– I wish that had occurred to me!! My first batch of the sugar mixture was also a dental hazard! I agree that the instructions are a little vague. I wasn’t sure what “almost clear” meant, but it didn’t seem like the color was changing much, so I tossed in the butter, but I let the whole thing cook too long in the end. Thankfully my second batch turned out MUCH better! I’m on the fence about using my thermometer because I’ve burned many a batch of caramel (including BAKED recipes) while waiting for the sugar to reach the right temperature. I’m sorry that yours didn’t turn out– Are you going to post anyway? I know what you mean– you have to consider whether or not it’s worth making a second time because this stuff ain’t cheap! If you do post, I look forward to reading it! :)
This one was trouble-free for me (it’s soooo good!), but I make a lot of caramel so I wasn’t paying that much attention to the directions.
For the first part, I know mine wasn’t really clear – what they mean is to make sure the sugar has dissolved in the water. Once my butter was melted I pretty much stopped stirring and just watched it like a hawk until it was the color I wanted.
It will continue to darken a bit after you turn off the heat, so stop it just before it’s the color you want. I let mine go pretty far because I like a dark caramel.
Patty – your comments about temperatures resonate with me. I had the same complaint many times, but I’ve actually stopped using my thermometer when making caramel, even when temperatures are included. I burned too many pans of sugar because even my good candy thermometer was off by a few degrees, as are most thermometers (Thermapen excluded), and I found that my senses were a better instrument (how it looks and smells in particular).
It sounds like I could learn a thing or two from your caramel experience! In retrospect, I think you’re right about the “almost clear color” vs. the sugar dissolving. Fortunately my second batch turned out pretty well. I totally echo your statement about thermometers– I’ve ruined many pots of caramel, including several for BAKED recipes!
I didn’t even realize I was supposed to be making caramel, I just blindly followed the directions, under cooking the sugar mixture, I’ve made lots of caramel and just go by color and smell, also ruined a few batches of it by burning, I like the dark caramel but for some reason when I made my pumpkin brittle I wasn’t thinking that the sugar should be that dark, figured it out later and learned more from the failure than I would have turned out good;-)
Hi again! Question, so if I posted this recipe how should I change the recipe’s directions to be more specific about how to cook the sugar mixture? Any ideas? Thanks;-)
I haven’t checked in with Baked or the publisher, but I think the best method would be to refer to the posted recipe and outline your changes in your post (maybe even paraphrasing sentences/paragraphs if needed?).
I also try to describe what my mixture looks/smells/feels like with specific and descriptive words that would hopefully help the reader if they are unclear on the original instructions.
Okay, I just made the brittle. I took Sheri’s advice on what “clear” means and just waited for the sugar to melt. And it took almost 10 minutes for it to change colour. It is now cooling on the pan. Am wondering if I’ll be able to crack it as it seems very strong. Sure had to work fast to spread it on the baking sheet!
I think 10 minutes is probably about right. I let my second batch go for about 15 minutes, but nothing seemed to change much in the last 5. Looking forward to reading your post! :)
Mark Neufang says
So sad. This is the 1st Baked Sunday Mornings since I began that I will have to miss. I’ve had an incredibly busy weekend and was not able to get this made and/or written about this weekend. I have some dental work I probably shouldn’t toy with, so it’s probably just as well! Looking forward to reading your blogs!
Erin Star says
Hey all…sorry to hear some of you had trouble with this one. Caramel making can be such a beast sometimes, grrr. But I did the same thing in regards to the “clear” thing…I just waited until the sugar was almost dissolved and then threw in my butter. I normally like my caramel dark, but only cooked for 10 minutes because I wanted to see what would happen – it turned out great! Looking forward to seeing everyones posts tomorrow!
I too have done away with using my candy thermometer religiously…I mostly just go with sight and smell unless making actual caramel candies.
Good morning all!
I was pretty pleased with this recipe… the second time around (again)!
Grrr, just realized I posted in the wrong post. Sorry about that!