Crunchy, caramelly, salty and seedy goodness all combine in this easy Pepita Brittle. The addition of warming spices gives it a cosy autumnal note. This pumpkin seed brittle is a great topping for ice cream or good as a treat all on its own.
I love snacking on roasted and salted pepitas (you may call them pumpkin seeds) all on their own, but incorporating them into a brittle lends them a new level of elegance. And really, isn’t that sweet and salty combination everything one looks for in a treat? It is for me.
Pepita brittle is a quick and easy way to add sweet flair to a dessert — like Pumpkin Ice Cream — and the addition of warming spices adds a cosy autumnal note.
Sugar Syrup Smarts
Yup, that title’s a bit of a pun, but a molten sugar burn is no joke. You need to take care any time you work with molten sugar; hot sugar syrup burns can be dangerous. Make sure your pot is big enough to accommodate any bubbling up, and keep little ones and pets (not to mention bumbling grown-ups) at a safe distance while making a hot sugar syrup.
A Sweet Way to Get Cracking
Once you’ve poured out the molten pumpkin seed brittle and it cools, you then have the added fun of breaking it into appropriately sized shards for whatever use you have in mind for it. My favourite use is simply to crunch away out of hand, but the more refined among you will want to use it to garnish desserts.
Once it’s completely cooled and hardened, store the Pepita Brittle in an airtight container and keep it under dry conditions. Moisture is not the friend of brittles. I’ve seen that you can freeze brittle, but that’s not something I’ve tried. This recipe makes a modest batch and, frankly, it just doesn’t hang around here that long. It’s simply irresistible!
It’s Time to Make Brittle
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- pinch salt (Omit if you can only find salted, roasted pepitas)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup unsalted, roasted pepitas (I used 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Before starting, line a baking tray with a Silpat or similar heatproof liner that will release the cooled brittle. (I've seen recipes that call for plain parchment paper or parchment coated with oil or butter, but I haven't tried these methods.)
- Place the pepitas and spices in a measuring cup and set aside.
- Put the sugar, water and salt in a large heavy saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved, while bringing the concoction to a boil. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to carefully dissolve any sugar crystals that occur on the side of the pot.
- Cook until the syrup takes on a deep amber colour. It should look like a dark caramel and have the characteristic caramel aroma. (There's a fine line between just right and burned, so this may take some practice. Fortunately, the ingredients are relatively inexpensive and the time investment short should you have to start again.)
- As soon as the perfect colour has been achieved, and while still on the heat, pour in the pepitas and spice mixture (they will cool down the syrup a bit). Note, there may be some bubbling up at this point. Working quickly, stir everything together. (I learned the hard way that if you take the pot off the heat to stir in the other ingredients, the mixture will cool too quickly and the sugar can crystallize.)
- Quickly pour the hot syrup and pepita mixture onto the prepared tray, moving the pot as you do so to spread it out. Use a silicone spatula to further spread the mixture while hot.
- Let cool and, once hard, break into pieces of the desired size.
Looking for More Pumpkin Ideas?
There’s so much to do with pumpkin, both sweet and savoury. I recommend you try Maple Pecan Pumpkin Bars if you find the idea of pie daunting, or Pumpkin Spice Granola for breakfast and snacks. And on the savoury side, give this Curried Pumpkin Coconut Chickpea Soup a try — you’ll be glad you did.
First Published 2014 10 06
Republished 2017 10 31
Republished 2021 10 07