I don’t know about you, but I can only eat so many roasted pumpkin seeds. When I’m carving the jack-0-lantern each year, I initially get excited about the idea of munching on these little snacks. Year after year, however, I find that the first handful or two of salty-crunchy seeds are always enjoyable but then I find I get a bit tired of the taste. This grown-up candy is the perfect way to turn ordinary roasted pumpkin seeds into something truly appealing; the hint of cardamom gives it an extra flavour boost. You can eat the brittle as is, or use it as a garnish for desserts like cheesecake and panna cotta or even savoury dishes like roasted vegetables or salad.
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) raw pumpkin or squash seeds
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) olive oil
- ¼ (1.25 mL) teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) white sugar
- ½ cup (125 mL) water
- ½ cup (125 mL) corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground cardamom
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In a small bowl, toss the well rinsed seeds (make sure there is little to no stringy pumpkin flesh clinging to the seeds) with the olive oil and salt.
- Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are just beginning to turn brown (about 20 – 25 minutes).
- Remove the seeds from the oven and set aside.
- Line a clean, large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil and the sugar is dissolved. This will take about 15 minutes; do not be tempted to rush the process by turning up the heat as the sugar will burn.
- Once the sugar mixture is boiling, let it continue to cook but do not stir. With an instant read thermometer (or a candy thermometer), check temperature often.
- When the temperature of the sugar mixture reaches 285F (soft crack stage, in candy making terms), add the roasted pumpkin seeds and stir to blend well.
- Continue to cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, continuing to check temperature often and stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 300F (hard crack stage) – approximately 5 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and add butter, baking soda, vanilla and cardamom. It will foam up a little but stir vigorously to blend well.
- Quickly pour the mixture out onto the parchment lined tray. With the back of a silicone spatula, spread the brittle into as thin a layer as possible.
- Let the brittle cool completely and break into pieces; store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes about 4 cups of brittle.