Pumpkin Seed Brittle Tested Recipe
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There is always a small bag of raw
pumpkin seeds in my freezer. They are there for when I make granola or to
toast a small handful for a salad. But they are there for another reason,
and that is for this Pumpkin Seed Brittle, a delicious confection made of
toasted pumpkin seeds encased in a cooked sugar syrup. Pumpkin Seed Brittle
is hard and brittle, yet crunchy and sweet. It can be eaten alone or ground
and sprinkled over a bowl of ice cream, as a garnish for frosted cakes or it
makes a nice topping for a pumpkin pie.
All brittles use the most basic of
ingredients (sugar, corn syrup, and nuts/seeds). The formula for
brittles is about equal volumes of
sugar and nuts/seeds, with the volume of corn syrup about half that of the granulated
white sugar. What's important to know is that
the corn syrup controls the grain of the brittle so adding too little and
you have a grainy textured brittle, while adding too much will result in a
stringy and sticky brittle.
When making this Pumpkin Seed Brittle you first need to toast the raw
pumpkin seeds until brown. This can be done in a large skillet over medium
heat. Once that is done the next step is to bring the water, corn syrup,
and granulated white sugar to a boil. Then a candy thermometer is clamped
on the side of the saucepan and the sugar syrup is cooked, without
stirring, until it reaches 285 degrees F (140 degrees C), just above 'soft
crack' stage. Stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds and continue to cook the
sugar syrup, stirring often, until it reaches the 'hard crack' stage (300 degrees F,
149 degrees C). Remove from heat,
and carefully stir in the baking soda, vanilla extract, and butter. The
brittle will immediately puff up but just keep stirring until all the
ingredients are incorporated. (The reason baking soda is added is that it aids in browning and gives the brittle a lighter and
crunchier texture. Butter and vanilla are added for flavor.) The
brittle is then poured, as thinly as possible, onto a cookie sheet. If you want a thin brittle,
then while the brittle is still very hot, use clean gloved hands to stretch the
brittle to how thin you want it. Do this by gently pulling the edges of
the brittle, working your way around the entire mass. Let the brittle
completely cool and then break into irregular sized pieces. Store up to
two weeks in an airtight container or a plastic freezer bag to prevent the
brittle from becoming sticky and breaking down.
Seed Brittle: Generously butter a large baking sheet. Set aside.
In a large
skillet, over medium heat, toast the raw pumpkin seeds until lightly brown.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Have ready the
baking soda, vanilla extract, and butter.
In a medium
sized saucepan over medium high heat, bring the water, corn syrup, and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Then clamp a
candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it does not touch the
bottom of the pan and, without stirring, cook until the candy thermometer reaches
just above soft crack stage (285
degrees F) (140 degrees C). Then stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds and continue
cooking the sugar syrup, stirring often to prevent the pumpkin seeds from
sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, until the the candy thermometer reaches
hard crack stage (300
degrees F) (149 degrees C).
heat and carefully stir in the baking soda, vanilla extract, and butter (the brittle will
puff up) stirring until the foaming almost stops. Immediately pour the brittle,
as thinly as possible (but do not spread), onto
the buttered baking sheet. If you want a thin brittle, then while
the brittle is still very hot, use gloved hands to stretch the brittle until you
get the brittle to how thin you want it. Do this by gently pulling the edges of
the brittle, working your way around the entire mass. Let the brittle completely
cool and then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container or a plastic
freezer bag as this will prevent the brittle from becoming sticky and breaking
down. Store at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Makes about 1 1/2
pounds. Preparation time 1 hour.
Bloom, Carole. 'Truffles,
Candies, & Confections'. The Crossing Press. Freedom, California: 1992.
Candy Making for Dummies. Wiley Publishing, Inc. New Jersey: 2005.
Weinstein, Bruce. The Ultimate Candy Book.
HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York: 2000.
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
1 1/2 cups
(225 grams) raw pumpkin seeds
(120 ml) water
1/2 cup (120
ml) light corn syrup
1 cup (200
grams) white granulated sugar
teaspoon baking soda
pure vanilla extract
tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature