Baked Sunday Mornings: Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Knowing that this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is "Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle," I made a point of buying a pound of raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) at Surfas in Culver City when I was visiting my parents a couple of weeks ago. I can easily buy pepitas here at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, but the ones at Surfas were the most beautiful ones I have ever seen -- they were very large, although quite flat.

I usually buy roasted, salted pepitas, but the Baked brittle recipe includes instructions for toasting your own, so it was convenient that the ones I got from Surfas were raw. I toasted the seeds by cooking them in hot oil in a skillet for a couple of minutes, spreading them out on paper towel-lined baking sheets, salting them, and allowing them to drain and cool. I found that the seeds were quite greasy after cooking them, and I had to go through a couple of changes of paper towels and a lot of blotting to make the seeds less oily.

To make the brittle, you cook water, sugar, corn syrup and honey until the sugar dissolves, add butter, and then bring the mixture to a boil and let it cook undisturbed until golden brown. The recipe says that after the mixture reaches a boil, it will take 8-10 minutes to reach the desired color. It was difficult for me to tell what color the mixture was, because it was quite frothy and all I could see was bubbles. I cooked it for 10 minutes, added baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and then stirred in the roasted pumpkin seeds and spread the mixture out on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool.

Unfortunately, this my first batch of brittle turned out to be burnt. It was the color of mahogany, although the cinnamon in the brittle also contributed a bit to the dark color. I wanted to make another batch of brittle, but the grocery stores have been a bit of a zoo lately with everyone stocking up for hurricane Sandy, so I didn't have a chance to get some more seeds until late yesterday afternoon. I got them at World Market, and I could only get seeds that were already roasted and salted (and much smaller than the seeds I bought at Surfas). To be honest, I was all to happy not too go through the hassle of toasting my own seeds again.

I made another batch of brittle, and this time I only boiled it for 8 minutes. The finished color (again, due to the cinnamon) is sort of orangey, which I suppose is fitting for pumpkin seed brittle!

This batch of brittle turned out perfectly. The cinnamon added a delicious and unusual flavor. I wish I had used more pumpkin seeds (or maybe added some nuts), because I didn't think that there was enough texture to the brittle. And although the brittle had a nice crunchy texture without being too hard to eat, it was also slightly tacky to the touch, which I guess is why the recipe says it needs to be stored between layers of parchment paper. The recipe also says the brittle can only be kept for a week. These characteristics make this brittle inconvenient for gift gifting. I often make nut brittle and package it in cellophane bags to give away; it makes a good gift precisely because it's easy to handle and lasts for a month.

I really love the cinnamon in this recipe. I think that this brittle was tastier than another pumpkin seed brittle recipe that I've previously tried. However, I like the ease of Karen DeMasco's brittle recipe from Craft of Baking and that brittle is perfectly dry and hassle free to store. I think I might try making her brittle with cinnamon and pumpkin seeds and seeing how it turns out.

Recipe: "Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Your next batch did turn out perfectly! Looks lovely. And I absolutely love your dish. And even faced with a hurricane you soldiered on!! Good show! Hope all is okay there.
erinstar41 said…
Your brittle is lovely, I too loved the cinnamon in it. I never would have thought to add it before making this recipe. Craft of Baking has so many good recipes, maybe I need to try the brittle since I've never made it.
Candy said…
Your brittle is beautiful. I loved the cinnamon here too!
Anonymous said…
I went through the same process of making it twice because it was so hard to tell when the sugar was "ready". Fortunately I decided to toss the first batch before adding the seeds, but still. Great work, your second batch looks lovely! :)
Sheri said…
I love your bowl! And I absolutely love Craft of Baking, too - you're right, that's a great brittle recipe.