I realize it’s Christmas Eve. Chances are, the holiday baking is done and you’ve already hung up your candy making apron for the season. Still, I couldn’t resist sharing one last recipe for pumpkin seed brittle.
It’s a recipe I first made four years ago and it’s slowly become part of our Christmas tradition. When I landed in Portland a week ago, one of my dad’s first questions for me was, “Are you going to make that brittle again this year? Anything I can do to help?”
You start by toasting 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds until they crackle and pop. Set them aside and let them cool. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it near the stove. In a roomy, heavy bottomed pot, melt one stick of butter. When it’s just liquid, add 2 cups granulated white sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup and 1 1/4 cups water. Stir to combine.
Cook the toffee over medium-high heat until it turns golden brown. On my mom’s stove in her ancient Revere Ware pots, this takes about 25 minutes. Times will vary depending on the width of your pot, their ability to retain heat and the strength of your stove. One way to test it is to drop small bits onto your parchment covered pan. Once they’re cool, taste them and see if they’ve achieved the proper brittle consistency. If not, keep cooking.
When the toffee is a deep golden color, remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 2 generous teaspoons sea salt. It will foam madly. Keep stirring. Once both are well-integrated, stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds. Pour mixture out onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread using a rubber or silicone scrapper. While it’s still warm, score the brittle into squares using a pizza cutter. When it’s entirely cool (I found that the cold cement floor of my parents’ garage sped the cooling nicely), break into pieces and enjoy.
Just one word of warning here. Don’t use unrefined cane sugar in this recipe. Stick to pure white sugar. If you use sugars with a darker hue, it is VERY hard to tell when the toffee is done cooking. A couple of years ago, I did this and ended up with soggy caramel in place of the brittle. It still tasted good but when it came to texture it was QUITE disappointing.