Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkin Seed Brittle – Break Some Off This Halloween

This pumpkin seed brittle recipe was a lot easier to make than film. The procedure for nut brittle, or in this case, seed brittle, is very simple, but there are points in the recipe when you have to move fast, which is unfortunate when you have to move a camera and set up shots. 

Even with these challenges, it came out just fine, and I’m only complaining as a way to build confidence. Once your sugar mixture has turned a nice caramel color, you have to immediately turn off the heat, add your baking soda (be careful), then your nuts or seeds (be careful), and hastily mix until combined. As the concoction cools it hardens quickly, so transfer into your pan and press as soon as you can (be careful).

After that, you can relax, unless you are scoring yours into shapes. No pressure, but you only have about two minutes to make your marks. After the brittle is cool, simply break it up, and you’ll be enjoying a crispy, delicious, and very seasonally appropriate treat.

Regarding the salt: you can add it right into the mix like I did, or sprinkle it over the top surface before the brittle is completely cool. That does look kind of cool, but either way, it’s critical, and should not be omitted.

I can’t help you with the tricks, but at least you have one more idea for a treat now. I hope you give this pumpkin seed brittle recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Makes enough Pumpkin Seed Brittle for 12 witches or 8 zombies:
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (3/4 to 1 tsp if using fine salt)


When Life Gives You Sprinkles said...

This looks fantastic!! What about adding some pumpkin pie spice to it? Any suggestions as to when I would add it? Maybe with the salt to the seeds?

BTW I'm taking your word about the sugar and superfood can calling each other out! Now I'm thinking of other naughtyfood/superfood combos!!

PS. I had to look up Y.A Tittle after this one!

Azi said...

What? No cayenne? This would be one place where some heat would be a perfect addi(c)tion ...

Oh well, I'll go back to solving the challenge of chicken rillettes.

barko said...

Chef John, I love your style, but in this case, unless you were joking, you are (like most people probably unwittingly) propagating unfounded HFCS fear-mongering. Here's an excellent article on the subject, even if you decide not to post my comment, take a look for yourself -

Chef John said...

Do you work for the corn industry? Btw, here's a link for you...

irksome1 said...

I'm pretty sure that reading articles about whether or not high fructose corn syrup will kill you, might very well kill you.

Anonymous said...

Hey john! Long time viewer, first time commenter. I love your videos and the fun that comes with them. I'd love to make this brittle recipe, but can I do so without the corn syrup? My husband would flip if he saw it in the house and I already lie enough to him about things I put in his food as it is. Time to take ingredient honesty for a test spin. Thanks!
-- Glen


How about toasting the seeds before dumping them in the syrup?

barko said...

Haha, no I'm not in the pockets of Big Corn chef John - in fact I'm against corn subsidies, but that's a separate topic.

I would take anything Dr. Hyman says with a grain of salt and that article you linked to basically boils down to 2 things - 1. all sugar is bad in the quantities we consume (agreed), and 2. fructose is metabolized differently than sucrose (true up to a point - sucrose is broken down to fructose and glucose, so you get fructose from there as well - with HFCS a bit less is needed for the same amount of sweetness so even though it contains a bit more fructose, approximately the same amount ends up in your body). I can't comment on the mercury anecdote, because it's just that.

And with that, I'll stop highjacking your lovely recipe thread with HCFS debates, if you still disagree we'll agree to disagree, I still love your blog :)

Unknown said...

I've been watching older videos lately. I love 'em, but the quality is lacking. Fast forward to today, and what an amazing difference. Great work. Thanks for caring about the quality. It does make a difference!

Unknown said...

I went out today and bought all the ingredients.. Gonna make it for my little boy's 6th birthday party Saturday... (well, that's what I'm saying... I'll prob eat most of it) ... Just one question CJ ... I don't have a heavy bottomed pot... I only have a heavy stainless steel pot.. Will this work or will it become a burnt sticky mess?
Love your videos btw...
Cheers from Dublin, Eire :-)

Chef John said...

Sorry, but doesn't your heavy stainless steel have a thick bottom? Should work.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the idea. Now I'm thinking of other brittles - how about sesame seed?
What if I used dark corn syrup? What change would that make to the flavour and would I use the same amount?

Chef John said...

Sorry, never tried! Only one way to find out. ;)

Unknown said...

Since this was a Chef John recipe I reflexively added a 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Figured he just forgot to film the step. Worked out really well! Just tossed it in as I was browning the caramel.

Unknown said...

Great recipe, Chef John. Your brittle was a hit at the office today.

For any of the noobs out there (like me) who insist on using a candy thermometer, this method I found online worked for me:

1) Place the sugar/syrup/butter mix on the stove and don't touch until it reaches 240°F.
2) Whisk vigorously from 240°-300°F.
3) Turn off stove and REMOVE from heat source right at 300°. I waited until 305° and it didn't hurt me.

I was using a cast-iron pot, so your mileage may vary. I wouldn't recommend letting your temperature rise above 310°F no matter what cookware you're using.

I also used pre-salted roasted pumpkin seeds and added the full 1.5 tsp of sea salt, and the flavor was grand. Do as Chef John advises--that salt enhances the flavor.

Unknown said...

Did any one else's seeds start making popping noises when they made it? Mine did and freaked me out a little. I wasn't expecting it to come together that quickly either so I had a small disaster but nothing to serious, just down a whisk. It's full off pumpkin seeds because I wwasn't paying attention to what was I'm my hand when I dumped in my seeds. Lol

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John! what could i substitute the corn syrup with for this recipe? im living in a part of the world where corn syrup is very hard to find.

jim said...

Chef...I love your videos and your joy of cooking and teaching.

I had some cashew brittle recently in Rhode Island (NewRivers restaurant)It was AMAZING❗️ The cashews were ground to powder and mixed
into the mix. Fabulous. Any thoughts❓I haven't tried it yet but hope to soon.
Thanks for all you do😊

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John,

Could I substitute the pumpkin seeds for cashews or peanuts without changing anything else in the recipe?