This brittle is also easier than pie, and is a really impressive little snack to much while Trick or Treaters are paying visits, to serve with cheese platters or on top of ice cream, or crumbled over salads for the tiniest bit of crunch. All you need are 20-30 focused minutes (and by focused, I mean just paying attention to the pot, likely while sipping a glass of wine and talking to your mom on the phone.)
The most challenging part of making brittle, or any kind of caramel, is making sure that your sugar doesn’t crystalize — when sugar improperly crystalizes, you end up with grainy, discolored and less tasty treats. Basically, the crystals are impurities. Think of that pot of sugar like a roll of film to be developed – the impurities are light and if you allow any light to touch the film (ie: the sugar) the batch is ruined!
The best way to prevent this from happening to your candy is being sure that you start with absolutely, positively squeaky clean cooking equipment, measuring equipment, clean water, and pure sugar. During the cooking process, use a pastry brush or basting brush to “paint” down the sides of the pot so that little crystals that jump up onto the sides while the pot is bubbling don’t crystalize. And, when you dip your thermometer in to test the temperature, make sure to wipe off the tip each time.
Beyond this, the process is easy – I promise. 🙂
Now, go! Make candy! And don’t forget to share with others! – xo L
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted; 4 ounces)
- Special equipment: parchment paper or silpat sheets, a heat-proof pastry brush or basting brush, a rolling pin and a candy thermometer
- Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape. If you have two large silpat mats, this is the perfect use for them!
- In a medium sized (2-quart saucepan) bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil - swirl the pot until sugar is dissolved. Don't stir as this can encourage crystals to develop....just let the pot bubble! Cook the mixture, without stirring, until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, or for 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). While the mixture cooks, you should be washing down/painting the sides of the pan with the pastry brush dipped in clean, cold water. Once the desired temperature is reached, remove the pot from heat and stir in pumpkin seeds with a wooden spoon, stirring to evenly coat all of the pumpkin seeds. At this point, the sugar will crystalize - stir for 3 minutes or so.
- Then, return pan to moderate heat and cook until the sugar syrup turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted and start to POP). Remove from heat prompty and carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out the caramel (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Immediately remove the top sheet of parchment (or silpat) and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. (Alternately, you can break the brittle into pieces once cool.)
- Note: Brittle can be made 2 weeks ahead and kept, layers separated by wax paper, in an airtight container.