Search for “Who invented peanut brittle” on the internet and you’re sure to come up with a slew of answers ranging from an 1890’s housewife who made an error with ingredients to the Nazi’s needing to feed their troops. Regardless of its origin, brittle is a sweet, crunchy treat made of hardened caramel and nuts. Most of the time.
Because of our love of everything pumpkin, we went searching for unique ways to temp our taste buds. Besides finding several new twists on ye olde pumpkin pie, we stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin brittle! It’s relatively easy to follow and is a great alternative to toasting the seeds as many traditionally do. Work quickly and be sure to keep the little ones away-at least until the sugar cools.
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Water
1/8 t. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
3/4 C. Raw Pumpkin Seeds (not toasted; 4 oz)
1. Tape a long sheet of parchment on a work surface. Be sure it’s anchored well on all sides.
2. Bring sugar, water, and salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, about 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless).
3. Remove from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, about 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted).
5. Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately lay another sheet of parchment paper over the hot sugar and roll out as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly.
6. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Gourmet Magazine, Jan.’05