7-Minute Pumpkin Seed Brittle

7 minute pumpkin seed brittle | Modern Mrs Darcy

I love pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) and I’ve been itching to make Alton Brown’s pumpkin seed brittle since I first laid eyes on the recipe. So today I gave it a try, thinking it would make a lovely hostess gift to take to our Thanksgiving dinners.

Well, this recipe from usually-reliable Alton was a total bust. (I had fair warning–the reviews were pretty bad.  If only I’d read them in advance!)  My sugar kept crystalizing and the “brittle” didn’t harden. Yuck.

But before I gave up altogether, I decided to tweak my favorite candied pecan recipe and see what happened.  Because my favorite candied pecans are crispy and crunchy–just like brittle.  It worked!  Here’s how I did it:

7-Minute Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  • 3/4 cup white table sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne (or more for spicy brittle)
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside.
  2. Place pumpkin seeds in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat.  Shake gently for 2-3 minutes to toast.  (The pumpkin seeds won’t be completely toasted.  You just want to give them a head start on the sugar.)
  3. Add sugar, salt and spices to skillet.  Stir occasionally with wooden spoon.  Do not add water. After several minutes, the sugar will begin to look sticky.  After several more minutes, the sugar will begin to melt.  Stir continually, coating the nuts with the melted sugar.
  4. When sugar is completely melted and has reached a medium amber color, empty contents of skillet into thin layer onto prepared sheet.  Spread thin with wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Let cool and break into pieces.  Store in cookie tin or glass jar with tightly fitting lid.

Note:  if the sugar does not seem to be melting after about five minutes, your stove may not be hot enough.  Increase the heat to medium-high and continue as directed.  Monitor very carefully.

(Head over here for more pointers about caramelization and cleaning your equipment.)

You can see in the picture that my pumpkin seed brittle is jam-packed with pumpkin seeds.  I like it that way–more seeds, less sugar–but you can easily adjust the proportions to suit your preference.

It only takes 7 minutes and it’s so good!  This pumpkin seed brittle would make a great little nibble for the holiday table, or a sweet little hostess gift.

What’s your favorite holiday nibble?


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  1. Barbara says:

    Yum! And if you switch out the cinnamon for cumin, plus some red pepper flakes, you get a sweet and spicy — great for eating with grown-up beverages. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Oh! This looks yummy! I love pumpkin seeds. I will have to try this one. I roasted the seeds from our garden with some sea salt (in shells) to take for snacking on our trip for Thanksgiving. Too bad my in-laws dog ate them all when we were at the store one day. Whoops!

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