Every year at Christmas I make a couple batches of homemade peanut or cashew brittle to give as gifts. In fact one of the first recipes here on Freutcake was for peanut brittle, the perfect homemade holiday treat. (Yikes, look at that old post.) Brittle never fails to be buttery, salty, sweet, crunchy and the one homemade gift that everyone goes nuts for…no pun intended.
This year however I decided to start the brittle making a bit early substituting hulled pumpkin seeds, or Pepitas, for the usual holiday nuts and adding a dash of cardamom for a spicy, sweet fall flavor.
Do you think anyone will mind receiving “pumpkin” brittle for Christmas? This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Cardamom Pepita Brittle– adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons coarse or flaky sea salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (to taste)
1 1/2 cups of raw, unroasted pepitas
Line a 12x16x1/2-inch baking pan with a silicon or silpat mat.
In a large saucepan combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water; stir together until all the sugar is wet. Cook over medium-high heat stirring with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until it begins to thicken. It may foam, don’t worry, just keep stirring and reduce heat a little if needed.
Continue cooking until the mixture turns a medium golden-amber color. This takes 10-15 minutes so be patient, keep stirring and do not walk away. When golden-amber color is reached immediately remove from the heat, and stir in the baking soda followed by the salt (be careful as the mixture will bubble wildly). Immediately stir in the cardamom and pepitas.
Quickly pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden. Try to spread it out evenly.
Let cool completely and break into pieces with a small hammer or with your hands.
The brittle can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to two weeks. I separate the pieces between layers of waxed paper to prevent sticking.
Freutcake Tips for better brittle:
1. While sugar is cooking, do not walk away…once it turns golden it needs to be removed from heat and stirred right away.
2. Measure and have your ingredients ready. Once the sugar is done you will need to add them quickly.
4. Soak your pan in HOT water after making this recipe and the candy will melt right off.