the appetizer:

Learn all about sugar in Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener by Mani Niall, including recipes for Raspberry Sorbet Cream; Smoky Pumpkin Seed Brittle; and Semolina-Citrus Turbinados.

I Love Desserts


Smoky Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Makes about 1-1/2 pounds brittle



I find the combination of sweet and spicy tantalizing, and this riff on peanut brittle tells the story in broad, flavorful strokes. The brittle gets its light texture from the chemical reaction between the alkaline baking soda and the acidic syrup—be sure to use a tall saucepan to allow room for the syrup to foam when the baking soda is added. Pimentón de La Vera, Spanish paprika made from oak-smoked peppers, provides the underlying smoky note. It is not as unusual as you might think-look for it labeled simply "smoked paprika" in the spice section of your supermarket, at specialty food stores, or online.

Lightly yet thoroughly brush a baking sheet and a metal spatula with the vegetable oil.

Stir together the sugar, 1 cup of water, and corn syrup in a tall, heavy-bottomed medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Stop stirring, cover, and cook for 3 minutes.

Uncover and attach a candy thermometer and boil until the thermometer reads 260 degrees F.

Meanwhile, toss together the pumpkin seeds, smoked paprika, and salt in a small bowl. When the syrup reaches 260 degrees F, add to the saucepan, along with the butter. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the syrup reaches 295 degrees F.

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda, which will make the syrup foam and sputter. Immediately pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, using your other hand to spread it as thinly as possible with the metal spatula as you pour. Cool for 5 minutes, then run the spatula under the candy to prevent sticking. Cool completely. Crack into bite-size pieces. (The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)


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This page created May 2009