Pumpkin spice is a blend of spices that is often used in pumpkin desserts, though the spice mix itself contains no pumpkin. It is made with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, complimented with other spices like cardamom and allspice. Instead of adding it to pumpkin puree, as I would when making a pie, I added it to pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to make a sweet and spicy pumpkin seed brittle that is perfect for fall snacking!
Though this is brittle, it isn’t your typically brittle because it actually has more seeds than candy in it. I use the same technique when I’m making candied peanuts, but with a larger nut, it is easier to separate the mixture into small pieces. With the small pumpkin seeds, separating them into individual nuts before they cool is just about impossible, so I simply spread the mixture into a single layer and break it into smaller pieces after it has cooled completely. The resulting shards of brittle can be as big or as small as you would like.
The finished brittle is crunchy and sweet, with just the right balance of salt and spices. You can still taste the toasted pumpkin seeds under the sweet coating, largely because there are so many of them packed in there. I have to warn you that this candy is addictive and you might find it difficult to stop snacking once you start.
Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Brittle
3 cups (approx 12 oz) pumpkin seeds, toasted*
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
In a large saucepan, combine pumpkin seeds and sugar. Cook over medium high heat, stirring regularly, until the sugar begins to bubble. When it begins to bubble, stir the mixture more quickly, using a spatula, until the sugar crystallizes completely, about 5 minutes. The seeds and sugar should look very, very sandy and dry.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly to keep the nuts from burning on the bottom of the pan, and the sugar will re-melt and turn a dark golden brown color. Within 4-5 minutes, the nuts should be completely coated in caramel. Add in salt and spices and quickly stir to distribute evenly.
Turn nuts out onto a parchment-lined or silpat-lined surface and spread them into a single layer with your spatula. After they have cooled for 5-10 minutes, break up any large chunks.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 cups.