Erin here–yes, yes. I know. Traditionally The Todd does all the cooking at Chez’ Collard. To me, the kitchen is the “room with the big cold box.” But if it involves sweet, you know I’m suddenly Martha Stewart.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds & An Autumn Brittle That Will Rock Your World
Look, you’re disemboweling that poor gourd anyway, at least put the seeds to good use:
Clean the seeds:
I usually just throw them into a big bowl of water and rub them briskly to get all the goop off the seeds. (Editor’s note: yes, “goop” is a scientific term. Really) Throw the cleaned seeds into a colander and rinse well. The fastest way to dry those bad boys is to spread them out on your cookie sheet and blast ’em with a hair dryer. (Don’t look at me like that! It works!)
Season the seeds:
The Old School solution is either butter, vegetable oil or olive oil. All work well and crisp the seeds nicely when toasting. If you want to get all fancy-dancy, you can add cinnamon, allspice and a little ground ginger to your oil mixture. Usually 4 tablespoons of butter will cover an entire cookie sheet of seeds. I always add coarse sea salt on top.
Baking the seeds:
Pre-heat the oven to 275. Our oven cooks very quickly, so 10 minutes is plenty. Since every oven is different, stir often and keep an eye on those little suckers. It can take from 10 to 30 minutes to toast them to a nice golden brown. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container to maintain crispness.
All very tasty, but why make the effort of being all…you know…domestic and stuff if dessert is not involved?
Autumn Brittle That Will Rock Your World
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Cashews
3/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
2/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
2 and 1/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Golden Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter
Heat the sugars, honey, water and salt in a large pot over a low-medium flame. Use a pot that is larger than you would think necessary because when the mixture begins to boil it will foam up and increase in size. Stir every five minutes or so. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat the mixture until it reaches a temperature of exactly 302 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very important because this is the temperature at which sugar hardens into a rock-like state after it cools. Pay close attention not to go very far above 302, otherwise you will burn the sugar. It can take up to an hour for the mixture to reach that high of a temperature, so don’t get too worried if 15 minutes go by and the thermometer is still at 175.
While the sugar mixture is boiling, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a shallow pan, about 9 x 13 inches in width and length, and grease the parchment paper. Set aside. Once the sugar mixture reaches 302, immediately remove it from heat and stir in the butter, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries until they’re coated in the mixture.
Immediately pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it out into a large rectangle using a rubber spatula. Try to keep the surface relatively even and about 1 inch in height. Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow the brittle to cool for one hour. Once it has finished cooling, remove the sheet of brittle from the parchment paper and break the brittle into pieces using a meat tenderizer or clean hammer. Arrange the pieces on a serving platter and serve. Store excess brittle in a cool dry place.
Culinary credit goes to: Mary Helen Parsons
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