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Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle

This is autumn in its purest form, by which I probably mean its most candy-like form. Forget maple sugar drizzled on snow and all those other mental images we all picked up from Little House on the Prairie – this brittle is the real deal.

Offering to friends and officemates has been a blast, because people have a hard time identifying the ingredients. Chocolate? Nuts? No one knows.

The brittle was delicious on its own, but I think it would be even better as a crunchy garnish to cheesecake or some other creamy dessert. And I’m actually considering making up another bash to garnish the pumpkin curry cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting I’m making for a friend’s wedding this weekend. The authors of the recipe, which I originally found in Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate, even suggested grinding it up into brittle crumbs and using it to brighten up your oatmeal in the morning.

I really love dishes which work well as components in a large variety of meals, because they feel like not only a tasty finished product, but also like yet another tool to work with.

Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle
(from Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger)
1/4 C raw green pumpkin seeds
1/4 C cocoa nibs
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
A pinch of cayenne

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking very frequently, until they begin to pop. Set them aside to cool.

Set up a baking sheet covered with a Silpat.

Bring the sugar, water, and cream of tartar to a simmer together in a small saucepan. Continue to simmer until it starts to develop a nice light caramel color that appeals best to you. Stir in the other ingredients, then quickly pour it all out onto the baking sheet and spread it thin as you can with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Let it cool and harden before breaking off pieces to serve and devour.

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26 Responses to “Pumpkin Seed Cocoa Nib Brittle”

  1. nex0s says:

    Look! It’s totally gluten and dairy free!

    YAY FOR ME!!!!

    I know what I am making this weekend!


  2. nex0s says:

    Also, if I don’t have a silpat what should I use? Oiled parchment paper? Wax paper?


  3. Danielle says:

    Oh, either way. I fear wax paper, because I’d hate for the wax to melt, so probably parchment.

  4. Dana says:

    This looks fantabulous. You’re right — I bet this would go really well with cheesecake or some sort of mousse (maybe even pumpkin mousse!). Yummm.

  5. Danielle says:

    Dana, what a great idea! I should make this brittle to garnish my pumpkin nests next time I make them, too.

  6. Deborah says:

    I think this would make a lovely garnish. It is very unique!!

  7. deb says:

    This is brilliant. I must make it.

  8. brilynn says:

    I definitely want some of this crumbled on top of ice cream…

  9. JEP says:

    Beautiful photo!

  10. Andy says:

    That looks amazing! Great way to put my leftover pumpkins to use also.

  11. Nabeela says:

    That’s a nice idea to use it as a topping…would it work well mixed in a meringue?

  12. mr.ed says:

    Thanks for this, Danielle. If you can’t find pepitas, try pistachios. Or pecans. There are many silicone pans in various shapes to pour the mixture into to make interesting shaped versions. Wait ’til the mixture cools, if you can. But you can’t, can you? Just a sample to make sure it’s done…

  13. Vanessa says:

    Pumpkin curry cupcakes???? You taunt me so! Now I’m obsessing about these and I hope you’ll post the recipe soon….please.

  14. Sherry says:

    Wish I had smell-er-net…lol…I bet that smells wonderful :-)

  15. McAuliflower says:

    …reading ingredient list… darn.

    I was just about to ask how you shelled all those pumpkin seeds!

  16. Michelle says:

    I didn’t have cayenne, so I made it with chipotle powder and a few grinds of sea salt. It turned out fabulous! I never would have thought of using cacao nibs, so thanks for the inspiration. This will definitely be a holiday staple for this year!

  17. Wow, I have never seen anything like this. Very interesting and pretty.

    By the way, got your comment about culinary tour. I have yet to figure out my next trip back but I will remember you and Dave and will let you know. Who knows, our schedule might work…:)

  18. Danielle says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Brilynn – Great idea!

    Nabeela – Maybe, though I’d eat it quickly that way before it melts into goo.

    mr.ed – Great ideas!

    Vanessa – As soon as I get the wedding photos, I’ll post the recipes for all the cupcakes we made.

    Michelle – Thanks for the feedback, I’m glad to hear you liked it!

    Bee – Excellent! That’d be really awesome, if we could make it happen.

  19. Zsofi says:

    Hi Danielle, this looks absolutely amazing! (and I think I recognize that black thing:). btw, I got the magazine today, thank you so much!!!

  20. Mary says:

    That looks unbelievably delicious. I totally want to make them, but where did you get the cocoa nibs? Can you order them online?

  21. Danielle says:

    Zsofi – Heh, you sure do.

    Mary – I’m sure you can order them online, though they’re actually fairly commonly sold at gourmet stores under the Scharffenberger brand.

  22. What an interesting treat! I have a box of cocoa nibs in the pantry that I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with. This looks like a good start.

    Your photo is just beautiful. So creative!

  23. Danielle says:

    StickyGooeyCreamyChewy: Well, first, I must say that your name itself is making me hungry. And next, well, cocoa nibs! Let me point you towards the entire ever-growing collection of my cocoa nib recipes.

  24. Danielle- Thanks for pointing me to the other recipes. I am printing out the post for the Cocoa Nib Caramel and Almond Butter Nougat Bars as I write this.

    By the way, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy is not my real name, ;) but I’m glad you like it. I am a lawyer too, but I don’t practice anymore (much to my parents’ chagrin). Too many other things I love more.

  25. Julia says:

    I just made 2 batches of this today. One batch this morning, and one more later this afternoon. Soo tasty.

    The first batch I tossed a vanilla bean into. Unfortunately, the sugar didn’t get vanilla flavored. Still very tasty. My roommate came out of her room and asked what was so delicious.

    The second batch I added some powdered ginger to, along with the cayenne. Also very good.

    For some reason, neither batch of sugar turned caramel colored. Which is odd. I’ve successfully made caramel before, so I’m not sure what I did wrong.

  26. Danielle says:

    Sticky – Go cooking lawyers!

    Julia – If you want it to get caramel colored, just cook it a bit longer before adding in the seeds and all, until it’s just a bit lighter than you want it to end up. The ginger sounds like a really good idea!

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October 2007
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