I was introduced to these addictive little buggers when visiting with my brother not long ago. He made his from scratch, scooping the seeds from whole pumpkins, cleaning them, roasting them to dry them, then finally cooking them in sugar to candy them and tossing them in a sweet-salty spice mix to finish.
My version is a slight variation on his in that I bought some roasted and salted pumpkin seeds from my local Whole Foods so that I could eliminate the tedious and messy step of having to cull the seeds from the pumpkins and clean and roast them. Hey, what can I say….sometimes I just feel lazy and welcome such an easy shortcut.
Pleasantly, I discovered that my shortcut method provided the added bonus of having pre-salted the seeds before they got candied. For me, working with salted seeds to start delivered in the end a better balance between sweet and salty on these little nuggets of goodness. If you're less of a fan of salt than I, start with raw seeds from scratch or try to find roasted unsalted seeds at your local market.
These come together really quickly and are a terrific snack to dole out any time of year, but especially during pumpkin season and the holidays. Enjoy, and thanks Bro for the introduction!
Cheers – Steve
- 1 cup roasted (and salted) pumpkin seeds
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/8 teaspoon pimenton
- 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut (or canola) oil
- In a medium bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and pimenton. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until the sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 1-2 minutes. The sugar should turn an amber brown and just start smoking. At that point, dump the seeds into the bowl of spices and toss to coat. Pour them out onto a non-stick baking sheet to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to one week (good luck with that...they'll be gone in minutes!).