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Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon fine grained sea salt
3/4 cup (4 ounces) hulled spicy roasted pumpkin seeds "pepitas"

Optional: 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and/or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Cooking Directions:

Spiced pumpkin seeds in a simple but trendy brittle elevate the cheese to a complex dessert that is creamy, crunchy, spicy and sweet.

Stir together baking soda and melted butter; set aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside a second sheet the same size. Butter parchment on one side.

Combine sugar, water and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; wash down any sugar crystals on sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Simmer syrup 10 to 12 minutes, until it reaches 240°F. Remove from heat; with a wooden spoon, add pumpkin seeds and pepper, if desired.

While stirring, return pan to medium-low heat; melt again until mixture turns amber brown and reaches 290°F.* Remove from heat; stir in butter-baking soda mixture with wooden spoon. Pour mixture onto prepared cookie sheet; cover with second parchment sheet. Press the mixture with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thick. Remove top layer of parchment; cool completely; crack brittle. Store brittle between layers of parchment in a sealed container for up to two weeks.

*If the syrup becomes granular during cooking, continue to cook until it remelts.

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