Pumpkin crunch is a sweetly spiced upgrade to trail mix. Pumpkin seeds and cranberries are tossed with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a pinch of salt. Once cooled, grab a handful and toss it in your mouth. A perfect snack.
A favorite of Canyon Ranch guests. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated oils besides being a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.–Scott Uehlein
CAN I CUSTOMIZE TRAIL MIX?
The ingredients for pumpkin crunch are easily customizable if you just want to substitute or add something else. Raisins, tart dried cherries, or dried blueberries are super easy swaps for cranberries.
If you’re adding nuts without taking out anything, you’ll either need to reduce the number of pumpkin seeds and cranberries or increase how much maple syrup mixture you make. For an extra cup of nuts, you can double the amount of spiced syrup–you’ll have a little syrup leftover but not much.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil.
- In a medium bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the canola oil until coated. Spread the pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until almost dry.
- Meanwhile, combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a small bowl.
- Dump the warm roasted pumpkin seeds back into the bowl, add the maple syrup, and toss until well coated. Add the spices and salt, and toss to evenly coat. Return the pumpkin seeds mixture to the baking sheet and return the baking sheet to the oven. Roast the seeds, stirring occasionally and rotating the sheet several times to assure even roasting, for 15 minutes, or until dry. Check them often as they burn easily.
- Dump the pumpkin seeds to a plate or a clean baking sheet and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. (You can keep the roasted spiced pumpkin seeds in a resealable plastic bag for up to several days.)
- Just before serving, combine the pumpkin seeds with the dried cranberries in a mason jar with a screw lid or your prettiest serving dish.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’ve always liked pumpkin seeds and I make a special effort to toast some each fall during pumpkin season. This recipe comes together very quickly and I can imagine changing up the spices as well as the dried fruit. I’m not sure I liked the spice mix exactly as-is and would probably alter it the next time (going more heavily toward cinnamon).
You could use up to 1 1/2 or maybe even 2 cups of pumpkin seeds for the amount of syrup. If you like them spicier, then you’d just increase the spices.
I really enjoyed how salty, sweet, tangy, and crunchy this recipe turned out. Quite an addicting combination! If I made it again, I’d increase the ratio of pepitas so it was equal to, or greater than the number of cranberries. I’d also increase the spice ratio just a bit, but the salt level was perfect for me.
It took a little longer to dry out after the addition of the maple syrup than the recipe called for (more like 20-25 minutes). I checked and shook the pan about every 5 minutes. All in all, I think this would be a great snack any time of the day or year.
When holiday time rolls around and you need easy gifts for teachers, the mailman, etc, this is a great option! It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, so it’s likely to be a safe, edible gift for most of the people in your life.
I liked this recipe especially since it stuck to just one seed and one dried fruit. I didn’t have to source a bunch of different nuts to make this, like most granola or nut mixes. My only tweak would be increasing the cinnamon a little bit, as I love the warmth of that flavor.
These are gloriously addictive, very simple to make, and great with a cold beer. Great to make at Christmas time as the smell of the cinnamon drifts through the kitchen. What I liked about these was that they weren’t too sweet and no spice dominated; just scrummy and flavoursome.
Originally published June 22, 2009