Spicy Pepita Brittle

This is a beautiful, unusual brittle.–Charity Ferreira


When we think of old-fashioned made-from-scratch candy, we tend to think of a wallflower-like sweet with a reputation for being innocent and innocuous. We couldn’t be more wrong when it comes to this fire-breathing brittle.

Spicy Pepita Brittle

A white plate with three pieces of spicy pepita brittle on it
Charity Ferreira

Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins
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  • Butter for pan
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablesoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) pepitas (hulled pumpkin seed), lightly toasted


  • Lightly butter a 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the cayenne and salt. Measure out the pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cayenne, and salt.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and boil until the syrup turns a gorgeous golden brown and measures about 335°F [168°C] on a candy thermometer, which ought to take 10 to 15 minutes. Do not stir the mixture, although when the sugar begins to brown around the edges of the pan, gently tilt the pan to swirl the syrup so it caramelizes evenly. When the caramel reaches the desired amber color throughout, immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the pepitas and cayenne mixture. (Stand back a little, as chances are the mixture will bubble and the pepitas may “pop”.)
  • Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared pan. If necessary, use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Let the brittle stand at room temperature until cool and hard, about 1 hour.
  • To release the brittle from the pan, run a spatula underneath the brittle and bend the opposite ends of the pan a little. If that doesn’t work, simply chop or break the brittle into chunks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Print RecipeBuy the Brittles, Barks, & Bonbons cookbook

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Originally published April 27, 2008


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