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Spicy Pepita Brittle

Three pieces of spicy pepita brittle on a white plate.
This is a beautiful, unusual brittle that combines only a few ingredients but tastes incredible. Sweet with a surprise of heat and the salty crunch of pepitas, it's one of my favorite brittle combinations. It makes a cute little gift, too.
Charity Ferreira

Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 25 mins
9 servings
401 kcal


  • Butter for pan
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) pepitas (hulled pumpkin seed), lightly toasted


  • 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.