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Pumpkin Seed Brittle

This Pumpkin Seed Brittle is just like your classic homemade brittle recipe, but without nuts. Peanut-Free Brittle is a great option for those who have nut or peanut allergies. This Peanut-Less Brittle still has a nice roasted taste that classic homemade peanut brittle has, so you won’t even miss the nuts!

stack of brittle on white background

I have been wanting to experiment with a peanut-free brittle recipe for a long time! We almost never have anything with peanuts in the house due to Logan’s severe peanut allergy, and if we do it is usually something packaged, like a peanut butter cup. I don’t think I’d ever buy a bag of peanuts with him living here.

There are plenty of other nuts that you can use in brittle, but often times tree nut options are labeled as “processed with peanuts,” which he can’t eat either.

I finally figured out a nut-free option for making brittle – pumpkin seeds! The small green pumpkin seeds, often referred to as “pepitas,” are perfect for making homemade brittle!

I was so happy to test this recipe and that it turned out just as good as I was hoping for, because now Logan can finally taste homemade brittle. And, also because Kevin has mentioned several times how much he likes peanut brittle, so this was a great win for us!

What is Pumpkin Seed Brittle Made Of?

This pumpkin seed brittle is made up of the following ingredients:

  • water
  • sugar
  • corn syrup
  • pumpkin seeds (pepita variety – they are small and green)
  • butter
  • kosher salt
  • vanilla extract
  • baking soda

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

Why Do You Add Baking Soda to Brittle?

Have you ever wondered what does baking soda do in brittle? I definitely had this question about making homemade brittle the first time I went to make a batch of this recipe.

Baking Soda is the trick to creating a brittle that is, for lack of a better word, actually brittle! That means, when you bit it the candy breaks. Without the baking soda added to the brittle, your result would instead be closer to a hard candy, like a hard toffee.

When you add baking soda to the sugar mixture, thousands of tiny air bubbles are created. These air bubbles created by the baking soda create a porous candy with a much delicate texture than hard candy.

What Tools Do You Need to Make Homemade Brittle?

To Make Homemade Pumpkin Seed Brittle you’ll need the following tools:

stacked pumpkin seed brittle christmas candy

How to Make this Pumpkin Seed Brittle Recipe

Like all candy making, pumpkin seed brittle is all about the right combination of ingredients cooked to the right temperature.

First, you’ll combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a sauce pan and cook that to the first designated temperature (make sure you know your altitude because this can affect what temperature you need to achieve.)

Then, you’ll add the pumpkin seeds and butter, and continue cooking to an even higher temperature. The higher the temperature the harder your candy, so this temperature is much higher than what you would achieve if you were making something soft, like homemade caramels.

While you are cooking in this phase, the pumpkin seeds will roast in the sugar mixture and exude a nice roasted flavor that flavors the cooked sugar mixture.

It is really important to keep stirring the entire time at this portion of the recipe so that nothing burns on the bottom of the pan. Also, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your candy thermometer.

After you reach the desired temperature, stir in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Then, pour onto a parchment lined pan.

Don’t under any circumstance try to sample the brittle at this time. It is a whopping 320 degrees and you will burn your hands, fingers, mouth, or anything that touches the brittle. It is tough to wait, but it is worth it.

Once the pumpkin seed brittle cools and hardens, break it into pieces. Then, you can enjoy your first taste without burning your mouth!

How Do You Break Homemade Brittle?

To break homemade brittle, you can use a meat mallet and gently hit the brittle until it breaks into small pieces. I like the pieces to be triangular and about 3x3x4 in size, but you can break them into whatever sized pieces you like.

Another way to break homemade brittle is to just use two hands and snap pieces off of the main section. Grab the large, main section in one hand and use the other hand to break off a chunk. Repeat until you have pieces all of you desired sixe.

How Do You Store Homemade Brittle?

The best way to store homemade brittle is to layer the pieces in a flat layer in a sealable container (I like Snapware!). It is important to make sure the brittle is completely cooled before you store it, otherwise moisture will collect in the container and your brittle will not last very long.

You can add multiple layers in each container as long as you place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in between each layer. Then, place the lid on and seal and store in a cool, dry place.

How Long Will Homemade Brittle Keep?

Homemade Pumpkin Seed Brittle will last up to two months as long as you follow the instructions and tips for proper storage.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle Troubleshooting

Here are a few questions and answers to common issues when making homemade candy, like this homemade brittle.

Why Is My Brittle Too Hard?

If your brittle turns out too hard it is most likely because your candy got too hot during cooking. It is super important to always monitor the temperature of your candy as it cooks to ensure you are cooking your homemade brittle to the proper temperature.

The key to successful candy making is using an accurate and reliable candy thermometer (and adjusting the recipe for your altitude if needed, see the next section!) For candy thermometers I like: this stainless steel candy candy thermometer or this instant read candy thermometer.

Why is My Homemade Brittle Chewy?

The reason that homemade brittle would turn out chewy or sticky is the opposite of why it would turn out too hard. In this instance, your brittle did not reach high enough temperatures to get to the correct candy stage. The result is chewy brittle.

stack of homemade brittle

Does High Altitude Affect Candy Making?

YES! Altitudes over sea level will affect candy making. Why does high altitude affect candy making? Well, the higher the altitude, the lower the air pressure.

Water boils at 212 degrees F at sea level. Water boils at lower temperatures the high the altitude. For example, at 4500 feet above sea level, water will boil at 204 degrees F (8 degrees lower than sea level!).

Most candy recipes, unless otherwise noted, are written for sea level preparation. Because water boils at lower temperatures the higher the altitude.

That means that you’ll also need to lower the temperatures of your candy making in accordance with your altitude so that you don’t end up with candy that is too hard.

How Do I Adjust Candy Recipes for Altitude?

If live at high altitude and you’ve never made homemade brittle before, I hope that these high altitude candy making instructions make it just a bit easier when you make this recipe Pumpkin Seed Brittle for the first time.

The higher the altitude, the lower your cook temperatures will be in this recipe, and I’m going to show you how easy it is to adjust your temperatures for high altitude candy making.

  1. Find out what your local altitude is. Don’t know it? Google “elevation for zip code,” and input your local zip code to find your altitude.
  2. For every 1,000 feet above sea level you will subtract 2 degrees from the target temperature of the recipe.
  3. Subtract the number of degrees you calculated previously from the recipe’s original temperature. That is your new temperature!

Here is an example using my altitude: I live at 5,000 feet. 5,000 divided by 1,000 is 5. I will take 2 degrees off 5 times. Final result 5 x 2 = 10.

So, for this recipe there are two temperatures to note. The first temperature is before you add the pumpkin seeds. This recipe calls for 250 degrees F. With adjustments for my altitude, that temperature would be 240 degrees F.

The final temperature for the finish of this recipe is 320 degrees F. Adjusted for 5,000 feet altitude that temperature would become 310 degrees F.

NOTE: If you live at or very close to sea level, follow the recipe as is in the printable recipe card below without making any adjustments.

CONVERSION INSTRUCTIONS FOR HIGH ALTITUDE CANDY MAKING

Adjusting candy recipes for high altitude is easy! To calculate your new temperature for this Pumpkin Seed Brittle Recipe, use this candy making altitude adjustment formula:

  • FIRST TEMPERATURE: 250 – (your elevation in feet / 1000) x 2 = YOUR NEW TEMPERATURE
  • SECOND TEMPERATURE: 320 – (your elevation in feet / 1000) x 2 = YOUR NEW TEMPERATURE
stack of homemade brittle

More Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Looking for more easy pumpkin seed recipes to try? Here are a few that I like! Be sure to check out the Recipe Index or the Ingredient Index if you’re looking for something that you don’t see here!

Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl Fruit and Nut Bark pairs bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, almonds, raspberries, strawberries, pumpkin and chia seeds for a delectable holiday treat.

These easy to make Pumpkin Chai Chocolate Chip Granola Bars feature oats, real pumpkin puree, chai spices, mini chocolate chips, and pepitas.

Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Energy Balls will help you satisfy your chocolate cravings with a mix of protein, healthy fats, and naturally sweet dates and coconut. Pop these bite sized treats in your mouth for a quick, healthy snack and energy fix.

This Kale Cilantro Pesto is a tasty substitute for your ordinary pesto sauce. It features plenty of fresh, healthy kale, cilantro, pepitas, garlic and olive oil, and has a variety of uses!

In this Massaged Kale Salad recipe, kale is lightly massaged with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, it’s tossed with roasted delicata squash, roasted red onions, herbed goat cheese, and pepitas.

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Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Yield: about 1 lb
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This Pumpkin Seed Brittle is just like your classic homemade brittle recipe, but without nuts. Peanut-Free Brittle is a great option for those who have nut or peanut allergies. This Peanut-Less Brittle still has that nutty taste that classic homemade peanut brittle has, so you won't even miss the nuts!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Flake Salt, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Preparing the Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  1. Line a medium sized baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, combine water, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring until all of the sugar is wet. 
  3. Brush away any sugar crystals that cling to the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.
  4. Set the pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula until all of the sugar has completely dissolved.
  5. Continue cooking the mixture, without stirring, until the temperature reads 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer (see notes if you live above sea level).
  6. Next, add the pumpkin seeds and butter. Stir the mixture constantly, but gently, with a heat proof spatula until the temperature reads 320 degrees F on a candy thermometer (see notes if you live above sea level).
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the salt, vanilla, and baking soda. Mix until fully incorporated. The mixture may bubble, so be careful.
  8. Pour the mixture onto the prepare pan, spreading evenly with an offset spatula or butter knife. 
  9. Sprinkle the top with flake salt, if desired.
  10. Allow the pumpkin seed brittle to cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Storing the Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  1. After the brittle has completely cooled and has been broken into pieces, the best way to store it is to layer the pieces in a flat layer in a sealable container. 
  2. You can add multiple layers in each container as long as you place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper in between each layer. 
  3. Then, place the lid on and seal and store in a cool, dry place.
  4. Homemade Pumpkin Seed Brittle will last up to two months as long as you follow the instructions and tips for proper storage. 

Notes

ABOVE SEA LEVEL INSTRUCTIONS 

Before you start this project you will also need find out what your elevation is and adjust the temperatures accordingly. 

  • For every 1,000 feet above sea level, you will need to subtract 2 degrees from the final cook temperature.
  • For example, I live at 5,000 ft. above sea level, so I subtract a total of 10 degrees from the temperatures indicated in the recipe.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1/8th of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 312Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 13mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 2gSugar 55gProtein 2g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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