I came across this recipe on Food Network this weekend when I was making up my grocery list for the week. While I'm usually not a candy maker, this one seemed interesting enough for me to give it a shot. And, wow, wow, wow, I'm glad I did. It turned out so well - and was really easy. Adrienne and I are totally inspired to make some more candy for the holiday season.
When (not even if) I make these again I think either I'll add some pecans to the caramel itself or completely leave it out. I don't think the pumpkin seeds do much and they're really just attached at the bottom (or top depending upon which way you're looking at it). The other thing is I used Glad Press 'n Seal plastic wrap to wrap them - I think next time I'll try parchment paper. They're a little hard to unwrap. Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try:
(courtesy of Food Network Kitchens)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin or apple pie spice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree, room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: Candy thermometer
Line an 8 by 4 inch loaf pan with waxed paper or aluminum foil. Brush the sides, but not the bottom lightly with butter and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds in the bottom.
Whisk the maple syrup, brown sugar, cream, corn syrup, pie spice, lemon juice, and salt together in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Brush down the sides on the saucepan with water to remove every grain of sugar. Set the candy thermometer into the sugar. Cook the mixture over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage, 248 degrees F, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Carefully stir in the pumpkin puree. Return to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches the soft ball stage, 240 degrees F, about 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
Pour the caramel over the pumpkin seeds in the prepared pan. Smooth to an even layer. Cool to room temperature.
When fully cooled peel from the waxed paper or foil and cut into 24 (1-inch) squares. Wrap individually in parchment or waxed paper and store in an airtight container for up to a week. (I got probably 48 pieces out of it - I cut them pretty small)
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