pepita brittle

pepita brittle

I have to get something off my chest and judge me if you will, but I can’t hide it much longer. As much as I like Hanukah and eating latkes and rugelach, I just love Christmas, even though my family doesn’t celebrate but I wish we did. I adore everything about it: the decorations, the music, the glittery window displays, the parties, the cookies and candy, the smell of the tree. I just might be the only one without Christmas fatigue, probably because I can’t fully enjoy it; I want it all the more. I’m convinced that I like eggnog more than Christmas revelers do because it’s like the forbidden fruit to me.

And despite the economy and the fact that this has been the single most challenging year of my life, I’ve completely embraced the holiday season and refuse to be sad or fretful or anxious. I’m letting myself soak in whatever the season brings; I’m going with the flow. And the flow hasn’t been at all that bad. I’m happy, I am in good health, I have lovely, caring friends and family. My tiny kitchen makes me deliriously happy and I look forward to weekend afternoons when I can leisurely cook there. I’ve sent out holiday cards and this year – they’re a doozy!

pepita brittle

And so in preparation for this month, I’ve dog-eared recipes, purchased extra baking ingredients and even ordered quality cookie baking sheets from Amazon. And then there’s the case of the brittle.

I’ve been dying to make this brittle since Deb made is last month and generously let me sample some of it. Unsurprisingly, Deb’s creation was amazing and I helped myself to quite a few pieces, vowing to make it soon. Soon, of course, in the Sassy Radish kitchen, could take up to a month, or a bit longer, depending on the circumstances, and I was waiting for the holiday season to start with my sugar overload.

pepita brittlepepita brittle
pepita brittlepepita brittle

Not having to use a candy thermometer here was a huge plus and I was excited to make something with pepitas, otherwise known as raw, hulled pumpkin seeds. Before I got any further, I’m going to tell you something important: if you make this, be sure not to use non-stick cookware as it fails in the caramelization portion of the brittle-making. I will be making this in my Staub next time around in order to recreate the recipe again (and without a doubt, I will) because my brittle did not caramelize properly and I was cooking it for a loooooong time. Regardless, it was still quite yummy, and my coworkers agreed as well, consuming all of the brittle in mere days.

pepita brittle

This year, when we are all watching our spending and trying to be frugal in this uncertain economy, the brittle could make for a fine handmade gift. And after a year like this one, everyone could you a little sweet in their life, don’t you think?

Pepita Brittle

Adapted from Chef Karen Demasco at Craft and Smitten Kitchen

Vegetable-oil spray
2 cups sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups of raw, unroasted pepitas (they toast in the syrup) or 12 ounces dry-roasted salted peanuts (do not chop)


Line a 12-by-16-by-1/2-inch sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with vegetable oil.

Add the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water to a large saucepan (make sure this is NOT a non-stick), and stir together until all the sugar is wet. Cook over high heat until the mixture turns a medium golden (should take no less than 10 minutes).

Immediately remove from the heat, and carefully whisk in the baking soda followed by the salt (taking care, as the caramel will rise in the pan and bubble).

Switch to a wooden or metal spoon, and fold in the peanuts. Quickly pour the mixture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden. (It may not cover the whole pan.)

Once the brittle is completely cool, break it into bite-size pieces with the back of a knife or other blunt object.


  • Caitlin

    I absolutely love this brittle. And you’re right – try it again, because I brought mine almost until it burnt and it was FABULOUS. It’s pretty darned tasty the rest of the time too though :)

  • howie

    Hi first time reading your blog.I tried making toffee last week and used a non stick pot. It was a failure. What’s with the non stick not working for caramelizing? Please help thanks

  • EB

    What a way to make brittle look gorgeous! I think I understand how you feel about the holidays. While latkes and briskit are awesome sometimes Christmas comes a callin’. Since I was little we always spent Christmas with our Jewish friends who wanted to be watch Charlie Brown and help decorate the christmas cookies. Now I’m married to a Jew and it’s said Jew who makes sure we have a nice, big tree up every year (oh and egg nogg too).

  • radish

    Caitlin – i ate it anyway regardless :) but i agree, it needs to be made again, this time in a proper cookware.
    Howie – i think it has to do with the non sticking portion — the sticking allows for the caramelization to properly occur, slight burning you know? the lack of burning is what kept the caramel for caramelizing if you will.. i really should have thought of it earlier. try it in a diff pot and let me know how it turns out. And i’ll do the same!!
    EB – I am playing christmas music as I type this :-) total Christmas love in my little Hannukah laden household

  • radish

    Robin – it’s a deal. Do we need any paperwork in place or should we have a gentlemen’s (women’s) agreement?
    Allison – glad it worked out! I love sea salt too.

  • Janella

    So I made this recipe, but the result was nowhere near brittle — more chewy, like taffy. Any idea what went wrong, and if/how I can fix it?

  • radish

    Hey Janella, send me an email (located on about me page) and we can figure it out – let me know what kind of ingredients you used, if you had a non-stick pot and we’ll go from there! Sorry to hear it didn’t work out – but we’ll figure out what went wrong.

  • Rachelle Nelson

    Thank you for including the fact that using non-stick cookware is essential! We couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t carmelizing, and so we started over! Again we got frustrated, but then I came to your site! Super informative…thank you thank you!

Leave a Comment