I think I have said on here that one of my favorite parts about Halloween as a kid was getting to carve a pumpkin. It’s basically a blank canvas on which to carve anything halloween-y. I would try to make a basic jack-o-lantern face, then it evolved into sort of a competition to see how difficult of a design I could do. Well I guess it wasn’t really a competition since I was mostly just competing with myself, but I carved some pretty gnarly pumpkins. I remember one year doing a pretty detailed witch face along with one that was supposed to look like dripping blood spelling “Happy Halloween”. I guess you could say I was pretty hard core about it.
Now that I am older, pumpkin carving is probably the only Halloween tradition I make it a point to do every single year. It’s something about the smell of the fresh pumpkin that reminds me of Halloweens past. As soon as I cut into the top I am taken back to my childhood, sitting at the kitchen table with my perfect pumpkin specimen. It’s funny how we attach memories to something as simple as a certain smell.
This year, I made an owl-o-lantern. I know it’s not spooky or scary, but I enjoyed it and will continue to do so until it meets its demise in a few days time. I saved the seeds so I could toast them up for a lovely snack, so I thought I would share that recipe on here. It’s almost kind of a cross between candied nuts and a brittle, with a nice dose of sweet, salty, and smokey flavors.
Chili-Maple Pumpkin Seed “Brittle”
about 1 cup of fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried (this is the amount I got out of my pumpkin)
1 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt or kosher salt
coarse sea salt (I used sel gris)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, toss together the seeds, syrup, chili podwer, cayenne, and fine grain sea salt. Once the seeds are evenly coated, spread the mixture in a single layer on your lined baking sheet. Make sure the seeds are all touching each other for the most part. Bake them for about 15 minutes until the seeds are golden and toasty. Remove the seeds from the oven (do not toss them!) and immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt, to taste. Let the seeds cool on the sheet so that syrup can harden and form your “brittle”. Once cooled, gently break up the brittle into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container if you do not plan on eating it immediately. Enjoy!