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Question re: Brittle made in oven

nomadchowwoman Dec 2, 2010 09:33 AM

I tried making pumpkinseed brittle based on what looks like a very simple John Besh recipe--mix 1 c. sugar, cayenne, 1 tsp salt, and 4 oz pumpkin seeds. Fold in an egg white, beaten until foamy, and spread mixture thinly onto sheet pan (I used silicone liner, wh. worked great) and bake in a 375 oven for 20-30 minutes.
After 20 minutes, the edges were getting dark, but the slab was puffy and the sugar was still grainy. I left it in a little longer, but as it was clearly starting to burn, I took it out and let it cool.
I was able to savage maybe 1/3 of the slab, the middle, but I know if I'd taken it out sooner that would not have been ready, and the edges were too dark already.
Unless the oven thermometer I checked with is off, my oven temp. seems to be accurate. What I'm wondering is whether a lower temp (350?) for longer period or higher (400?) for shorter might yield more even results. Anyone have any experience making brittle in a (conventional) oven? I can't find much of anything on that method online.

  1. bushwickgirl Dec 2, 2010 09:40 AM

    It's a interesting technique, certainly simple enough, and I trust John Besh, but I think maybe a lower temp for a longer time would be a good idea. Was the brittle middle that you were able to salvage edible, good or great? It's not a conventional brittle recipe, and may have a somewhat different texture than the usual sugar/corn syrup/water boiled stovetop method.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl
      nomadchowwoman Dec 2, 2010 09:59 AM

      It was really good, but the burned parts were inedible. They make this in his restaurant and serve it atop a salad of mixed greens, blue cheese, and a pumpkinseed oil vinaigrette, a fantastic combination, so that's how I was intending to use this as well (not to eat as is though one could).
      Thanks for weighing in, bg. I will try this again with the lower heat as I think it's a great recipe if I can get it to work. I've been largely unsuccessful making brittle the usual way, and I don't attempt often b/c it's so humid here much of the time, but it's nice and dry here.

      1. re: nomadchowwoman
        bushwickgirl Dec 2, 2010 10:03 AM

        Yes, it sounds like a brittle you would break up and bit and use to top something with, not eat straight like you would a nut brittle, although you could, I'm sure. Let me know how it works out for you. I think you might even try a 325° oven to start and see how that goes.

        1. re: bushwickgirl
          nomadchowwoman Dec 5, 2010 07:45 PM

          Thanks for your advice, bwg. I did another batch today, at 350 for 30 minutes, and it worked like a charm. As I had cooked bacon this morning, I decided to try something different: I baked half the batch on a mat brushed with bacon grease, and that came out with a layer of bacon flavoring which works really well with the sugar and pumpkin seeds.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman
            bushwickgirl Dec 7, 2010 09:08 AM

            Mmm, sounds very delicious! I was telling my sister about your recipe, as we were talking about making peanut brittle, I'm going to do some this weekend. Next time a do a big shopping I'll try to find some pumpkin seeds to try this out.

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              gmm Dec 7, 2010 02:06 PM

              Off the original topic, but since you mentioned peanut brittle - I just made a batch last night. It's actually a peanut butter brittle, and an interesting variation of the standard recipe. It came out very peanutty, with a texture much like Butterfinger candy.

              http://www.thenutfactory.com/kitchen/...

              1. re: gmm
                bushwickgirl Dec 8, 2010 12:36 AM

                Thanks for that link, I'm very interested in trying it, as I always have a surplus of peanut butter around. What type of peanuts did you use, roasted, salted, as per the recipe, Virginia, Valencias (redskins) or the little Spanish peanuts?

                1. re: bushwickgirl
                  gmm Dec 8, 2010 11:07 PM

                  Hi bushwickgirl - I used skin-on Spanish peanuts.

                  1. re: gmm
                    bushwickgirl Dec 8, 2010 11:46 PM

                    Cool, I like them, I 'll see what's cheaper, the Virginias were quite pricy. Jeez, it's just peanuts, when did they get so expensive? I guess you can say we can't get them for peanuts anymore, groan.

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