And since I’d rather make my own confections than buy a bag of fun-size Snickers any day, I can sit around my house putting skeleton-themed hoodies on the cats and gorging myself on my latest favorite creation: chocolate pumpkin seed toffee.
Like caramel sauce, toffee is essentially molten sugar, but this time, it’s mixed in with loads of butter and taken off heat before it can fully caramelize. The resulting texture is voluptuously crunchy, dissolving between your teeth almost faster than you can chomp.
And believe me, I’ve tried—I used to mow through boxes of buttercrunch toffee made by family friends each Christmas. One piece after another, sometimes not even bothering to leave the walk-in pantry; I’m not sure anyone else in the house even got a piece.
Now, like Jack Skellington, I’m taking toffee away from its typical holiday habitat and giving it to the good citizens of Halloweentown. My toffee addiction meets my roasted pumpkin seed obsession, and it’s almost more incredible than the great marriage of peanut butter and chocolate.
The following is based on a peanut toffee recipe from Gourmet, switched up with pumpkin seeds and a little spicy heat. The toffee won’t stick in your teeth like peanut brittle, thanks to the massive quantity of butter therein—but there’s ample chewiness provided by the seeds.
You can give it away if you want, or you can just tell everyone there are razor blades hidden in the shards and keep it all to yourself. I certainly won’t trade it for any of your weak Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Pumpkin Seed Toffee
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes approximately 1 pound
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Maldon salt
Place a greased piece of parchment paper or a Silpat on a jelly roll pan.
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, bring the butter, sugar, salt, ginger, and cayenne to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth. If you’ve ever melted marshmallows in butter to make Rice Krispies Treats, you’ll recognize the consistency instantly.
Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture turns from buttery yellow to pale cream to deep golden. If you have a candy thermometer, it should register 300˚.
Remove the pot from the heat, immediately stir in the pumpkin seeds, and then pour the toffee onto the parchment/Silpat. (Be extremely careful when working with molten sugar!) Spread the toffee evenly in the pan with a spatula, let stand for a minute, then sprinkle the chocolate across the toffee.
Let the chocolate sit and melt, about 5 minutes, then spread evenly with the spatula. Sprinkle with Maldon salt. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about a half hour to completely cool the toffee, then break into pieces.