Desserts | Recipes

Pumpkin Seed Toffee

We don’t get trick-or-treaters at our house. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—maybe children are getting wise to the fact that I’m immune to their supposed charms?

But it does give me a chance to make whatever candy I want for Halloween and not have to worry about snooty neighborhood moms thinking I’m sticking razor blades in the cookies or anything.

(Does anyone even try weird crap like that anymore? Did anyone ever? Snopes says yes, but I’m still skeptical.)

pumpkin seed toffee
Photo: Casey Barber

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 costumes 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.

pumpkin seed toffee
Photo: Casey Barber

And believe me, I’ve tried—I used to mow through boxes of buttercrunch toffee made by family friends each Christmas.

One bite after another, sometimes not even bothering to leave the walk-in pantry as I inhaled it. 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.

pumpkin seed toffee
Photo: Casey Barber

My toffee addiction meets my roasted pumpkin seed obsession, and it’s almost more incredible than the great marriage of peanut butter and chocolate.

This pumpkin seed 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.

pumpkin seed toffee
Photo: Casey Barber

You can share this pumpkin seed toffee 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 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

pumpkin seed toffee
pumpkin seed toffee

Pumpkin Seed Toffee

Yield: about 1 pound
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Pumpkin seed toffee pairs crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds with sweet caramelized sugar and bittersweet chocolate. It's one of the most satisfying reasons to carve a jack o' lantern.


  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Maldon salt
  • sanding sugar or other decorative sugar


  1. Line a 9x13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Add the butter, sugar, ginger, allspice, kosher salt, and cayenne to a 2- to 3-quart heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven.
  3. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, for about 10-12 minutes. The mixture will go through a few stages as it turns into toffee.
  4. First, the butter will melt and the sugar will dissolve. The butter will separate slightly from the sugar as it comes to a simmer, but then the sugar will get sticker and puffier, like melted marshmallows, as it continues to cook.
  5. Continue stirring as the sticky, marshmallowy mixture starts to deepen in color from pale beige to tan. It will once again look like the butter is separating, but don't panic!
  6. The toffee will turn deep tan—er, toffee-colored—and will smooth itself out. That's when you know it's ready! Stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately stir in the pumpkin seeds.
  8. Carefully pour the toffee onto the prepared baking sheet. Seriously, be very careful as this is molten sugar you're dealing with!
  9. Spread the toffee evenly with the spatula, let stand for a minute, then sprinkle the chocolate across the toffee.
  10. Let the chocolate sit and melt for about 5 minutes, then spread evenly with an offset spatula.
  11. Sprinkle Maldon salt and sanding sugar over the chocolate.
  12. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about an hour to completely cool the toffee, then break into pieces.


Store the toffee in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate from melting. Toffee will keep for up to 1 month, but you'll probably eat it all before then.

Oh, and the easiest way to clean the pot you made the toffee in is to let it cool slightly, then fill with water and let it sit. The water will dissolve all the sugar and you can simply wipe it clean.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 319Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 317mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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  1. Lovely! My boss makes 90 batches of her special toffee each Christmas (she’s Jewish by the way), and I eat tiny pieces at a time trying to make my allotment last as long as possible. Maybe I’ll give her a run for her money this year?

  2. yummmmm…..this looks great! maybe I’ll put on a costume and come knock on your door this Sunday!!

  3. This is inspired. Wow. Cayenne pepper, roasted pumpkin seeds, chocolate. I’m going to have to try this. I’m wondering if adding a few pecans or peanuts would work too? For me, it’s not truly dessert without some kind of nut inside.

    1. Peanuts were the original inspiration, but I’m addicted to pecans. Or… this is getting completely decadent… hazelnuts and milk chocolate? Like Nutella toffee?

  4. I love love love this idea. We’ve really been enjoying roasted pumpkin seeds. Making them into toffee is just BRILLIANT!

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