When visions of sugarplums dance in their heads, give â€™em sweet, but make it brittleâ€”and not just any brittle. This pumpkin-seed-studded iteration of the luscious confection is jazzed with a caramel-and-toffee-leaning amber lager, and jolted with chipotle powder for sweet heat (dial the amount up or down, as you and yours like). Nibble as-is, or nestle shards in scoops of vanilla or coffee ice cream. Or, if you can bear it, pack some in tins and give as gifts, though parting is such sweet sorrow.
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 cup Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt beer
- 1⁄3 cup light corn syrup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing
- 1 1⁄4 cups green pumpkin seeds, hulled and unsalted
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (or to taste)
• Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment with butter.
• Combine the sugar, beer, corn syrup and 4 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, watching carefully (the mixture will foam up). Continue cooking, swirling the pot often
(don’t stir), and lower the heat if the mixture foams excessively. Cook the sugar mixture until it reaches a medium amber color, about 12 minutes. Watch the caramel closely in the final minutes; taking it too far will turn the flavor bitter.
• Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often until the seeds just begin to pop and turn golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish to cool, and set aside.
• When the caramel is ready, remove it from the heat immediately. Quickly stir in the baking soda, then the salt and chipotle powder, followed by the pumpkin seeds, and pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spreading it out immediately with a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon. Cool completely before breaking into large shards.