Pumpkins, witches, and candy. It’s the makings of Halloween. I’m all about pumpkin anything (and candy anything!) so when I was hollowing out a couple pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, I decided to save the seeds. What? Save those slimy little things from the slimier pumpkin guts? YES! They aren’t just little seeds, they are little nuggets of golden coated awesomeness. If you’ve never roasted pumpkin seeds, go buy a pumpkin or two (I’m sure they are cheap right now) and harvest the seedy goodness.
Spiced Caramelized Pumpkin Seeds
1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, cleaned and dried **
Cooking spray (or olive oil)
4 TBS sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cayenne pepper
1.5 TBS butter or olive oil
2 TBS white sugar
1 TBS brown sugar
**to clean and dry the fresh pumpkin seeds: Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end, and pulling off the top. Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the insides of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from the everything else. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add about 6 cups of water (basically fill pan with water) and 2 tablespoon of salt to the pan. Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Spread on rimmed baking sheet that’s been lined with apartment paper. Pat drying with paper towels, then heat in 150 degree oven until dry (about 30-60 minutes depending on amount of moisture). I’ve heard of people using a hair dryer as an alternate way to dry the seeds, but the oven is no work (just time).
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, stir together 4 tablespoons of sugar, the cumin, cinnamon, ginger, the nutmeg, and cayenne pepper, and set aside.
3. Spread the pumpkin seeds on the prepared baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray (or toss lightly with olive oil), and sprinkle with salt to taste (I use about 2 tsp). Bake the seeds in the preheated oven until lightly golden, 20 to 35 minutes.
4. Heat the butter (or olive oil) in a large skillet over medium heat, and stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds along with 2 tablespoons of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Cook and stir the seeds until the sugar forms a coating on the seeds, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the hot caramelized seeds into the bowl of sugar-spice mixture, toss to coat, and let cool.
5. Scoop out half and hide away in your own secret stash because once you put them out, they will disappear!