Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Treats without the Tricks: Gooey Pepitas Candy Squares

In honor of keeping my promise to post delectable autumn treats in time for Halloween, I wanted to try something new but simple, easy to make but will always be fashionable. Of course, I’m talking about candy, but candy that I wanted to feel good about eating.

Kelly of The Spunky Coconut is a genius when it comes to making healthy sweets. Bean brownies, caramel sauce made with maple syrup and honey alone, a plethora of cookies, casein-free or vegan gingerbread men… sheer brilliance. 

I view her blog daily, so when she came up with a Halloween Spunky Holiday round-up, I just knew I had to participate. That, and I wanted to get into the trick-or-treat spirit. I started thinking of traditional fall flavors, including traditional Halloween dishes more on the savory side. There were bags of raw pepitas in the pantry and bottles of honey in the cabinet, two things that came together in a beautiful way.

Regardless of what sugars you use in candy making, the temperature you cook it at is still the same. This candy making adventure had empowered me, because I thought such sweet delights were never to grace my taste buds again. Let out your inner scientist, fellow food lovers, and you will always find a way to make things happen.

I found this gem of a recipe at Food Mayhem, and it is important that you follow the directions. Candy making is a very finicky thing indeed, but don’t be intimidated by it. And now that I know honey is great candy base, I can’t wait to make honey lollipops, caramel, and so much more. This particular recipe looks like a great addition to a bowl of pumpkin ice cream for dessert or as a side to a hot cup of tea in the afternoon.

Gooey Pepitas Candy Squares

189 g (< 6.7 oz) Clover honey (for vegans, I suggest maple syrup or agave nectar)
7 oz Raw pepitas
1/4 tsp. Sea salt (I used Trader Joe’s Smoked Sea Salt, which gave it a nice flavor)

Pour the honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat, occasionally stirring.
Once it is at a boil, leave it alone with the candy thermometer in it and wait until it gets at 270 – 290ºF for sticky candy (as I did, around 280ºF) or 300 – 310ºF for hard crack candy.
Empty the pepitas in and stir quickly to coat, and spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to an even layer (this is easy to do with a greased silicone icing spatula).
Set aside to cool and harden for 40 minutes to an hour.
Place the parchment paper on a large cutting board and cut the candy into any size and shape you like (I made 3-bite squares).
Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment/wax paper.

Makes 15 – 30 candy squares.

1 comment:

  1. Those look delicious. I'll definitely have to try this recipe.