Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carmelized Pumpkin Seeds

Look at this kick ass pumpkin!

I have a varied history with pumpkins.  I love them, but maybe a little too much.  The second they become available in the store I want them…lots of them.  Tiffany always says, “It is too early for pumpkins,” or “See, I told you those pumpkins would rot,” or “Why do we need 18 pumpkins on the front porch?” or “How did another pumpkin get in our shopping cart?” or “I found the pumpkins you hid in the trunk.”  I can’t help it.  There is just something so great about fall and Halloween.  Pumpkins are like the glue of the season, without them it would just be all leaves, hay bales and tears. 

Real pumpkins were not a big part of my childhood, but we did have one big plastic one.  I felt completely denied as a child.  I would trick or treat and walk to the neighbor’s porches and have extreme pumpkin envy.  One time, I even secretly kicked our big plastic pumpkin hoping to damage it so we’d replace it with a real pumpkin.  It hurt my foot and remained undamaged.  Plastic was just different in the seventies.  I moved out when I was 18 to my own apartment.  The first Halloween I was there I bought 11 pumpkins and put them all around my efficiency apartment.  It was pumpkinelicious up in that place.   The problem was I was in school, busy working and a complete 18 year-old moron.  After Halloween, I forgot one of the pumpkins.  It rotted into my $3 garage sale end table.  I only noticed it because of the influx of insects to the area.  I had yet to hone my house cleaning skills.  This was my first and only brush with food hoarding. 

I few years ago, I also clogged the drain with pumpkin seeds.  I went on a carving binge.  I got lazy after hours of carving and thought, “I’m sure that is a myth about pumpkin seeds clogging up your disposal.”  It isn’t a myth.  It took all of three minutes to completely screw up the drain.  I lined up all the pumpkins on the porch and put candles in them so they’d look really cool for when Tiffany got home.  This wasn’t my first rodeo.  I felt it was important to showcase my work before showcasing the drain I had clogged with the seeds.  The outcome was as expected.  The plumber came the next morning and said, “Wow, you really did a number on this!” 

I’m telling you all this because I want pumpkins now.  I saw them in the store yesterday.  I dreamed about them last night.  It is time.

Picture of my front yard and the plumber who came to unclog the drain.  Funky Plumbers is the best.

Better use of pumpkin seeds then putting them down the drain:

Carmelized Pumpkin Seeds  (Sandra Lee

½ cup butterscotch caramel sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon extract
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups pumpkin seeds, roasted 
1 cup almonds, crushed

Lightly coat baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large skillet, slowly melt the caramel sauce and sugar.  When melted stir in cinnamon extract and cayenne.  Continue cooking until mixture reaches a temperature of 310 degrees.  Stir in pumpkin seeds until completely coated.  Spread caramelized seeds onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with crushed almonds.  Separate seeds with wooden spoon until cooled.

Cook’s Note
Melted sugar is very hot.  Please use extreme caution when handling and pouring.  Jack-o-lantern seeds should be rinsed and cleaned.  To roast seeds, place on a baking sheet, lightly coated with cooking spray, in a preheated 250 degree oven.  Roast seeds for about 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.  The actual seed of the pumpkin is inside the hull.  The hull is edible.

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