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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Recipes: Spiced Candied Pepitas

Raw and Baked Spiced Candied Pepitas

Recipe: Spiced Candied Pepitas

There's more than one way to candy a Nut...

... although Pepitas aren't actually nuts. They're seeds... Pumpkin Seeds... those slippery lumps among the slimy innards of a jack-o'-lantern. But if you apply a simple coating and throw those Seeds in the oven, you'll soon have a pretty incredible snack or crunchy dessert topping.

This candying technique can be used on virtually any Seed or Nut. But I was eager to candy some Pepitas when I saw Starbucks advertising the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the first sign of Fall in the modern world. Here's to cooler weather and months of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger!

When it comes to the recipe, this one is only modestly harder than "shake and bake". Lightly coat the Pepitas in Egg Whites followed by a mixture of Sugar and Spices. 

To make the Pepitas particularly cravable (I give you permission to hate me for using that word), rather than rely solely on Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger - the workhorses of the Autumn spice cabinet - I also included Paprika and Cayenne Pepper for a somewhat unexpected savory and spicy kick.

Raw Pepitas
These bright green Pepitas look a little different from those Seeds you've seen when carving Pumpkins, no? 

There's a good reason. Pepitas are actually shelled Pumpkin Seeds. The tough exterior has been removed leaving only the fleshy insides.

Single Mixing Bowl with Ingredients for Spiced Candied Pepitas
To make the Spiced Candied Pepitas, begin by coating the Seeds with Egg Whites. Egg Whites serve as the glue for the Sugars and Spices that follow.

The Seeds only need to be damp enough for the Sugars and Spices to stick. They should not be dripping with Egg.

Unbaked Spiced Candied Pepitas on Parchment
Scatter the coated Pepitas on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Spread out the Pepitas as best as possible. As they bake, occasionally move the Pepitas around the sheet tray with a spatula to ensure that they bake evenly.

Baked Spiced Candied Pepitas
The Pepitas are done when they are crisp and crunchy - usually no more than 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). The coating with become more crisp when the Pepitas cool. 

Spiced Candied Pepitas as Topping to Pumpkin Cakes
The Spiced Candied Pepitas are an excellent crunchy dessert addition..... They were perfect on top of these Pumpkin Cupcakes (and that recipe is coming soon!)

- The Recipe -

Spiced Candied Pepitas:

Yield: 350g (2 Cups)

  • Pepitas, raw: 260g (2 Cups)
  • Egg White: 30g (1x)
  • Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Brown Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 Tsp)
  • Cinnamon: 1 Tsp
  • Cayenne: 0.5 Tsp
  • Paprika: 0.5 Tsp


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

2. Adding a little Egg White at a time, mix the Pepitas and Egg Whites by hand in a large bowl until the Pepitas are just coated. You may not need all of the Egg Whites.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the Sugar, Brown Sugar, Salt, Cinnamon, Cayenne and Paprika. Sprinkle the Sugar mixture over the coated Pepitas and mix by hand.

Chef's Note: The Cayenne can be excluded or reduced for those who do not like the heat.

4. Scatter the coated Pepitas onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.

5. Bake the Pepitas until they are well toasted and crunchy, approximately 12-15 minutes. As the Pepitas bake, occasionally moved them around the sheet tray with a spatula or wooden spoon to ensure even baking.  


- The Pepitas will keep for several weeks when stored in an airtight container. 

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