One of the things that adds a nice touch to desserts is some croquant. Croquant is very similar to brittle candies (like peanut brittle, for example), but the recipe is a lot simpler. There’s no butter, or cream, or baking soda, or anything like that. Just sugar, water, and your “feature ingredient”, which is usually sliced almonds for some reason. But it’s fall, so I thought this would be great to try with some pepitas / pumpkin seeds. I also wanted to add some lavender for that added twist.
When I first started considering making something like this, I thought it would be extremely difficult and laborious, but it’s really quite simple. I realize now that I was mistakenly associating this with pulling taffy. And if you’ve ever seen or done that, you know what I mean about laborious. This recipe is great on its own as a candy, but it’s also nice to garnish, I don’t know, something like a Pumpkin Cheesecake (hint, hint — that’s my next post!). Of course, this recipe does make more than enough to use as a garnish, so luckily it tastes good in its own right. Here’s what you need:
- 4 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- 1 1/2 c. pepitas
- 1 T. lavender
1. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan combine the sugar and water. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir after this point; only swirl the pan. If a film forms on the sides of the pan, brush the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.
4. Pour onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out quickly. Allow to cool completely. You can break it into pieces or before it has cooled 100% you can score it or slice it into desired shapes. If you keep it in a dry space, this could keep for several months, but probably could last a week or so.
Notes — This batch does seem a little cloudy because I wasn’t paying attention and stirred it a little bit too much. When you do that, crystals start to form which isn’t what you want. I didn’t mind too much since I was breaking the croquant into very small pieces to serve as a garnish. If you are trying to make larger sheets, take more care than I did in this batch. A quick trick to help prevent this is to add a little corn syrup. Without getting into too much detail chemistry-wise, corn syrup is a different type of sugar. So when those two different sugars mix, it makes it difficult for molecules to organize and form crystals.