Monday, October 20, 2014

Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe for Halloween

Cinnamon Sugar Is the Trick

My mother made homemade cinnamon-sugar roasted pumpkin seeds only once when I was a kid. Her approach to kitchen treats was to try as many things as she could, and that meant leaving many a recipe behind to try something new. Flash-forward 35 years, and I'm a stay-at-home dad looking for fun projects for my girls. This past weekend, we had an "overly" creative 20-pumpkin carving party after going nuts at a Pick-Your-Own operation, and on a whim we kept the seeds to try roasting our own treats. The result was phenomenal.

Scoop, Pick, and Wash Your Pumpkin Seeds
 
We started with the traditional scooping out of the brains on a selected pumpkin. I let the girls do this part, as I wouldn't want to hog all the fun. With a good gourd, we expected between two to three cups of seeds, which is the right amount for this recipe. The girls then poured the seeds into a colander to wash. Under running water they rubbed (their little hands were so much better at this than my clumsy paws) the seeds gently against the side, sloughing off a great deal of the missed pumpkin flesh. They don't seem to worry about getting it all -- for them, a little roast pumpkin is part of the wonderful taste.

Prepare the Pumpkin Seeds
 
Before they tossed the seeds into the oven (we use a toaster oven, as it's more kid-friendly), they boiled them (with Daddy's help) for 10 minutes in a medium saucepan with ¼ teaspoon of salt. This blanched the seeds slightly, helped to make the seeds "chew" easier by being crispier. The girls then placed the seeds back in the colander to drain well.

Seasoning the Pumpkin Seeds
 
I helped by melting 2 tablespoons of butter and in a mixing bowl, pouring it over the seeds. The girls then added ½ teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. With a rubber spatula, they mixed their concoction well. The seeds were a bit slippery, so the girls learned to use a steady hand while stirring. The seeds were then spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet, with the girls trying to make as close to one layer as possible. They didn't seem to worry if there is a little overlap, as they told me it was to be expected.

Roasting Your Pumpkin Seeds
 
I helped once more by preheating our toaster oven to 350 degrees and sliding the baking sheet in. After 10 minutes, I stirred the batch thoroughly, and then popped the seeds back in. I did this every 10 minutes for 40 minutes, watching for when the shells turned light brown. The girls argued they could do this step, but I leaned toward the side of caution. I started keeping a close eye on them at the 20-minute mark, as the seeds can brown quickly. the girls told me when our treat was ready, and I pulled out the pan to let the seeds cool out of reach on the counter. Once just slightly warm, we devoured our project.


They were marvelous!

For your convenience, the girls suggested I place the preparation list below for reference:

Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
 
2-3 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt