Thursday, August 18, 2011

Maple Seed Brittle

Ok I have to admit, the recipe I am about to dish out is not pictured above. The last time I made this brittle, I created two versions, one loaded with nuts as well as seeds, and the other solely seeded (tree nut free). The results were not what I would have predicted: I enjoyed the seed-centric version so much more!  Of course, it is not the one I photographed, but oh well, I am sure you are all imaginative folk.

This brittle is a wonderful breakfast, snack or dessert really. Healthy enough to span the day, yet sweet enough to satisfy any craving. I love the orange zest and cinnamon combination, slightly reminiscent of aromas you might encounter walking in a Moroccan market. Or so I would imagine. The trick is to roll it out extra thin for a crispy toasty finish.

Seeds are one of those under appreciated pantry (or freezer, really) staples that offer a myriad of health benefits. High in monounsaturated fats, they promote healthy hair and skin, good cholesterol and reduce inflammation. I particularly enjoy the pumpkin seeds in this recipe, which are great sources of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a relaxant helping to combat hypertension as well as muscle cramps. The sesame seeds are another winner in my book, high in both calcium and iron. But my favorite thing about seeds? They are cheap (sorry, economical)! Compared to nuts, organic seeds can be half the price tag. Not a bad deal.

Maple Seed Brittle
Serves 12

To make the nutted version, replace the pumpkin seeds with almonds, half the sesame seeds with cashews and throw in a few pecans if desired.

2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds, partially ground
2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste, and add more maple syrup if necessary.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and empty seed mixture on top, spreading evenly. If necessary, split mixture in half and use a second parchment lined baking sheet to avoid cramping. With another parchment paper on top, roll mixture thin using a heavy rolling pin. The thinner the better, without creating gaps. Remove top parchment.

Bake brittle for 10 minutes, check, rotate pan and continue baking for another 10-20 minutes, until edges are crispy and middle is beginning to brown. Pay close attention to avoid burning. Remove, let cool and break into pieces.

Relax. Eat Well. 

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