Pepita Spice Toffee

I first ventured into candy making with a simple toffee recipe.  After many years of recipe testing and tossing in everything but the kitchen sink, my pepita-spice toffee is my most often requested flavor combination.   Pepita spice toffee is salty and sweet followed by a spicy kick.  Be prepared for a flavor combination that is addictive. The toffee will keep covered for up to 2 weeks,  making it a perfect holiday gift for family, friends.

Pepita Spice Toffee

Servings: 1 pound

TOFFEE

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

TOPPING

3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup roasted and salted pepitas, chopped

Special equipment: candy thermometer or a cup filled with ice water to test if the toffee is ready

1. Have a rubber spatula and a rimmed baking sheet ready to be filled with the hot toffee.

2. In a heavy-bottom pot melt the butter and sugar on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.  When the butter has melted bring to a boil, stir frequently until the mixture reaches 285-300 degrees F, or is caramel in color, about 7-12 minutes. If you don't have a candy thermometer drizzle a small spoonful of the toffee into a cup of ice-cold water.   If the drizzled mixture remains soft continue to cook until it forms a hard brittle texture when dropped into the ice-cold water.  The toffee is ready when it becomes a hard brittle thread and snaps when bent.

3. Add the cayenne pepper and the pepitas, stirring to combine.  The toffee will thicken slightly when the pepitas are added.  Keep the pot on the heat, stirring vigorously,  until the mixture becomes pourable again, about 20-30 seconds. 

 4. Pour the mixture into the rimmed baking sheet.  Working quickly, use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the toffee, completely filling the baking sheet.  

TOPPINGS

1. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips, or place the chocolate chips in a microwave save bowl and heat for 1 minute.  Stir well and return the bowl to the microwave for 30 more seconds or until most of the chocolate chips have melted.  Stir vigorously allowing the residual heat from the melted chocolate to melt the last few chocolate chips.  

 2. Dip a whisk in the melted chocolate and drizzle the chocolate across the toffee.  Sprinkle the kosher salt and the chopped pepitas on top of the drizzled chocolate.  Let stand at room temperature to set the chocolate or refrigerate the entire baking sheet of toffee for about 15-20 minutes until the chocolate has set.  

3. Break into pieces and store at room temperature in an airtight container.  The toffee will keep, covered, for up to two weeks.