Ghoulish Delights - Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ghoulish Delights

They’re everywhere – from huge, glowing heaps outside the supermarket to dotting the fields of scarecrow-ed farm stands. This is pumpkin season – for most of us, a time that begins and ends with the carving and lighting of a single spooky squash. But by keeping the relationship merely decorative, we miss a true taste of the season. So why not invite a pumpkin to the table?

When it’s time to carve your pumpkin, don’t toss the seeds. A familiar favorite toasted with butter and salt, they make for versatile, healthy snacking. While fine with just a pinch of salt, their nutty, vegetal flavor comes to life with a dose of spice. Try chipotle powder and salt for smoky-spicy heat – with a last-minute squeeze of lime for an authentic Mexican touch – or blend cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of cayenne for these crunchy, addicting Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds.

To begin:

  • Discard pulp, rinse and dry seeds on paper towels

For each cup of seeds

  • Melt 1 tablespoon Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • Toss the seeds with the butter and the following:
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine well until seeds are thoroughly coated. Spread in a single layer on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and toast in a 300 degree oven, stirring occasionally until golden, about 45 minutes. For greater crunch, toast another 10-15 minutes, taking care that the seeds don’t become over-browned.

While a pumpkin ice cream sandwich may not come straight from the garden, it’s a Halloween-perfect confection that offers a delicious nod to pumpkin pie. A basic shortbread cookie recipe using Kerrygold Unsalted Butter brings the buttery flavor of the crust, and substituting light brown sugar for granulated gives a caramelized note. Adding a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the dough completes the picture. Cut and baked in 3” rounds, the cooled cookies are the ideal platform for pumpkin ice cream. For the impatient, simply slather a good inch of pumpkin ice cream between two cookies and eat immediately. (To add a rich, nutty crunch, dip the edges of the sandwiches in chopped, toasted pecans; for sheer decadence, dip them in finely chopped white chocolate.) To prepare ahead, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil, and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours – they’ll nicely keep this way for a week or more. Be sure and make extra – you’ll want them long after the goblins are gone.