Candied Pepitas

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I have been nut free since my early 20s. My family didn’t believe that I have a nut allergy for years.  I’ve had my allergy since my early teenage years. I had an “ah-ha” moment when I was about to bite into a brownie with walnuts on it, and my face got itchy. A total “Pavlov’s dog” moment; I think I dreamed up the itch as a subconscious warning to myself not to eat it. From that moment on, I knew I was allergic to nuts. I don’t have anaphylaxis, thank goodness, but I do get a swollen tongue, and itchy bumps on my mouth and face. Since allergies can change, sometimes for the worse, I don’t take any chances with it.

It may be that I haven’t eaten a real nut in a long, long time, but I really think these candied pepitas (the seed of a pumpkin, shelled) are great! My first time having them, I felt the urge to make homemade Cracker Jacks. Ok it’s been a longer time since I’ve eaten Cracker Jacks, so I have no idea if the taste really is similar at all!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups Pepitas (I like to get the ones with sea salt already on them)1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 Cup Brown rice syrup (substitute honey)
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground ginger

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Directions:

Preheat Oven 300 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, making sure to spread out the brown rice syrup thoroughly. It tends to clump together but by using the back of a wooden spoon it should spread out. Some of the pepitas may break doing this, that’s ok! Spread out on the 2 baking sheets, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring the pepitas twice as they bake for balanced baking. They are done when they are bubbly but not yet browning. Allow to cool completely, and then break up into chunky pieces using your hands.

These are so delish, my sister, husband and I ate it all in one sitting. Thanksgiving is only 2 days away, and I hope the batch I cooked up today makes it that long!!

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