Pumpkin Seeds: Mexican Peanut Pumpkin Seed Brittle – Palanquetas

pepitoria pepitas cacahuate mexican brittle

If you checked out my Mexican Pumpkin Seed Pesto, you know that pumpkin seeds have been used in Mexican cookery since pre-Columbian times. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America about 5500 B.C.E.

Pumpkin seeds are used in many Mexican dishes, typically to make thick, rich sauces. However, they are also frequently eaten there as a snack – roasted in oil or used to make palanquetas or pepitorias, a candy brittle.

Know that generally, I turn up my nose at regular peanut brittle – something that started when I was a teenager wearing braces. So, this Mexican brittle is exceptional.  It’s packed with good for you ingredients and has less of the sugary brittle.

Palanquetas (brittle with nuts) or pepitorias (brittle with seeds) are usually flat, round disks, but they are sometimes also packaged as rectangular blocks. Candy makers load them with a single ingredient like pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cacahuates (peanuts) or sesame seeds (ajonjoli) – or, they make them with this trio of  traditional ingredients, sometimes also adding popped amaranth .

With this recipe you’ll be able to make your own at home. It’s easy.  If you’re wary about eating “brittle,” you can boil the honey for less time and your final palanquetas will be more chewy like those fancy, expensive granola bars you find at the natural/health food stores.

This weekend I made two batches – I took one chewy version to a friends’ house and they were an instant hit. The other, I made more brittle-like. Either version will make a great protein snack fit for your outdoor, air and car travels. These also make great goodie gifts during the holidays. To make them more novel, add some ground chile and a squeeze of lime to your honey before you boil.

My version uses honey as the brittle base rather than sugar or sugar and corn syrup that most recipes call for. It’s a hearty snack that’s not overly sweet.

Tidbits on Pumpkin Seeds:

  1. Pumpkin seeds are more rich in iron than any other seed and are an excellent source of zinc, an essential mineral that helps the immune system.
  2. Buy hulled green (untoasted) pumpkin seeds at health-food stores or Mexican/Latin American markets where there is frequent turnover. Untoasted pumpkin seeds are less perishable. Store them in the freezer.

palanquetas pepitorias

honey palanquetas pepitorias

Mexican Peanut Brittle with Pumpkin Seeds – Palanquetas

Makes 12 – 16  pieces

When making this recipe it is not necessary to use a candy thermometer – just watch the color of the honey as it boils.


1 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted

1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted

1 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts

1 teaspoon coconut oil or canola oil

1/2 cup honey

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon chile powder, optional

Coconut oil or canola oil for greasing pan/parchment paper


  1. Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper, grease bottom of paper with coconut oil. If not using parchment paper, grease pan very well. Grease a flat spatula.
  2. Dry-roast about 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds  in a large, heavy skillet (10 – 12 inches) on medium high heat for about 5 minutes – after the first few pop, stir constantly until they have evenly browned and nearly all have popped into rounded seeds – do not overbrown or burn (if seeds are over-toasted they become bitter). Once browned, remove from skillet and set aside.  Repeat.
  3. In the same hot skillet, reduce heat to medium and toast 1/2 of the sesame seeds until slightly golden. When golden,  remove from skillet and set aside.  Repeat.
  4. In a small, heavy bottom sauce pan, add the coconut oil or canola oil – turn on heat to medium high. Tilt the pan to coat bottom and sides. Add the honey and bring to a boil, while stirring. Once it begins to boil rapidly – do not stir, it will bubble and foam. Allow to boil for about 5-7 minutes (for chewy candy). For hard brittle, allow to boil for about 8 – 10 minutes – the honey will turn a deep amber (if using a candy thermometer here’s some helpful info – do not boil beyond 310 degrees F). Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the pumpkin seeds, nuts and sesame seeds. Stir quickly with greased spatula to coatingredients. Spread onto the parchment paper lined pan. Pat it down to an even layer, working quickly.
  6. Set aside to cool and harden for about 45minutes. Lift out the parchment paper and cut or break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
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19 Responses to Pumpkin Seeds: Mexican Peanut Pumpkin Seed Brittle – Palanquetas

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Antelope Buzkowski, ForkFingersChopstick. ForkFingersChopstick said: New Recipe Post: Mexican Peanut Brittle with Pumpkin Seeds http://bit.ly/avZyiu […]

  2. sippitysup says:

    Pepitas by any name are a fav of mine. I usually eat them out of hand or use them as a garnish. But this is genius. GREG

  3. You’ve written several interesting posts about pumpkin seeds in the Mexican culinary context. I was in Germany recently and had pumpkin or other squash soup with toasted seeds at several restaurants. Another example of globalization in the kitchen.
    Claire @ http://www.culinary-colorado.com

  4. @ Sippitysup and @Claire: Yes, toasted pepitas are great as garnish. Dry toasting the pumpkin seeds brings out their flavor. I always have a bag in the freezer.

  5. Val says:

    I am always on the look-out for healthy filling snacks. I completely forgot about making brittle though.

    This Mexican version looks fantastic and healthy. I love the interesting mix of nuts and the addition of chili powder.

  6. I love this stuff. I remember eating it when I was in Machu Picchu right before getting on the train to go back to Cuzco, and I was stuck on the train with a stomach ache from eating so much of it. Yours looks gorgeous!

  7. We love pepitas around here. You inspired me to make a pepita and manchego pesto (from all of your pepita posts). This brittle looks terrific. It reminds me a lot of sesame seed brittle – which I love. So this I’m sure will become a favorite.

  8. Laura says:

    Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  9. Nicola Grun says:

    You are a lady after my heart with this recipe. You can never eat too many pumpkin seeds. I’ll definitely give this a shot for a holiday party!

  10. This brittle looks like a tasty health bar. Just beautiful and deliciously put together!

  11. Milicha says:

    I love palanquetas, they are a good culinary example of mexican cuissine, like really traditional, I love it, for sure I will use this recipe.

  12. @Milicha: Very Mexican and very good. Great snackfood that’s easy to make.

  13. Nicola Grun says:

    I made these last week and they are definitely are my repeat list! I love that they are filled with healthy seeds and not too sweet…

  14. @Nicola: Thanks for reporting back. A batch of this brittle does not last more than a week in my house. I like to individually wrap some and carry in my bag for a snack.

  15. […] Mexican Peanut Pumpkin Seed Peanut Brittle – Palanquetas […]

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  18. Sarah says:

    Tried it, it boiled for less than 5 minutes on medium heat before it started burning. Guess Ill look for another recipe :/

  19. Rosalyn says:

    I’m not sure if this sounds tasty or not. It does sound like sienthomg they’d have at Honeydukes candy store in the Harry Potter books. I wonder if it could taste like pumpkin pie with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves added.

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