So this part is entirely unnecessary but it’s that added little something that lets you feel you’ve managed to pull off this menu so well you even have time to play a bit! The kind of thing that gets you extra credit on those cooking school exams. . .These are the accents for my Pumpkin Piettes from the Thanksgiving Cook-Along. If you don’t want to bother with these shards of peanut brittle would work too.
8 T. sugar
4 T. water
1 t. vinegar or lemon juice
Before you start turn some cookie sheets upside down and grease them lightly. If you have a marble work surface that’s fine too. Whatever you’re using make sure it’s nearby and handy.
Over medium high heat the sugar, water and vinegar together. Most recipes don’t call for vinegar but it’s a nice little trick that helps keep your pan from collecting crystals along the side will muck things up.
Turn the heat up, stir slowly and keep an eye on things!
The syrup will bubble along nicely and slowly progress to a nice brown. If you’re using a candy thermometer you’re looking for the hard crack stage at 300 degrees.
When you’re there take the pan off the stove and drizzle spoonfuls of caramel on your cookie sheets. They will harden almost instantly. If your caramel starts to harden in the pan just put it back on the heat for a few seconds.
Sorry I don’t have any drizzling photos, but 300-degree sugar is serious business and demands your full attention! So please be extra careful, and don’t try to take pictures until after you’re done.
To clean the pan just let it sit filled with warm water, the caramel will dissolve on its own. Store the accents in a single layer in an air-tight container until ready to use. They will keep for one-two days at room temperature before they start to get sticky.