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Caramel Boings
Makes About 40 Boings
*2 cups sugar
*1/2 cup water
1Pour the sugar into the center of a deep saucepan. Carefully pour the water around the sides of the pan, trying not to splash any sugar onto the sides. Do not stir, but gently draw your finger through the water and then twice through the center of the sugar, making a cross, to moisten it. Bring to a full boil over high heat and cook, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until amber colored. Swirl the mixture occasionally to even out the color. Test the color of the caramel periodically by putting a drop on a white plate. When it is slightly lighter than you want, submerge the bottom of the saucepan into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Swirl the pan for even cooling.
2Meanwhile, oil a sharpening steel very lightly with flavorless vegetable oil. When the caramel has cooled enough to fall slowly from a spoon, gather up about 1 tablespoon and hold it over the saucepan. Let it drop and once a strand falls from the spoon, hold the steel over the pan and wind the strand of caramel over the steel to form a coil or spring-like shape. When the coil reaches the end of the steel, pinch the end to cut it. Let it cool for about 10 seconds on the steel and then slide off onto a sheet of parchment paper folded like an accordion. This keeps the boings from sticking to the paper. Repeat to make about 20 coils or boings. Rest the saucepan on a folded kitchen towel to keep it from cooling too quickly. If the caramel cools too much to work with, return to gentle heat until it reaches the correct consistency.
3Store in an airtight container with a sheet of accordion-folded parchment paper between each boing.
Executive Pastry Chef/Partner Gale Gand, TRU, Chicago, Illinois