I came across caramel shards in Pierre Herme’s books Macaron; he uses them finely processed as filling in his famous cookies. I love trying o sneak crunchiness into most of my desserts, and found this to be a clever way to do so.
- 1/2 cup [100 g] granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup [85 g] corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt, stirring very gently while trying to avoid getting any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is clear, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, and then cook until the sugar has turned a pale golden color, 4 to 5 minutes more, and registers about 300F [150C] on a candy thermometer. Turn the heat down slightly, and cook for a few minutes more until the sugar is golden and registers 350F [180C]. Remove the pot immediately from the heat and add the vanilla, stirring to combine.
- Pour the caramel onto the prepared sheet pan, and tip the sheet pan back and forth until the caramel is in a thin, even layer, about 1/4 in [6 mm] thick. Let the caramel harden, then cut with a knife for larger pieces, or process in a food processor for very small shards. Caramel shards can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks.