These garnishes are little coils of caramelized sugar can be used to decorate cakes or individual plated desserts. Like any small decorative work, they take a little practice – they key is to boil your sugar JUST until it starts caramelizing, not turning a full amber colour. This provides a cooked sugar with more flexibility, and is easier to stratch and spiral.
Makes 12 to 24 springs.
Before cooking your sugar, have ready a parchment lined baking tray, a few clean tablespoons and a few wooden spoons with straight, unpainted handles. Lightly grease the handles with cooking spray or vegetable oil (rubbed on with a paper towel).
Add the water, sugar and glucose (or corn syrup) to a small saucepot and bring to a boil over high heat, without stirring. Continue to boil, occasionally brushing the sides of the pot with cold water, until the sugar barely begins to colour. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool to the point where it no longer drips off a spoon in droplets, but can be pulled and stretched (be careful, it will be hot).
Dip a tablespoon in the caramel and hold the wooden spoon over the pot, letting the caramel slowly catch onto the handles of the wooden spoon. Slowly twirl the wooden spoon so that the caramel wraps around it, spiraling into a coil or “spring”. After about 5 to 8 rotations, set aside the spoon to set for just a minute, then carefully twist and remove the spring and set aside. Repeat this with the remaining sugar (it does take a little practice to develop a rhythm and flow) and don’t worry if a few springs break or aren’t perfect – these can be crushed up and sprinkled onto desserts or ice cream. If the sugar becomes to hard to work with, put it back on low heat and stir just a little to re-melt it.
The springs will keep up to a week in an airtight container.