Caramelized Cobwebs and Licorice Spiders
- Unsalted butter, for parchment paper
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick (6 inches) black licorice, for garnish (optional)
Lightly butter two large sheets of parchment paper; set aside. Prepare a large ice water bath; set aside.
Pour 3 tablespoons water into a medium heavy-bottom saucepan. Add sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush two or three times to prevent crystals from forming. Let syrup boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is medium amber.
Immediately remove from heat; set pan into ice-water bath to stop the cooking.
Working quickly, drizzle caramel with a spoon onto buttered parchment paper, forming cobwebs. If the syrup is thin and runs too quickly, let it cool a bit longer. Alternatively, if the syrup is thick and slow to drizzle, reheat it gently. Garnish with small licorice spiders if desired.
To make the licorice spiders, cut licorice into twelve 1/2-inch pieces; split horizontally. On each end, cut out two triangles, forming an M. On each side, cut out one triangle from middle. Use caramel to stick to webs. Let stand until hardened and cooled.