All you'll need for this versatile caramel is your candy thermometer and a little patience.
Fill a large bowl with cold water, and set aside. Place sugar and distilled water in a medium saucepan set over low heat; stir, dissolving sugar. Increase heat to medium high; bring sugar to a boil. Using a ladle, remove any scum that surfaces. Add corn syrup, and return to a boil.
Dip a pastry brush in water, and wash down the sides of the pan. Continue cooking sugar until light golden brown in color and a candy thermometer registers 340 degrees, about 18 minutes. Place the pan in cold water 5 seconds. Remove the pan from water, and let the sugar thicken slightly, about 5 minutes, before using. If caramel starts to harden while working, set over low heat for a few minutes.