When making caramel for brittle, always use a heavy-bottomed pan to evenly distribute heat. When caramelizing sugar and water, reduce the heat after the syrup boils, and gently swirl the pan to check the color. To prevent crystallization, brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water; covering the pan for a few minutes also prevents crystallization, for any condensation will become trapped and run down the sides. To stop the cooking process, dip the pan in a bowl of ice water for a few seconds. For easier cleanup, place utensils in the pan, fill with water, and bring to a boil until sugar has dissolved.