Burning sugar is not usually part of the plan. But it does happen. Then we can take the opportunity to examine it more closely. Inhaling the aroma and peering into the depths of its darkness. If we don't toss the pot immediately, we can take some time to see the possibilities in the essence of burnt sugar. In fact there is a product called burnt sugar essence that seems to be a pale imitation of the real thing. Simply adding some water to burnt sugar to rehydrate it into a syrup creates a new ingredient to explore.
Where do we use sugar? What are we using it for? Would we prefer a sugar with a more robust flavor and a bitter edge? When cooking vegetables many chefs add a pinch of sugar to bring out the sweetness. We often shy away from this in our own kitchen because adding sugar seems to make them insipidly sweet in a way that steaming or caramelizing the natural sugars in the vegetables does not. The use of burnt sugar syrup allows us to add a deep range of flavor, with sweetness being the last element to hit your tongue, rather than the first. The syrup has a dark complexity. It adds backbone to cocktails and sauces. It is no wonder caramel color is added to many prepared foods and drinks. In our case the dark caramel color is actually a flavoring that punctuates the preparation.