There's a magic number in the candy-making business: 293°. Remember it and love it!
Until you hit this temperature on your candy thermometer, you can just add water to the cooking sugar to bring the temperature down and re-cook your sugar to whatever stage you needed. A fourth of a cup of room-temperature water should do the trick.
That's right: Don't panic; just add water. A fourth of a cup of room-temperature water should do the trick.
After this temperature, the molecular structure of the sugar has broken down too much to recover. But if you're too late, just throw some nuts in the pot and call them pralines.
We hope you don't find yourself in need of this little trick, but it's a good one to know about if you do!
Any adventurous candy-making going on in your kitchen?
Related: DIY Salt Caramels: Ungift Guide 2008