What you made was a caramel syrup;Caramelization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What I made was technically a Maillard solution;Maillard reaction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maillard reactions begin around 260F and continue up to about 320F. Right at 320F is where caramelization occurs and it continues to about 370F.
The ammonia is a source of nitrogen that allows flavors to develop that are outside the realm of cooked sugar. Both options are viable for the production of a candi syrup, but caramelized sugar is a little trickier and more dangerous for a novice candi maker. Also the cooked sugar has more of a mellow soft vanilla and toffee character. The Maillard solution has a wider range of flavors and is ultimately much sweeter.
One thing about a caramelized syrup is that it has very little fermentable sugar left in solution, because the process is happening simultaneously across the solution as the temperature increases (all the sugar molecules at once). When using the DAP only a limited number of sugar molecules can be affected, because the reactions occur below the caramelization point of sugar (320F), and are limited by the dose of DAP. Once it is used up it is gone (one DAP to two Sugar molecules).