In a heavy skillet - Melt 3/4 Cup sugar until amber just put sugar in the pan and turn on heat to medium, sugar will melt and turn amber - it burns quickly so stir constantly). As soon as the sugar is melted, turn off the heat and add hot water. Turn the heat back up and boil slowly until the sugar agin disolves. Add 3/4 Cup sugar, Margarine and salt. Stir until disolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Work Margarine into the flour. Add salt sugar and backing powder. Mix until it becomes a crumbly mixture. Add milk until moistened. Add optional nuts if desired. Dumplings shouldn't be too sticky or too dry. Roll dumplings into balls just smaller than a golf ball.
Reheat the syrup to a slow boil. Add the dumplings one at a time using a spoon. Turn down heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked remove from heat, remove cover and let stand for 5 minutes.