As far as my mom was concerned, divinity was where it was at. She LOVED the stuff. Whenever she saw some at a party or in a shoppe, she would get SO excited. She loved it so much that I wondered why she never made it at home…….fast forward to me scooping fluffy, white goop onto a tray and it all becomes very clear…..making candy is a SCIENCE, people. You need all the right ingredients, the right temperatures, and when it comes to divinity, you need the right weather.
You heard me. Weather.
If it is too damp or humid, you will have a heck of a time making the egg whites stiff and letting the candy set and dry properly. When I told a pal of mine that I was making it, he immediately said, “In this weather?”. Well, apparently, nothing gets between me and my divinity.
Separate your eggs and leave the egg whites covered and on the counter. Egg whites like to be close to room temperature when whipping up into fluffy white peaks. Put a heavy bottomed saucepan on the stove, add sugar, syrup, water, salt and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
Once boiling, turn down burner to medium-low and let it bubble away…..all the way to 250 degrees.
So far, I was totally comfortable with this. I have made toffee a hundred times before and it was the same kind of thing….ingredients boil, candy thermometer at the ready, hard crack stage coming up…no problem. But this kind of stuff is all about timing and being organized, because everything happens in an instant. I knew that once my boiling mixture got up to 250 degrees, I didn’t have much time before it hit 260 and I had to add it to the whipped egg whites. So, I dumped the whites into my mixer bowl and as soon as the needle hit 250, I hit high speed on my Kitchenaid. Now it was just a race against time!
I had set aside a very large cookie sheet, covered with two silpat mats. I figured that the candy wouldn’t stick to them too much, and I was right. As I jumped back and forth between checking on my whites and the climbing temperature of the syrup, I thought to myself…..no wonder my mom never made this stuff! It’s exhausting!
When the syrup hit 260, I immediately took it off the stove and brought it over to the mixer. It took about a minute more for the whites to get to the point that they were all stiff and foamy, but as soon as they did, I kept the mixer on and slowly poured a consistent stream of hot syrup into the egg. I did not stop until all the syrup had gone in. It looked and smelled AMAZING. It was glossy and thick…like latex paint, but only if latex paint tasted like marshmallows.
And this, dear reader, is where it could have all gone severely wrong. After about 5 minutes, it had gotten to the point where it would hold shape and wasn’t glossy any more. (Divinity also loves pecans, so at this point, you can mix in 1/2 a cup of broken up pecans right before you scoop them onto the sheet, if you like.) You have to work like lightening. Two spoons at the ready, scoop up the candy with one and push out onto the sheet with the other. Keep this up until there is nothing left to scoop. Let it set out and firm up for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container.
You can also spread the whole thing on a lined cookie sheet and let it set up and cool and break it apart later. This seems like the optimal choice. Just dump it and walk away! (No, I am not giving you relationship advice.)
Divinity tastes like marshmallow…… on steroids. It is like 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag. It is all the sweetness, vanilla-ness, and chewy fluffiness that could ever be dreamed up in a darling little dollop of heaven. And my mom had the smarts to know that buying it let you enjoy it a lot faster than trying to make it on the stove. For reals.
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. light corn syrup
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. powdered sugar
- In saucepan mix first 4 ingredients, slowly bring to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Cook to 260 degrees (hard ball stage).
- Meanwhile, beat egg whites until stiff.
- Gradually pour hot syrup into whites, beating constantly, not stopping until completely poured.
- Beat until candy begins to hold its shape. (about 5 minutes)
- Beat in vanilla and powdered sugar.
- Drop from teaspoon onto waxed paper or silpat lined sheets.
- Let stand several hours until firm.
- Store in airtight container.