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Divinity is a light and classic candy made from a meringue, or egg whites beaten with a cooked sugar syrup (Hard Ball Stage), and then left to air dry. Sometimes nuts or other dried fruit can be added. Divinity, nougat and marshmallow all belong to the same crystalline candy family and all three are very, very close in terms of texture, flavor and technique.
Divinity is tempermental, so NEVER make it on a wet and rainy day. It can be flavored in so many ways, but use water-based extracts instead of flavored oils, which deflate beaten egg whites. Fold in chopped nuts, dried cherries or crushed peppermint sticks to achieve a wide variety of flavors.
DIVINITY MAKING TIPS
Some tips.....first this stuff is very sensitive to humidity -- More than any other candy. I usually try to check out the weather, but if I can't, then I do this little "thing". I press my chin down to my chest and then lift. If it sticks then the humidity is high, if not, it isn't. I know, you probably think I'm a total wacko, but I've done it for years.
Okay, I have tried many different tricks, and I have never been too successful with the twice cooked syrup. Or even the two syrups cooking at once to two temps. That drove me nuts. I do cook my syrup a little higher than traditional recipes, but more than anything I beat it by hand. I was so tired of screwing up, I thought that I had the big bad KitchenAid, I could do anything. But....one day I was just so upset at another ruined batch that I was near tears, I was so mad that pioneer women made this stuff long before thermometers and KitchenAid. So. I took out a big wooden spoon, sat on the floor and beat the stuff by hand. Goodness, it worked. Where my KitchenAid failed, my arm had success. I have since then made divinity work more times than not, and I even started winning at the fair against the little old ladies that have won for years! And divinity freezes nicely, it's a little spongy when it thaws, but hey you can make it on the perfect day and store it away.
Divinity that isn't hard enough to stand up when dropped needs beaten longer. I do mine by hand, I just don't have good luck with even a heavy duty stand mixer. When it is ready it will be thick, and make your arm ache when you stir it. It will lose the shiny appearance and turn a more opaque, matte finish. When you pick up the spoon and drop some it will hold its shape without pooling. It will set up quick, so once it "happens" it will happen quickly.
Even if you are pouring it into the pan, it must be beaten until it loses its shine, and if you drop an amount, it holds its shape without settling. This can take 2 minutes, or up to 20 minutes of beating by hand.
If it STILL doesn't set up after a long time, then it may be that the sugar wasn't cooked long enough. be sure you use your thermometer and if you think it isn't accurate, check it in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees F.