Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2000 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Divinity by CYNDI65, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips Shown in the middle of the candy tray.
Divinity is a light and classic candy made from a meringue. I inherited this recipe from Tami Smith, Premium Member, which I have adapted. Divinity, nougat and marshmallow all belong to the same candy family and all three are very, very close kin in terms of texture, flavor and technique.
Making divinity is temperamental, 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.
CANDY RECIPE HELP
I like to have the spoons and wax paper ready before I start so. The candy sugar syrup turns into divinity really FAST.
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, if desired
1. Place the whites in a stand mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment.
2. In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart pan with high sides, pour in the water.
SARAH SAYS: If you are using a gas range, use a sized pan which will not allow the flames to rise up the sides of the pot during cooking, which would cause the mixture to burn.
3. Slowly pour the sugar dead-center in the middle of the water. Make sure you don't splatter sugar on the side of the pan.
SARAH SAYS: I add the liquid ingredients first and then the sugar; the opposite of what most candy makers suggest. The traditional way leaves some sugar dry spots in the bottom of the pan causing them to burn even though traditional instructions have you draw an "x" in the sugar to moisten it slightly or to stir the two together.
Add the corn syrup on top of the sugar.
4. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
SARAH SAYS: Occasionally during stirring and especially right before the mixture comes to a boil, wash the sides of the pan using a heat proof pastry brush dipped in clean water on the inside walls of the pot above the surface of the syrup. Dip the brush in water every time before washing the side of the pan. Stirring often causes sugar grains to cling to the inside of the pan. If they aren't washed off with a moistened pastry brush before boiling, the loose grains will cause the recipe to crystallize.
5. Clip on the Candy Thermometer at the side of the pot. Continue cooking WITHOUT STIRRING OR JARRING THE PAN until the mixture reaches 260 degrees F or the hard-ball stage.
6. When the syrup reaches about 245 degrees F - 250 degrees F start whipping the whites on medium. If they reach the stiff but glossy stage before the syrup is ready, keep them moving on low speed.
7. When the sugar syrup is ready, immediately remove it from the heat.
8. Pour 1 tablespoon of syrup into the whites at a time. Whip for 5 seconds after each addition. Don't be in a hurry and don't answer the phone!
9. After all the syrup is added, add the vanilla and remove from the mixer and with a heavy wooden spoon sit down and hold on your lap (put a towel underneath; it's hot!) the way I stir is to pull through the mixture and up out about 8-10 inches. Then fold/plop back into the mixture. Rotate the bowl and keep going with this exaggerated up and around motion. It works the candy, but aerates it and cools it. But, this can take as long as 10 minutes, so don't be frustrated.
10. When you see it holding together, drop a piece out and see if it holds it's shape after about 30 seconds. If not, keep going, if it does, add the nuts (if using) and drop out on wax paper quickly.
DIVINITY MAKING 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.