I haven’t seen divinity around much these days and there’s only one time in my life that I remember eating this candy, and I was very young. My neighbor, a kind elderly woman, made great divinity, or so my mom says! I don’t even remember what it tasted like. My grandmother, on my mom’s side, also made divinity years ago when my mom was a child. My mom says that when her mom was making divinity the kids were not allowed anywhere near the kitchen!
A few months ago, my mom challenged me to make divinity. I’ve been trying to get around to taking up the challenge for a couple of months now and just yesterday I finally decided to do it. I’ve researched as much as I can about how to make this candy and found so many tips, but generally the recipe is the same.
So, seeing as how it was a low humidity day (apparently you’re not supposed to even attempt this candy when the humidity is high), I gathered all my ingredients together and I began the task. In a pan, I combined sugar, water, corn syrup and salt and heated it to 260F. Meanwhile, I whipped the egg whites until stiff peaks formed.
When the sugar mixture reached 260F, I took it off the stove and began to pour the syrup slowly into the bowl of my stand mixer which was running on high speed. This is when the trouble started. Even though I was pouring the syrup down the side of the bowl, the whisk picked up the syrup and the syrup started spiraling in spiderweb-type strings all the way up the whisk and to where the whisk attaches to the mixer! It was so stringy I couldn’t really stop it! I turned off the mixer and unattached the string from the whisk.
The syrup was hardening pretty quickly on the whisk, which looked like it was covered in spiderwebs. I turned the mixer on again and tried pouring an even smaller stream of syrup into the egg whites, which seemed to work well. Then the mixer, while at full speed, started slowing down a bit and the motor took on a different sound that I didn’t much like. This is a one-year-old KitchenAid, by the way. The mixture in the bowl was getting very thick and I wasn’t even done pouring the syrup out yet.
Once I got all the syrup out, the mixture was very thick and very glossy. Side note – I have just read before posting this that I should have kept beating the mixture until it lost its gloss, but I was scared to let the mixer run any longer! I didn’t beat it for the recommended amount of time before I just had to turn it off.
The mixture was stiff, like I said, and it had no problem holding its shape. So I decided to try to spoon it out onto wax paper. Well, the mixture was so sticky and so stretchy that spooning it out was impossible. I wondered what would happen if I tried to get the mixture into a pastry bag, used a large rounded tip and piped it out onto the wax paper. So I tried it.
In the photo above, you can see three dollops of the mixture in the top left, which was from trying to use a spoon. The rest of them have been piped out. The piping formed a nice shape, so this is how I did the rest of them. I used the rest of a jar of maraschino cherries to top some of them.
I thought I might have succeeded after all in making divinity, but it actually wasn’t done yet… I let the pieces cool and firm up on the wax paper for a few hours. I tried to take one off the paper, but it stuck. Trying to get it off turned the piece into a sticky glob. I ate it anyway, and it did taste very nice, like a sweet marshmallow. The texture was sort of marshmallowy as well, but thicker. And it was very sticky.
So, I failed after all! I put the pieces, still on wax paper, into the freezer and after doing this, the pieces came off rather easily.
I think the main thing I may have done wrong is not to have beaten it for long enough in the mixer. But that confuses me, because it was already so thick and stiff. If anyone reading this has made divinity successfully, please do share your tips and suggestions!
This is the recipe I used…
Adapted from Recipezaar
Makes 40 pieces
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans or cherries (optional)
In a 2 quart saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cook to hardball stage, (260 degrees), stirring only until sugar dissolves.
Meanwhile, as temperature of syrup reaches 250 degrees, beat egg white till stiff peaks form.
When syrup reaches 260 degrees, very gradually add the syrup to egg whites, beating at high speed with electric mixer. Add vanilla and beat until candy holds its shape, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the chopped nuts or cherries, if desired.
Quickly drop candy from a teaspoon onto waxed paper, swirling the top of each piece. Let cool.
I have since found a recipe specifically from a book of KitchenAid stand mixer instructions and recipes which I may try next time.
I have also found a good blog post with some great tips, which I will definitely be taking into consideration next time.