My grandmother was the master divinity maker. Her divinity was heavenly. She would tint it pink and add chopped nuts, usually walnuts. It was always a treat. And I think of her every time I make a batch.
I made my first batch years ago when I first got my KitchenAid mixer. It is still one of my favorite candies to make and eat. While divinity is very easy to make, it can also be very finicky at the same time. I found that out when I lived in New York, where the air is quite a bit more humid. (My divinity didn’t always work.) Make this candy on a dry day if you can. (You can also cook your sugar syrup a 1-2 more degrees Fahrenheit and the candy will be more stable.)
Divinity is a meringue that is beaten until very thick.
I started with two-day-old egg whites that I left out at room temperature. I read somewhere that “old” eggs give you better height, etc., when making a meringue.
A syrup made from sugar, water, and corn syrup is cooked to hard-ball stage and then added slowly to stiffly beaten egg whites. (Think seven minute icing beaten a lot longer, or a meringue buttercream icing minus all the butter.)
The result is something magical.
The divinity are dropped quickly onto waxed paper and left to sit to set up. The outside is dry and the inside is soft and creamy–almost buttery, but there is not a drop of fat in them. (Just tons of sugar.) The flavor possibilities are endless -add dried or candied fruit, nuts, or various extracts. (Rum and brandy extracts are favorites around our house.)
For this particular batch, I like the pairing of dried cherries with almond extract. Although, the tasters seemed to agree that a smattering of chopped nuts was called for to offset the intense sweetness.
If you are a purest and prefer plain divinity, just leave out the cherries and the almond extract.
You can see all of my homemade candy recipes here.
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup (or more) dried cherries, chopped
1. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 260 degree F, hard-ball stage;10 to 15 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.)
2. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with a freestanding electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gradually pour hot mixture in a thin stream over egg whites, beating on high speed about 3 minutes; scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla and almond extract. Continue beating on high just until candy starts to lose its gloss (5 to 6 minutes). When beaters are lifted, mixture should fall in a ribbon that mounds on itself. Quickly fold in the dried cherries.
3. Drop a spoonful of candy mixture onto waxed paper. If it stays mounded, the mixture has been beaten sufficiently. If mixture flattens, beat 1/2 to 1 minute more; check again. If mixture is too stiff to spoon, beat in a few drops hot water until candy is a softer consistency. Immediately stir in candied fruit. Quickly drop remaining mixture onto waxed paper.
Store tightly covered for up to 1 week. Makes about 40 pieces, depending on the size. (I usually get about 20 larger pieces.)