Yesterday I made my first ever batch of divinity.
You know, the old fashioned meringue-like candy? It’s perfectly fluffy and sweet, and studded with chopped pistachios.
I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into as I measured out my corn syrup, sugar and water, but it made me feel like I should be wearing a petticoat and lace stockings.
And I liked that.
It was relatively simple to make, and reminded me of making Italian buttercream. Both have the same process of pouring boiling sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. It might sound fancy or difficult, but I can assure you that it’s really not. All you need is a heavy pot and a steady hand.
In case you were wondering, divinity is a traditional Southern confection that’s been around since the early 1900’s (hence the petticoat and lace stockings?). It can be made with nuts or without and sometimes uses extracts, such as vanilla or peppermint, to give it a hint of flavor.
The real reason I’ve never made it before is because I always lived in a very humid environment, which is nice in January but not so nice when you’re trying to make candy. In fact, candy making is pretty much almost impossible when it’s super humid outside! Crazy, huh?
I decided to use chopped pistachios in mine…just because. You could also use walnuts or pecans, which I think are a bit more traditional!
To make the candy, just boil together the corn syrup, sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed pot until the temperature reaches 250 degrees F, or when dropped in a glass of water, the syrup forms a firm “ball”.
When the syrup is almost ready (but not quite), start beating an egg white like you would if you were making meringue. When the white forms soft peaks, it’s ready! Simply pour the boiling syrup in slowly and continue to beat.
Then, mix in your nuts and vanilla extract and spread the mixture out in a nine inch pan that’s been lined with foil (and sprayed with cooking spray!).
Let the candy set for about half an hour before slicing into small squares. Remember what I said about humidity! It’s a no-go…on so many accounts (i.e. my hair).
makes about 24 small squares (perfect for gifts!)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped, shelled pistachios (unsalted)
Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then don’t stir again. Boil for about five minutes—until the sugar’s temperature reads 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer OR forms a hard ball when dropped in a little cool water.
Meanwhile, beat an egg white using a Kitchen Aid until soft peaks form. When the sugar is ready, slowly stream it into the egg white with the mixer on high. Add the vanilla. Continue to beat for another five minutes, until the mixture is very thick and shiny.
Fold in the nuts and spread out into a foil-lined (and sprayed) nine inch square pan. Let cool for about thirty minutes before cutting into small squares.