divine intervention

by jenna on December 7, 2010

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).

Divinity

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.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

jessica @ how sweet December 7, 2010 at 7:29 am

Nothing takes me back like divinity. I have multiple yellowed pages in my grandmas stack of recipes for divinity. It was THE dessert. Oh how I long to go back to those times!

I love your twist with the pistachios.

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin December 7, 2010 at 7:30 am

I’ve never heard of divinity before. Is it similar to nougat?

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Natalia - a side of simple December 7, 2010 at 7:39 am

Oh my goodness. “Divinity” says it all.

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Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 7, 2010 at 7:40 am

That looks like a cloud you’d see in heaven, for sure. Divinity is 100% correct!

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Jackie (ananda prana) December 7, 2010 at 7:41 am

I have never heard of this before!! It looks fantastic… I want to try and make this for the holidays! Will be my Southern contribution to our NJ Christmas :)

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman December 7, 2010 at 7:45 am

I’ve never heard of this, but now that I have–I want some. I’m also very glad you used pistachios instead of peanuts. I much prefer those in candy.

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elizabeth December 7, 2010 at 7:46 am

my sister is a maniac for divinity. everytime i read about turkish delight in the narnia books i picture it looking/tasting like divinity (since i’ve never had turkish delight).

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Alina @ Duty Free Foodie December 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

I’ve never heard of these before. When I saw the picture, I was bracing myself for a super-complicated recipe, but it looks easy. Also, I heart pistachios … it’s one of my favorite ice cream flavors.

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 7, 2010 at 7:48 am

This looks awesome! My grandma used to LOVE divinity and my mother used to make it for her. But she always looked for a CLEAR cold day. I grew up in MN so this wasn’t too hard to get the cold..but even in a snowstorm, there was too much moisture in the air for the divinity to turn out properly.

This recipe reminds me of my childhood…and it is making me crave holiday candy! YUM :)

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Jenny December 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

YUM! Looks great, I’ll have to try this. I’ve never dug into divinity.

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Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 7, 2010 at 7:51 am

Oh, how interesting to use pistachios. I’ve always seen this made with pecans. Hmm, Jenna, have you had the pecan divinity at the Savannah Candy Kitchen? Oh. My. Goodness.

My mom and I used to make this together when I was a little girl too.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 7, 2010 at 7:53 am

I’ve never tried this before but I love the sounds of it. I used to eat pistachios by the truckload (well not literally, but lots of them) when I was younger. Great photos!

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Jess @ The Squiggly Way December 7, 2010 at 7:53 am

Hmm… never been a huge fan of divinity. I may take your recipe and work it to my tastes. Plus, I have walnuts in the frig just begging to be used. Vanilla/Coconut/Walnut Divinity? Yum.

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Hillary December 7, 2010 at 7:54 am

Oh my gosh. My grandma use to make this every Christmas. I thought no one else still made divinity. She used to pipe them into circles and would put i pecan on top of some. This post took me right back to her kitchen.

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Heather December 7, 2010 at 8:00 am

Ah! My Mom’s fave. It always seemed like such a luxurious treat.

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notyet100 December 7, 2010 at 8:01 am

like the name of ur post,..feel like picking one..

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R @ Learning As I Chop December 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

I think you need to open your own bakery

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Mary @ a healthier Maria December 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

oh my gosh. I still remember before I moved here I was visiting the states (south carolina) & tried divinity for the first time & it was life changing. I was obsessed with it for a while because they didn’t have it where I lived so it was always such a treat! I actually had always assumed it was made with egg whites like meringue, I had no idea it was corn syrup! Looks amazing. :)

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Heather (Heather's Dish) December 7, 2010 at 8:16 am

i have never had divinity fudge, but this sounds nothing short of divine! it’s absolutely beautiful!

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Moni'sMeals December 7, 2010 at 8:24 am

you are my hero! I love this recipe. :)

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Krystina (Basil & Wine) December 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

You know those recipes that you can just TASTE? I can taste this and it reminds me of my grandmother. Thank you for this.

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Marie-Journey to Body Zen December 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

mmm, growing up in GA divinity was had at every Christmas celebration! love it!!! maybe i’ll make some for my NH coworkers :)

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megan @ whatmegansmaking December 7, 2010 at 8:55 am

I’ve never had divinity before, but it does sound good. I just use my candy thermometer for the first time making marshmallows the other day, so I’m ready to give this a try!

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Liz December 7, 2010 at 9:03 am

Interesting. Being from New England, I have never even heard of this. Does it taste at all like meringue cookies (which quite frankly, I find disgusting)? Or is it more melt-in-your-mouth? At least they LOOK delicious… I just can’t get past the association with meringue cookies.

If these are impossible to make in high humidity, it is surprising to me that they are a traditional southern confection!

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Lauren at KeepItSweet December 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

i’ve never tried that candy before…. who knew it was just a few simple ingredients?!

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Camille December 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

For some reason, I have completely forgotten about divinity! This seems like a crime… a horrible crime.

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kate December 7, 2010 at 9:15 am

I never knew what this was called until now! But ironically enough I had a piece yesterday. Delightful!

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Estela @ Weekly Bite December 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Lovely recipe Jenna! Divinity is a classic!

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grocery goddess jen December 7, 2010 at 9:19 am

I picture myself in a frenzy trying to get the timing of everything right, and somehow ruining it all. I haven’t had good luck with candy or fudge or anything that requires heating ingredients to a certain temperature. I’ll just have to hope someone gives me some as a gift.

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britt December 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

i’m not sure i’ve ever had divinity but it DOES look divine! i just don’t think candy making is in the cards for me right now with a new baby. i can only imagine the disastrous results!

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

::drool:: if only I could have corn syrup.

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Paige@Two Runners And A Brown Dog December 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

My mom and grandmother always put pecans in their divinity. I never heard of putting pistachios in it until I read your post. Pistachios are my favorite, and the saltiness of them probably really give the candy part a “kick.”

Pistachios in divinity. Jenna, you rock!

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Maya December 7, 2010 at 10:07 am

You picked pistachios because it’s pretty! All you need now are dried cranberries and it would be a perfect Christmas candy.

If divinity is a southern candy, but divinity is hard to make because it’s humid…that’s kind of counter intuitive, isn’t it? Oh, humidity. Wreaking havoc on my hair and candy.

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Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 7, 2010 at 10:16 am

Those look so good! I love the color, reminds me of snow!

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Megan (Braise The Roof) December 7, 2010 at 11:12 am

Those look awesome- and I think pistachios were a wise choice. :) So, if I wanted to use a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer, do you think I could transfer the sugar to a measuring cup or something to make pouring it into the egg white easier?

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Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 7, 2010 at 11:13 am

Oh my gosh, they look amazing!! Are they hard or soft? They kind og look like meringues but the ingredients are a bit sturdier..

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Runeatrepeat December 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

Will the candy change texture if you take it to a humid place? I would love to take this to FL for Christmas…

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jenna December 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I think if you TAKE it to a humid spot, you’ll be fine. Just don’t try making it in a humid spot or else the candy won’t harden!

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alicia December 7, 2010 at 11:52 am

AAAAH I LOVE DIVINITY!!!!!!!!

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Liz December 7, 2010 at 11:58 am

We have divinity every year at a family Christmas party. We do it without nuts. It is good, but oh so sweet. I’m a sugar girl and one piece is more than enough!

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Amber K December 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I have never heard of this before, but I’m super excited that it’s gluten-free!

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Sarah December 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Oh, I’m going to have to try making this soon! when I was little my parents had a lot of financial/etc issues and I lived with my grandparents for a while, then spent summers with them until my grandma passed away when I was 12. She held a huge part in my life though and I really miss having her around now that I’m an adult. When I was little, she’d take me to a house in IL that was part of the underground railroad and I remember they sold the best homemade divinity. We would pick up a bag to split on our way home, and a bag to show my grandpa so it didn’t look like we ate a whole bag of sweets together (it wasn’t a huge bag, but with as sweet/rich as divinity is…it was still a lot of sugar, hehe). I can’t wait to have that fluffy taste/flavor memory in my recipe repertoire!

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Kelly December 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

That is such a sweet story!

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jessica December 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I totally forgot all about divinity! My grandmother used to make the best divinity at Christmas so this post makes me think of her ;-)

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Carlee December 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm

These look so beautiful and white. Like a sweet snow storm. I can think of a lot of different add-ins for these to make them festive. Yum! now, if I could only afford a stand-up mixer (in pink) I would be all set.

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Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) December 7, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Mmmm, looks amazing! Never heard of this candy before, but now I want to try it!

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Sara December 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I made Divinity in my Food Principles candy lab this past October….and it was humid.

They didn’t turn out at all, needless to say…but it’s nice to see what they should have looked like!

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Alicia December 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I have never had divinity, but the recipe looks simple — not to mention it looks delightful to eat!

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BroccoliHut December 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Just learned about divinity in my candy-making class! It’s nice to see something other than a textbook drawing of it.

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I’ve never heard of this candy before! But you had my interest at the word “meringue”. ;)

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Doriana December 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I love divinity cookies! My friend’s mum makes them every year for Easter to symbolise Jesus’ empty tomb, some times if she’s feeling frisky, she whips up some ginger bread cookie dough to make some angels too, just for fun. I love love love them.

P.s. I just realised I put Jesus and frisky in the same sentence, I don’t think that’s allowed.

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Liana @ femme fraiche December 7, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I love the look of these. And I just never understood how outside weather can affect indoor cooking! So crazy. PS-I’m diggin the pistachio over the pecans…good choice

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Lacey @ Lake Life December 7, 2010 at 5:34 pm

One of my New Year resolutions should really be to control the anxiety attacks I have over any recipe that requires water, sugar and corn syrup to be brought to an exact temperature :-(

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retro sweets December 8, 2010 at 1:33 am

Utterly divine to experiment upon. Looks so easy to make. And oh, i love pistachios! Yum!

P.S. Thanks for the tip on the boiling point because I lost my kitchen thermometer.

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Jess B. December 8, 2010 at 6:29 am

I make these every year, except I drop them by spoonfuls onto parchment paper to form divinity balls. My favorite holiday candy!

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KRISTY December 9, 2010 at 5:01 am

HOW FUN! IVE NEVER HEARD OF THIS? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? :-)

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