A few years ago, I lost my divinity-making mojo. Poof, like that I went from receiving glowing compliments comparing my own version of the lovely, sweet candy we all grew up craving at our Christmases with the country cousins to turning out flat, lumps of goo that wouldn’t stand at attention no matter how big a fit I threw at my lack of success. I comforted myself by ordering up the fabulous stuff from the caterer who, though known for his cheesecakes, makes a divinity that could fool anyone into thinking their grandma had just dropped off the latest batch.
But this year, we are foregoing the annual New Year’s Day open house in lieu of hosting a Sweet Sixteen party for DD1 later in the month. While I’m fine with those plans, I recently had the horrible revealation that this meant…no divinity! So, I started plotting. I had to carry out these plans in secret due to Adventure Guy’s strong opinion that I should never attempt this particular culinary feat again. Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t take failure in any form lightly, and my last attempt a number of years ago was, well, let’s just say “memorable.”
In an effort to recover my former mad skillz, I quizzed the caterer last year about his divinity technique. When he spotted my KitchenAid mixer, he said, “Oh, just throw it in there and beat the hell out of it with the whisk attachment.” Easy, right?
Today, I decided to find out for myself, and timed my candy-making efforts to coincide with Adventure Guy leaving to pick up the kids from his mom’s house where they spent part of the afternoon constructing gingerbread houses with their cousins.
I’d determined that my main downfall came from the fact that I didn’t always recognize exactly when, during my previous attempts, the mixture looked “dull” or “held it’s form.” I needed more detail and less guesswork. Fortunately, I found a Southern Living recipe with precise temperature and times for each stage. It gave me hope!
The first step in the process involves making a simple syrup which will eventually be added to beaten egg whites. I also toasted the pecans I’d need (this is not a step I’ve used before, and I haven’t decided whether I’d repeat it again or not; it gives the candy a bit different flavor).
Once the egg whites are whipped and the syrup comes to temperature, it’s time to carefully add the syrup to the egg whites along with some vanilla, and then in those famous words of my caterer, “beat the hell out of them.” So I did.
And, yes, what you’ve all been waiting for,…it worked!
I was in the process of dipping out the candy just as Adventure Guy arrived home. DD2 jumped in and helped me finish. Overall I’m pleased with the results. Next time I might stop beating the mixture just a smidge earlier and not toast the nuts. But the good news is, there will be a next time!