I have many fond memories of my Grandma....whom I loved very dearly and who went to meet Jesus back in 1998. She was 80 years old; I was 20.
As a child, I loved eating the fruits of her labor in the kitchen, as she was a wonderful cook. Thankfully, as I entered my later teen years, I had the sense to recognize that she was getting older, and I didn't want to miss out on any opportunities to spend time with her and learn some of her tricks of the trade.
We always spent a lot of time at my grandparents' home around Christmas, as they only lived 20 minutes away from us. So when Grandma set aside a day for baking her traditional goodies, I made sure to get there. She taught me how to make peanut brittle, fudge, buck-eyes, and my favorite, Divinity.
I don't know why I love it so much.....I have to admit that I enjoy the taste of Buck-eyes much more.....but Divinity is just special. It's so sweet, amazingly melting in your mouth yet with the crunch and flavor of pecan bits adding interest and dimension to the softness of the fluff. I can't explain it.
I haven't had it in years. Nobody I know makes it....and I never see it in stores. Grant isn't the hugest fan (again, because it doesn't involve chocolate), so I always hated to make a batch and then eat it all alone.
This year, I said "Forget it, I don't care if I'm the only person who likes it or eats it, I'm having Divinity."
And now I am. And it makes me think of Grandma. I like to think she'd be proud of me. Not just for making the candy, but for everything else that's happened that she never got to see.....my husband, my children, the person I've become.....darn it, I'd better stop or I'll start to cry.
NOTES ABOUT DIVINITY:
1. Divinity takes time and patience to make......and you HAVE to have a candy thermometer. One that works. Be sure to test it before making the recipe by boiling some water on the stove and seeing if the temperature registers 212°F. If it doesn't, note whether it's high or low and by how much and adjust accordingly.
2. It's best to have all the ingredients out and ready to go. Especially have the nuts chopped and the vanilla ready to stir in because at that point, the mixture stiffens up really fast and you can't waste any time.
3. Divinity MUST be stored in a covered container at room temperature. If you even have it sitting out on a tray with other goodies for too long, it will get stiff and dry (not good). I would say leave it out for an hour maximum. Otherwise, just store it in layers on wax paper in a pretty candy tin or something with a lid.
4. Oh, and you shouldn't make it on a humid or rainy day....it won't set up right. So I'm told. I'm not willing to take the chance on it.
Don't be...it's not that hard, just a little finicky! I think it's totally worth it....I hope you agree.
I didn't have my Grandma's old recipe, for some reason, but this one I found tastes exactly as I remember hers, so I guess I picked well.
Recipe (from Allrecipes)
2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. hot water
1/4 t. salt
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.
In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt. Stir together well and then heat to boiling, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Then STOP stirring and cook to hard-ball stage, 266° F. Mixture will look about like this. Remove from heat.
While the syrup is cooking, begin whipping egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. This takes a few minutes and will look like this.
Pour hot syrup in a thin stream SLOWLY over beaten egg whites, (as in, take at least 4-5 minutes to pour it all in) beating constantly with the electric mixer at medium speed. (I didn't take photos of that part...all my hands were busy!).
Increase speed to high, and continue beating for about 5 minutes. Add vanilla; continue beating until the mixture becomes stiff and begins to lose its gloss. If it is too stiff, add a few drops hot water. Stir in pecans by hand.
Immediately drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
This post is linked to the Holiday Recipe Link-Up at Raising Olives.