"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mom's Divine Divinity!

Divinity has been a family tradition for our family for the holidays. It starts on Thanksgiving when we are making our homemade banana cream pies--what else are you going to use the egg whites for? My mom and sister Sherri are the expert candy makers. Jack and I have made divinity a few several times and have had beginners luck with each batch. This year I tried a recipe out of my Kitchen Aid book that came with my mixer! What a FLOP!!! Lesson learned-Why change something that WORKS. So we tried the mixer again with reservations about the turnout. Mom will tell you that you should use a glass bowl and make it on a cloud-free day! I don't have a glass bowl big enough for it, so the mixer was going to have to do. However, I did follow the rule of a cloud-free day. The results were beautiful. We made two batches and on the second added chopped peppermint candy cane, which gave the candy a nice light mint flavor.

2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup
1/2 cup Water
Dash of Salt
1/2 cup Nuts
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Egg Whites

Cook sugar, Karo Syrup, water and salt to a hardball stage (246-250 degrees). In a glass bowl (For best results according to Joyce), whip 2 egg whites to peaking stage. When your syrup mixture reaches hardball stage, start to stir into egg whites in a slow constant stream, while using beaters on the highest speed. (Mom and Sherri make quite the team, one beats and one uses a rubber spatula to keep the sides syrup free. Then they stop mixing it when they think it is loosing some of its gloss and then they mix it by hand.)
When the candy starts to loose it's glossy look add 1 teaspoon Vanilla and 1/2 cup chopped nuts when it starts to get thick.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Move quickly! The faster you get it out of the dish and onto the was paper the prettier your pieces will be!

With the Kitchen Aid mixer:
We used the whip attachment, beat the eggs to peaking stage. Cooked the syrup to hardball stage and then added it in the constant stream as instructed in the recipe above. Beat on speed 4-6 for 7-8 minutes. 10 minutes was too long. How I checked if it was ready was to stop the beaters and lift the whip out. If it was thickening up like a nice frosting and did not run quickly off the whip I knew it was ready. Then Move QUICKLY like the recipe said. Now I know why it always takes to people to make this candy. It sets very quickly after you stop whipping it . The sooner you get your pieces out the smoother and shiner they will be.

*I am trying to master this art like mom and Sherri. It is my brother-in-laws favorite candy and it is the only thing he ask me to do for his birthday. It is a fun treat to take to holiday gatherings as well.

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