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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Divine Divinity


Oh, how I wish I had a picture of the first batch 
of 
Divinity
that I ever made!

As I have become a food blogger and have created
a 200 page color photo family cookbook 
I have often wished I had pictures of some of
my firsts attempts at cooking.  That way when people think
they can't cook, I could show them
  pictures of my failures
to encourage them!

My first cake (which was supposed to be a 2 layer cake)
was about 1 1/2 inches tall.  The frosting was supposed to
be purple (surprise, surprise!) and it turned out a muddy
brown.  My first full dinner I made for my parents and
brothers and sister, I knocked the pan of potatoes
off the back side of the rack in the oven and lost all of
the dish.

My first divinity - ahh, there was a candy treat - they
turned out brown little sandy balls.  I don't even 
know how I could have been that off on the recipe!
It took me years and years to try Divinity again.

I admit, candy can be a little tricky, so I am going to
take your hand and lead you step by step to a great
batch of Divinity.  And --- It is a fat free candy!  
You can't say that about much candy can you?


We make Divinity every year.  We have a family friend, Mike,
who has a November birthday and he always wants 
Divinity for his birthday.  We have even come over to teach
him how to make it.

So I have included step by step photos above and
am going to teach you step by step because Divinity
is a wonderful light (fat free) candy but it can be a little
tricky and since I have been trying to teach Mike, I
have come up with a few tricks.

Divinity starts with cooking a candy syrup.

If I can say one thing about candy -
CALIBRATE YOUR THERMOMETER!!!

I tell people this over and over and then they try a recipe
and it fails and I ask if they calibrated their thermometer and
inevitably they say NO!

Candy will not be right if it is off just a few degrees.
Water boils at 212 degrees at sea level.  I don't live at
sea level and even if I did, my thermometer could be off.

Just set a pan of water on the stove.  When it reaches a
rolling boil check the temperature.  Always check the temperature
by getting down at eye level.  Because we live in the mountains,
my water boils 16 degrees less.  So I have to subtract 16 degrees
off of 212.  

While you are boiling, whip your egg whites.  My purple 6 quart
Kitchenaid won't reach those 2 little egg whites at the bottom of 
that large bowl.  Fortunately I had saved my smaller kitchenaid
and it whips them up just fine.  When the syrup reaches temperature,
take it off the heat and slowly pour it into the egg whites while 
they are whipping.  I have timed the whipping and it seems
to take about 9 minutes.


While I have the bowl still attached to the mixer, I do a text
piece of divinity.  Spray two spoons with Pam.  Scoop out a
spoonful and use the second spoon to release it from the spoon.

This test was done at 8 minutes of beating.  Can you see that it is
still too glossy 
and won't hold it's shape?  It won't set up well either.
So I beat for another minute and did another test.


It's ready now and I have found that my first half of the divinity looks
great, but my second half gets crumbly.  By putting the mixing bowl in
a bowl of ice, it stops the cooking process and I can keep all of the 
Divinity perfect.  You still have to work quickly but this really helps.


This is what it is supposed to look like.  It has lost its gloss and creates
stiff peaks as you spoon it.  

I always make it when I have a helper as you have to work quickly
so my daughter and I spoon it out onto parchment paper working
as quickly as we can.  It seems to be a perfect trick.


Divinity Recipe

3 C. white sugar
1 C. light Karo Syrup
1/2 C. water

2 egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. clear vanilla
nuts if desired

Bring the sugar and Karo syrup to a boil in a heavy saucepan.  
 Cover pan for 2 minutes
to steam down the sides and dissolve any sugar crystals.  Boil to
254 (remember to calibrate your thermometer - it is worth investing
in a good thermometer if you want to make candy - it should measure every
2 degrees.  Meanwhile
beat your egg whites to a stiff peak.  When the syrup has reached
temperature, remove it from the heat and slowly pour it into the egg whites
while they continue to beat.  After you have finished pouring the syrup
in, begin timing the beating process.  Beat on high for 7-9 minutes.  At
7 minute, stop the beaters and drop a test spoonful.  If it is runny and
glossy, it is not ready.  About now add your vanilla.
Test again at 8 minutes.  Mine usually is finished
at 9 minutes.  

Meanwhile set out parchment paper.  I spray mine with Pam for an
even easier release.  Spray two spoons for each person who will
be spooning out the Divinity with Pam.  Fill a large bowl with ice and
set aside.

When the Divinity sample looks right, remove the mixer bowl and
place it in the bowl of ice.  Begin to quickly spoon out the Divinity.

It should make about 30 pieces of candy.

Add a nut on top if desired.

Let cool.  Cover tightly to keep it fresh.  Ours never lasts too long
as we eat it up quickly!



I will be posting this with

20 comments:

anniebakes said...

this is a great tutorial and makes me want to give it a try!! anne

Trisha said...

My grandma always made Divinity at Christmas and I love it. However I have always been too scared to try it. Maybe I will follow your great step-by-step this year-thanks!

~Trisha

Jaime said...

You know I will have to 'pin' this for Posterity!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Very pretty! Thanks for the tutorial, I've never made (or tasted) Divinity before-looks great:@)

Rattlebridge Farm said...

A must-read for anyone who makes candy. Your divinity looks divine; each wisp and curl is a piece of edible art. I would love to showcase this for next week Foodie Friday. Let me know if it's okay to use your photo and a linkback.
Have a good weekend!

Jenn said...

I love divinity!

Jo May said...

O lawdy!..I could eat a dozen!

Patricia Reitz said...

Creamy, dreamy, and oh so beautiful! Lol - I wish I had some photos of my first attempts in the kitchen too. I actually have a pic of my first cake floating around somewhere. And I don't even want to think about the time we had company over for dinner and I dropped the roast beef on the floor. Ugh.

Red Couch Recipes said...

I saw this on Foodie Friday, and it was the first link I clicked and I remembered how mother used to make black walnut divinity and I loved it. What a great tutorial. Finally blogged today. I got sick on Saturday night and spent all Sunday in bed. Still recovering. Ta-Ta. Joni

Madonna said...

My Mother was a good cook, but she could never attain a quality divinity. My Mother-in-law made the most divine divinity that looks just like this only she used walnuts. The crazy thing about it is she made it whipping those whites by hand. Once she attempted to show me how, but I was not strong enough. In the middle of it she would take it away from me and tell me I was not doing it right. She was correct. I have her recipe and it reads whip like h*ll. Every time I read her recipe I laugh because she never used bad language. I think I will try again now that I own a kitchenaid. Thanks for the memory.

Jacqueline said...

I can't even imagine trying to do this by hand! My arm would fall off first! We are definitely spoiled.

Sarah said...

Oh, you hit on a favorite here! I absolutely adore divinity, but haven't actually made my own since home economics class in high school. I think I failed miserably on that recipe! How I'd love to have some of your divinity right now. ;-)
~ Sarah

Mary said...

What a wonderful tutorial~ I never thought about calibrating my thermometer! My sister loves divinity I'll have to make some to take for Christmas!

Denise said...

Thank you! Oh Yum,you are such a good cook,mouth watering.The spoon is also one of My long time favs. I haven't needed to replace mine,but I've loved those spoons so long.The Mrs Claus I just found on Google :)-Enjoy the day-Denise

Sue (Someones Mom) said...

We love divinity, but I've never made it. I tend to be a cookie baker, not a candy maker with the exception of fudge. I think I may try caramels this year. I didn't know the trick about the thermometer-I'll do that.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Miam, miam........and I'm trying to shed some kilos! My mouth is watering at the very sight of these little delights. Warm regards

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

My grandmother used to make divinity every Christmas and whenever I see it I think of her. Yum, I can almost taste it.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This is one Christmas delight I have never made! I must taste wonderful with such a heavenly name :)

Snap said...

My mother made divinity for Christmas every year. I've never tried to make it. I may have to try after reading your post! Happy memories!

Gypsy Heart said...

My favorite candy ever! My mother used to make it for me each Christmas ~ had my own personal tin of it. :) I so miss those days ~ she was a fabulous cook.

Thanks so much for sharing!
xo
Pat

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