Saturday, December 10, 2011

Divinity-A Comedy of Errors

The post is long but I promise there is a recipe at the end, you may want to scroll on down if you're pressed for time.

"Why don't you make divinity like your mom does?" I got that question every Christmas for the first few years of wedded bliss with my sweet DH. Eventually he stopped asking. And as she got older, my mom slowed down on the Christmas candy making and the art of making divinity was lost to our family. In the hustle and bustle of shopping and such, and with all the other cookies and candies being made, divinity got stuck back in the cobwebs of my mind. Until yesterday morning, as I was searching through an old cookbook and I ran across this:
  "If it's a sweet tooth you've got, stir up a batch of fudge or divinity. Homemade candy's a tradition at Christmas, but just as good all year." (Better Homes and Gardens new Cook Book, I can't tell you the year as that page is long gone.) And the memories of Mom's divinity came rushing back. So I called up Terri ( a younger sister) and we met up at Mom's to get a lesson on divinity. Mom was a little reluctant at  first. "Making divinity burns up my mixers" was a concern. But after I promised to replace it if that happened, we were good to go!
 First off, let me say that I had never actually seen her make divinity. We had been shooed out of the kitchen for that one. And, after reading the recipe, I could see why. This is not something you want to try with children underfoot! It seems you need 6 hands and nerves of steel to make this elusive candy! But here we were, 3 grown women with years of cooking experience between us, surely this would be a piece of cake!?!
 So we manned our battle stations: Terri at the stove, myself at the mixer, and our dear mother holding the recipe book and ready to give orders. 
 First Terri cooked up the syrup-ey stuff while I whipped up the egg whites. When the hot stuff was hot enough  (you have to have a candy thermometer or know how to "test" with icy water) we started adding it to the eggy stuff. But only part of it gets added, then you have to recook the hot stuff to a hotter stage. At this point in the game, my cell phone rang, we lost focus on the thermometer, and burned the mix. Not ones to waste our ingredients, we bravely finished out the process. And we ended up with taffy. Burnt marshmallow over a campfire tasting taffy. Uh oh! But did these wonder women give up? Heck no! Between us we have raised 11 children, we can master divinity. Good grief!
Taking the syrup's temperature
 Things went much better on the second try. We had the ingredients cooking and the egg whites separated. But just as I started to whip them up--the mixer bit the dust! Go figure! So we took everything off the heat and I made a mad dash to Wally World to get a new mixer. Yep, Friday night. At Wally World. With all the Christmas shoppers, paycheck day shoppers, teens with nothing to do except hang out at WalMart, and last minute Friday night beer runners. By the time I got back to Mom's, I really didn't care about divinity anymore.
But we stuck it out. And we tried. But we were tired (and getting careless) and the person manning the mixer (me) ran it just a little too long. So that batch of divinity went down in history as another OOPS. Time to call it a night!
 I swear I was haunted by visions of divinity in my dreams last night. And I woke up this morning with a new determination to make a decent batch of the stuff! After the two bad attempts I had a pretty good idea of the process so I decided to go it alone. And this batch turned out really good. 
The baton has been passed!


Here's the recipe ( exactly quoted from Better Homes and Gardens new Cookbook)
Twice-cooked Divinity
1. Stir 2 cups sugar into 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, dash salt till dissolved. Boil to medium-ball stage (240). Slowly pour 1/3 over 2 stiffly-beaten egg whites, beating constantly
2. Cook remaining syrup to very-hard-ball stage (265). Test: Add several drops to water. Mixture will form a firm ribbon that bends when lifted from water. Beat syrup in candy mixture, continue beating
3. When mixture holds its shape when dropped from a spoon, add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Drop from teaspoon onto a greased cooky sheet. Swirl each piece to a peak. Double cooking takes longer, but it a failureproof way to make fluffy divinity
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Exodus 16:23  And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. 

5 comments:

  1. Why make all the good stuff when I'm not there to sample?? It all looks awesome!!

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  2. HH- Oh my word, you have a Google account! Welcome to my world! And there will be plenty of good stuff when you get home...

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  3. We have not had Divinity for at least 6 years now! Had not realized it, my mom also was the only one that made it. I will try your recipe this week it would be nice for our Christmas dinner! :)
    Kim

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  4. This is a new one to me. I've heard of it but never tasted it. After reading your post I think I'll let YOU become the mistress of divinity.

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  5. Yes, I'm with one of your commentors...I should be there to sample as well LOL.

    The last time I heard of divinity was on a Little House on the Prairie episode....and I even think there is a recipe in one of the cookbooks from LHOTP.

    Thanks for posting the recipe.

    Blessings,
    Connie

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