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Mom's Divinity Candy: A Heavenly Delight

I inherited my mom's green wooden box of recipes. I thought I'd open up the box and share some of the delectable delights of my childhood.

Almond divinity candy without nuts

Almond divinity candy without nuts

What Is Divinity Candy?

Divinity is an old-fashioned melt-in-your-mouth candy that was once a tradition during the winter holidays. It has lots of sugar, so it's meant to be a special treat rather than something that's eaten year-round.

When my kids were growing up, I was a single mom, so I didn't have a lot of time to make things like homemade candy and cookies. However, there were a couple of times when I was able to do so. When I did, divinity candy was definitely on the list. I just made a batch of the candy with my four young granddaughters, who just moved to the same state as me for the first time ever!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Place sugar, syrup, and water in a pan.
  2. Cook at a low temperature, stirring often until a little dropped in cold water forms a soft ball (235-245˚F). If you don't have a candy thermometer, begin the water drop test when the syrup feels slightly thick when you stir it. The time it takes to reach this stage can vary greatly depending upon the heat source, so it's important to keep testing. To test for the soft ball stage: Let a small amount of the syrupy liquid drop off a spoon into cold water. If it's at the right stage, the liquid will form a small ball in the water. When you pick it up, it will be soft and squishy.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff; then gradually add 1/2 of the cooked syrup.
  4. Continue beating while cooking the remaining syrup until it forms a hard ball in cold water (250-256˚F). Again, the time it takes to reach this stage can vary quite a bit depending on the heat source. To test for the hard ball stage: Let a small amount of the syrupy liquid drop off a spoon into cold water. If it's at the right stage, the liquid will form a harder ball in the water. When you pick it up, it will feel more solid than the soft ball, and it will remain intact unless you squeeze it.
  5. Add the rest of the syrup to the egg mixture.
  6. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until it's thick enough to drop from a spoon.
  7. Stir in the optional nut meats if using.
  8. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.
  9. Let it sit on the waxed paper to set at room temperature for about 2 hours.
  10. Store in an airtight container lined with wax paper; place wax paper between layers.
  11. This candy may be stored at room temperature.

Cooking Tips

  • A candy thermometer is your best friend.
  • You can use other flavors besides vanilla. Almond extract makes a delicious divinity.
  • Instead of chopped nuts, you can add drained, chopped maraschino cherries.
  • You can add a drop of food coloring if you wish.
  • Try to make your divinity on a day with lower humidity.
  • Make sure your divinity is completely set before storing it.
  • You can keep your divinity at room temperature for about two weeks.
  • Divinity will last about two months when frozen, though I have read that it can last up to a year if you make sure you store it so it doesn't get freezer burned. I don't know because it doesn't last that long in my family!
  • To thaw frozen divinity, open the container and let it sit at room temperature until it returns to the normal consistency.
Remember to place wax paper between the layers of divinity candy.

Remember to place wax paper between the layers of divinity candy.

This batch of almond divinity would have completely filled all three of these containers easily, but a whole lot didn't make it before the family gobbled it down! I just put these in the refrigerator because it's in the triple digits here right now.

This batch of almond divinity would have completely filled all three of these containers easily, but a whole lot didn't make it before the family gobbled it down! I just put these in the refrigerator because it's in the triple digits here right now.

I inherited my mom's green wooden box of recipes.

I inherited my mom's green wooden box of recipes.

About Mom's Green Recipe Box

I started out my life in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is where my mom, Barbara Janet Maitland, grew up and met my dad, country boy and Navy veteran LeMonte Burton Jacobson.

We left Minnesota when I was eight and headed to the desert southwest. That's when our family adventures really started. We moved around the United States, with most of us ending up back in the desert southwest. There were four children when we left Minnesota, and by the time I was 12, there were five of us. I am the oldest, so I guess that’s why I got to keep the recipe box. Mom passed away in 2010. Dad followed her this past May (2022).

Throughout my childhood, Mom had an old wooden recipe box in which she kept her favorite recipes. Many of the recipes came to her from her mother, Leota Blanche (Otter) Ostlund. Grandma Ostlund was married and widowed twice—once to Mr. Peterson, later to my grandfather James Maitland. She married Grandpa Ostlund when I was around two. There are photos of me at that wedding somewhere.

Some of these recipes came to Grandma—and to Mom—from relatives of all these families, as well as friends. Some came from Dad's family. Dad was a chef for most of his life, ending his working career in food and beverage management. Mom often worked with him, either alongside him or in the dining room or lounge as a cocktail or food waitress.

All of us children basically grew up in kitchens, so it was inevitable that we would all spend some time in the food and beverage industry ourselves. Many of these recipes became family favorites, but the green recipe box is not the only repository of our favorites.

I was a cook in the U.S. Air Force in the days before they contracted with local companies to staff the kitchens. I learned a couple of good recipes in those days. Besides the food recipes, I’ve got a little black book of bar recipes with some good old-fashioned cocktails recorded on the pages. It doesn't seem fair that I should keep all of this to myself, so I will be sharing them with you now and again. Enjoy!

© 2022 Suzy Jacobson Cherry