How to make the perfect divinity candy can be tricky. Making any candy can be complex and most times frustrating. My nemesis for years was divinity and getting it just right. Easy right? Nope! I honestly don’t know how my mom did it. She made divinity every year at Christmas time, using a hand mixer and a cup of cold water. And it turned out perfect every time. The funny thing is that she usually “burned up” her mixer.
The key to making the perfect divinity comes down to two factors. The correct temperature of the candy and the beating time. The two biggest mistakes many make when making divinity are not cooking the candy syrup to the correct temperature and beating the divinity not long enough or too long.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you it is not! For years I tried making divinity.
I would look for a hand mixer that was strong enough to last for the beating of the divinity. I would buy a new hand mixer every year, thinking “This is the one”.
I had some success but my divinity making really took off to another plateau when I received a stand mixer one year for Christmas.
The Right Temperature
Different types of candy need to be cooked to a certain temperature for it to turn into the confection you are making. Divinity needs to cook to 260 degrees.
My mom didn’t own a candy thermometer so she tested her candy syrup temperature by dropping some of the candy syrup into a cup of cold water.
Don’t own a candy thermometer? No problem. You can still make that candy confection. Just follow the chart below
Candy Temperature Testing
Just place a drop of the candy syrup into the cold water.
Thread: 225 to 235 degrees- Forms thin threads when dropped into the cold water
Softball: 235 to 245 degrees- Forms a ball but flattens when removed from the water
Firmball: 245 to 250 degrees- Forms a stable ball but loses its round shape when pressed with your fingers
Hardball: 250 to 266 degrees- Holds its ball shape when pressed with fingers yet remains sticky
Soft crack: 270 to 290 degrees- Forms firm but flexible threads
Hard crack: 300 to 310 degrees- forms brittle threads that easily crack and snap
For your candy-making adventure remember you must cook your candy syrup to the right temperature. If you miss the mark you will end up with something totally different than what you were aiming for. Your candy will not “set up” correctly.
I remember when I was about 12 years old I helped my great aunt Emmy make peanut brittle. The candy would not “set up”.
She tried putting it on a table in an enclosed, unheated porch to try and achieve this. It didn’t work. The conclusion: she didn’t cook the candy syrup long enough. We ended up with soft, chewy peanut brittle.
Beating The Candy To The Correct Consistency
This step in my opinion is the hardest. Most recipes will state how long to beat the candy syrup. Sometimes it is on the mark and sometimes it is not.
The recipe I follow says to beat 4 to 5 minutes or until the candy starts to lose its shine or gloss. Sometimes it will take longer to achieve this.
The key is when it BEGINS to lose its shine or gloss. NOT when it has lost it completely. If it has, you have overbeaten it and your divinity will just crumble. This step just comes down to practice and practice and practice.
This is the step I have always had difficulty with. 1 minute it is not ready but then the next I have beaten it too long. Lift your beaters up and if the candy drops back into the bowl, it is not ready.
When you lift your beaters and the candy holds its shape and still has some shine to it, it is ready.
Perfect Divinity Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- In a 2 quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt
- Cook to the hardball stage (260 degrees) stirring only until sugar is dissolved
- As the temperature of syrup reaches 250 degrees, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form
- When the syrup reaches 260 degrees, very slowly add the syrup to the egg whites beating at high speed.
- Add vanilla and beat until candy holds its shape and starts to lose its shine/gloss, 4-5 minutes. Note here: it may take longer
- Stir in the chopped nuts, if using.
- Quickly drop candy from a teaspoon onto waxed paper, swirling the top of each piece.
- Let cool
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should my egg whites be at room temperature: Yes. This will help the eggs whip up. Also, use a glass or metal bowl. Never a plastic bowl
2. Can you make divinity when it is raining: Yes unless your kitchen is outside.
3. Can you store divinity in the refrigerator: You can but is not necessary but it can create the possibility have condensation, making the candy slimy. The best way to store the candy is in an airtight storage container lined with wax paper.
Making perfect divinity can be challenging but if you master the 2 key factors, candy temperature and correct beating time you should achieve this goal and have that perfect divinity. There is nothing more satisfying than biting into that little piece of heaven and the taste and texture are spot on. Oh My! I am ready to make some divinity. How about you?
If you do not have a candy thermometer don’t despair. Just follow the directions above for candy temperature testing. Like I stated before, my mom never owned a candy thermometer and her divinity turned out perfect every time (shaking my head). I sure didn’t take after her, darn it!
Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts and as always
Have A Wonderful Day!