The Divine-ness of Divinity Candy

Divinity is one of those age-old candies our grandmothers made that is slipping into extinction in the home kitchen.  Pity that.  Divinity is a light as a feather confection, with a deep vanilla flavor so delicious.  Much like a meringue in texture, divinity is delicious by itself and exceptionally useful, as it can be combined with other candy to make really spectacular offerings.  Piped into short logs, it makes a delicious white center for pecan logs.  Or those logs can be rolled in coconut, nuts, or chopped dried fruits.  You can even dip mounds into tempered chocolate that make the most delicious confection imaginable.

Divinity is divinely easy to make and very forgiving along the way.  Only two things are required for success:  a dry day and a calibrated thermometer allowing you to cook the syrup to its proper temperature.  But if your divinity fails to harden, you can beat in two tablespoons of powdered sugar and allow the mixture to rest a few minutes; if the candy hardens too much, you can blend in hot water a tablespoon at a time until the perfect, fluffy consistency is reached.

Divinity, nougat and marshmallow all belong to the same candy family and all three are very, very close kin in terms of texture, flavor and technique.

The following recipe of mine produces a light, creamy divinity that turns out moist every time.  From my grandmother’s kitchen to yours, tried countless times with success:


2 large egg whites (at room temperature)

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup filtered water (not distilled)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (if desired)

Line a 15×10-inch jellyroll pan with waxed paper, butter the waxed paper well, and set aside.

Place egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixture and set aside to wait for use.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, combine the corn syrup, water, sugar and salt.  Place over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches a rolling boil.

Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer.  Reduce heat to medium to maintain a full (but not rolling) boil.  Cook syrup, without stirring, to 252 degrees (F).  Just before your syrup reaches this temperature (around 250 degrees), begin beating the egg whites with your whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Remove the whisk and replace with your paddle beater.

Remove the completed syrup from heat and allow the boiling to completely subside (about 1 minute).  Pour the syrup carefully into a heat-proof large Pyrex measuring cup to make pouring in the next step easier.  Do not scrape the pan.

With your mixer on high speed, slowly and gradually begin to add the hot syrup to the egg whites.  Once you begin to pour the syrup, do NOT stop and do not scrape the mixing bowl.  When all the syrup has been combined, continue to beat the mixture until it begins to lose its gloss and holds its shape in stiff peaks.  (This takes about 10 minutes of solid beating.) 

Next, add the vanilla and beat well.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the nuts, if desired.

Using two large spoons, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into mounds onto the waxed paper.  Allow to rest undisturbed for two hours, or until the mounds are at room temperature.  Carefully peel from the waxed paper and store on layers of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks.  I always press one-half of a maraschino cherry on top of each mound.   “Southern Divinity” is traditionally garnished with a pecan half on top.

Divinity also freezes exceptionally well for longer storage.

Makes about 40 pieces of candy.


Cherry-Nut Divinity:  Fold in 1/2 cup of chopped, well-drained maraschino cherries with the chopped nuts before spooning out mounds.

Strawberry Divinity:  After beating your egg whites to the soft-peak stage, sprinkle a package of strawberry gelatin over the egg whites and beat again at medium speed until all of the gelatin has been incorporated.  Increase your mixer speed to high and begin to add the hot syrup and continue as directed above.  Garnish with a slice of fresh strawberry.

Peppermint Divinity:  After beating your egg whites to the soft-peak stage, add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint oil to the egg white and continue to beat on high speed for another minutes.  **You may also add 3 drops of red food coloring.  Then begin to add the hot syrup and continue as directed above.  Garnish each mound with finely crushed peppermint candies.

Cappuccino Divinity:  Just before removing your cooked syrup from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of dark rum to the syrup and allow to “boil in” (do not stir).  Once boiling has ceased, pour the syrup into your Pyrex measuring cup.  Add the hot syrup to the beaten egg whites.  As soon as the mixture begins to lose its gloss, add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and continue to beat until incorporated.  Spoon into mounds as described above.  Garnish with ground coffee beans (ground in a mortar & pestle).

Kahlua Divinity:  Just before removing your cooked syrup from the heat, add 2 tablespoons of Kahlua to the syrup and allow to “boil in” (do not stir).  Once boiling has ceased, pour the syrup into your Pyrex mixing cup.  Add the hot syrup to the beaten egg whites.  As soon as the mixture begins to lose its gloss, add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee powder and beat well to blend.  Continue as directed above.  Garnish with ground coffee beans (ground in a mortar & pestle).

Godiva Divinity:  Use the same method as in making Kahlua Divinity, but substitute 2 tablespoons of either Godiva dark chocolate or white chocolate liqueur and continue as directed.  Garnish the mounds with dark chocolate shavings.


~ by eheavenlygads on December 3, 2007.

30 Responses to “The Divine-ness of Divinity Candy”

  1. wonderful recipes and article. You answered so many questions I had about making divinity. I live in Texas and we have a lot of humid days. Your tips really helped. I appreciate your being so clear and providing such good instructions. Thanks from a new friend.

    SpinningSugar: A warm welcome to you, Sophronia, and thank you for the kind comments. One can never have enough friends! Very best wishes to you and yours during this wonderful holiday season!

  2. Thank you for this including the variations to this recipe. My grandmother made this candy for as long as I can remember. She passed away this past summer and I’m going to “try” to make divinity for the first time for the holidays. My husband is always looking at a way to incorporate chocolate into my recipes. I’ll have to try your Godiva recipe! Happy holidays from my kitchen to yours!!

    SpinningSugar: And very best wishes to you and yours, Stacy! May you all enjoy the merriest of Christmasses!

  3. What was supposed to take ten minutes took eternity. My mixture never lost its glossiness even after 35 minutes of steady beating at full speed on my KitchenAid mixer. I finally gave up, put in the vanilla and then the nuts, then spooned it out with big spoons. It was very sticky. The first few balls of it spread out when they hit the wax paper-lined jelly roll pan. I yielded 20 pieces, so I must have been using too big of spoons? Please tell me what I did wrong. P.S. I don’t know how to determine the realtive humidity insode my house, but it is regulated by my HVAC system. I turned it down to half strength last night (the humidity setting) but could that have been my problem? The result didn’t seem light and fluffy like I remember it. By the way, this is my first attempt maling divinity. Any help would be sincerely a[[reciated. Thanks, Mike

    SpinningSugar: Mike, first I offer my condolences to your mixer. What a workout! Your instincts are spot-on: humidity was the culprit. There was too much moisture in the batch, which prevented it from setting up in the first place, then yielded the spread when spooned out. When this stuff is done and the gloss is gone, the texture is much like a very thick/dense whipped cream. Your memory of a light, fluffy divinity is accurate.

    I would recommend you go to your local TV station website and check the weather pages. Ours here in Dallas (WFAA, KDFW) do not offer hygrometer readings, but do point you to school weather stations that do and I have one very near my own home for additional reference. The National Weather Service page will offer one for the airport closest to your location. If you are having an overcast day, forget divinity. Try it on the second consecutive day with sunny skies and a nice dry north wind, or forget it. Your HVAC system can only overcome a small portion of the humidity outdoors, but must certainly make you and your family more comfortable on a hot/humid or cold/rainy day.

    One last tip as a last resort, try adding confectioners sugar two tablespoons at a time to your whipping batch of divinity that fails to loose its gloss. Blend that in well with your mixer, then shut it down and walk away for five minutes or so. When you return, try whipping the stuff again and see if the gloss leaves and the mixture thickens. If so, proceed to spoon it out. If it still won’t hold up, add two more tablespoons of confectioners sugar, whip in, stop, wait and try again. If the batch still won’t hold together, you’re out of luck. But if it does, your divinity will at least hold its shape. And after a couple of days, the “rawness” of the confectioners sugar should disappear and leave a delicious batch. Don’t add more than four tablespoons of confectioners sugar, though, or the taste will walk right out the door.

    Good luck to you and let me know if I may help further!

    Very best wishes to you and yours. Personally, I appreciate your endeavors, Mike. DO keep them up!

  4. I love you.

    My dad used to be able to make Divinity from his mother’s teaching, sortof like the Joy-of-Cooking one. He offered me that recepie and I killed it many times. The “10 minutes of solid beating” (after the candy is slowly poured in) was somehow missed in every previous attempt. Fortunately, those gooey experiments tasted great (even with the completely wrong consistency.)

    I’ve now had my first divinity in several decades thanks to you. Can you imagine getting this craving several times a year, not having any way of figuring it out? Stores sometimes sell evil-satanic divinity with whole almonds in them – not even close to real cherry divinity! (Well, flavor is close, but texture – no way!) Oh, what a relief!

    I did have to do the “forgivness” steps you describe above. I have to wonder why the extra beating isn’t standard in all the instructions.

    I think I’ll try for penuche next.

    With deep gratitude,

    SpinningSugar: Connel, I am complimented beyond words. I am so pleased to have been of help to you and any others along the way. This is a passion of mine handed down through my family and I have only one goal with this blog in preserving techniques and recipes that I love for those to follow me. Very best wishes to you and yours.

  5. I was looking for more info before I made divinity today and found you. You appear to be a wealth of information and for that I am happy to have found you.
    There is one complaint though, I live in the PNW and a low humidity day isn’t going to happen often and I still make candy. It takes a bit more work but it can be done (cooking longer to higher temps helps). It would be nice to see you write more about how to do that!

  6. Thanks, I just ate and now I am hungry again. They look really good!

  7. I came here to find out why your blog was linked to mine, and ended up copying out your Divinity recipe. I like your instructions better than mine! Your recipe sounds wonderful, and I love all the variations. Thank you! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the help with divinity! Even after waiting for a low humidity day, my batch still wouldn’t firm up after a good 15 minutes of beating. Luckily, two tablespoons of powdered sugar did the trick! To reward myself for the successful recipe, I am now going to eat the rest of the candy shellacked to the inside of my mixer bowl. 🙂

    Thanks again and your blog is great!

  9. Thanks for this recipe! It is very similar to what my dad and I make every year. We usually spoon it onto wax paper or foil, but I’ve also found that you can spread the mixture into a shallow pan and cut into squares after it sets up. This makes for a more aesthetically pleasing presentation for those who prefer that. Just note that it takes longer for it to set up using this method. Also try sprinkling some crushed peppermint on top for a tasty and festive touch.

  10. I am planning to make divinity and never knew that the weather would affect it. So I really enjoyed reading all your hints. I will wait a doy or so for the sun to shine. Also I didn’t realize that you weren’t supposed to stir it after the sugar disolved. Thanks for all the tips.

  11. I am so glad I ran across your site….I had made divinity yesterday and it didn’t set up…..but was like puddles on my wax paper….I think my prob. was the humidity, cause it was rainy…anyways…i scooped it all back up and put it in a dish, put it in the frig. overnight, and was just gonna eat it with a spoon…lol….until I saw your instructions about powd. sugar….I put it back in a pot and softened it…on a very low heat, and added 2 TBS. powd. sugar….re-beat it with my mixer, and wa-la….it spooned out perfectly on my wax paper….i don’t know if it will b as fluffy as it should….but just as soon as it dries completely I’m gonna sample it….

  12. Thanks so much for this post! It helped me greatly! My divinity was a success thanks to your directions and troubleshooting tips!

  13. love it.. just made some did perfect.. thanks

  14. I made these tonight. They taste very good – I mixed in walnuts – but even after beating them for well over fifteen minutes (with a hand mixer, mind you) they never lost their sheen. They’ve set somewhat on the pans, to the point that the outside is firm but the inside is gooey, and I’ve put them in the fridge for the night in hopes they’ll firm up even more. I suspect my problem stems from using a meat thermometer in lieu of a candy thermometer. It only read to 170 degrees so I had to eyeball it from there, so it’s likely I pulled it off the heat too early. I’m still considering it a success, since they taste wonderful and they’re not obnoxiously gooey. Thanks for sharing your family’s recipes.

  15. I must share this with all. I have been making Devinity for well over 40 years and have had my share of flops, & this year ws no different, yes it flopped. I devided the flopped batch into two. poured half into a jelly roll pan, let it sit over night uncovered in the hopes it would dry out a bit. The next day I cut into squares & turned all the squares over to dry on thet side. Walla it is perfect! I have just put it in a covered tin with wax paper between each layer & put it in the frig until I am ready to take it out to share with my friends.

    With the other half, I made a batch of fantasy fudge, instead of using marshmellow cream as the recipe called for I used the soft devinity. Another Walla. It worked great & tastes super yummy. I call it divinity fudge.Never again will I throw away a flopped batch. I have added these ideas to my candy collection & wanted to share it with you & everyone who has ever had a problem with making this wonderful candy. Merry Christmas to all.

  16. I find it fascinating how many people say their DAD was the one who made the divinity. My dad, too, was the divinity maker in our family. He also made a completely non-dupicatable, absolutely delicious cornbread–dense, deeply golden blocks with a tender, buttery crumb and a thick, crunchy crust. Ohhhhh, I long for it still! But that’s another story.

    I don’t have my dad’s recipe for divinity, but I carried on his tradition of making divinity for Christmas until I graduated from an old-style stand mixer to a KitchenAide with the paddle. I had to quit making divinity then because the syrup would hang up on the paddle when I poured it, no matter where in the bowl I tried. The syrup would fail to mix with the egg whites and I would have a mess.

    I never had that problem with the old stand mixer with its metal beaters. I would slowly pour the syrup on top of the snowy beaten egg whites while the bowl went ’round and ’round, and the whole glossy mass would grow and thicken and finally lose its gloss and become DELICIOUS candy. But it never worked in the KitchenAide. Making divinity just quietly slipped away from me.

    Reading this blog has inspired me to try again, though I still have a KitchenAide. Perhaps the recipe I was using was at fault. We’ll see. I’ll probably never be back to report, because I find these fascinating places by accident and never return. Hope I can make divinity with your recipe! THANK YOU for posting it.

  17. I’m glad I came across this website. When I thought I would try to make divinity, it was definitely a last minute thought. I assumed I would have to throw out my attempt for a number of reasons. I had dark corn syrup as opposed to light, no candy thermometer, a hand mixer and above all when I checked the humidity of my area it was at 88%! But I couldn’t resist at least giving it a whirl, it’s Xmas eve and I wanted to surprise my dad with an old family tradition that has since been deserted-no pun intended lol. Once I found out the different candy stages, cooking the syrup to the right temperature wasn’t too difficult, but this step by step guide really helped me out and to my surprise around 10 minutes of mixing, it thickened drastically. I added the first 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar more as a precautionary, but when I was dropping the spoonfuls onto the wax paper, the consistency amazed me. I only hope they turn out as good as I’m feeling and that my dad approves. Thanks for the good tips!

  18. […] up! After perusing more than a few blogs for the perfect divinity recipe, I finally settled on this one from Spinning Sugar because of all the helpful little notes (such as not to scrape the bowl/pan) […]

  19. Okay, I admit it. I am a failure. Never mind that I’m writing the third edition of the family cookbook. I cannot make divinity. Perhaps once in the last 10 attempts it turned into wonderful white clouds, dry on the outside, moist and creamy on the inside. My family recipe from Grandma has the exact same ingredients as yours, with slightly different instructions (tempering the egg whites with some syrup at 234 and then adding the rest at 265). I tried your recipe after another failure yesterday and the results were only slightly thicker white goo, even after adding the powdered sugar twice out of desperation. Where could I be going wrong? I’m beginning to suspect my digital thermometer isn’t up to snuff, since I tested it after Failure #2 and it reads boiling water at anything from 204 to 220 degrees. Any suggestions aside from acquiring a new candy thermometer?

    • Bless your persistent heart! By this very late date, I am certain you have a new thermometer… Success with divinity is all about temperature, technique and a low-humidity day!

  20. My mother had been making Divinity since she was 16 years old. she died at 90. I am now 84 and still doing the candy. I made it, with her help and now my daughter makes a mean divinity. The only thing we ever add is pecans and very carefully. If the candy is too hot, the oil is drawn out of the pecans and it won’t set up. We do not use a mixer but a large flat platter and a flat whisk and beat by hand. We do two pourings. Half at soft ball stage and the final half at the hard ball stage. Cooking the syrup during the pouring. It takes two people; one to beat and one to pour. My mother never used a mixer. She tried but it was never to her satisfaction. Her candy was legendary. Teachers loved to have out children in their classrooms because they always got Divinity Fudge. I have a platter(never plastic) but I need a new whisk. I haven’t hit antique shops. Happy cooking!

  21. Thank you so much!!! I have my grandmothers recipe that I have made very successfully for years. But this year I moved to a higher altitude and a different environment and after 3 failed batches I couldn’t figure out what was happening. It never lost it’s gloss on one batch, then it lost it’s gloss but just wouldn’t set up. I realized the humidity was quite high so I decided to try again. But after checking the forecast it’s going to be over 60% humidity the rest of the week which doesn’t give me any time to make this. However with your tips I feel more confident I can do it now!!! Wish me luck!

  22. Just tried your recipe, never lossed gloss I added the 2 Tbls of powered sugar but that did not help. I put in a pan and I’m eating it with a spoon, the vanilla is overpowering. I looked at other recipes and they all show tsp not
    Tbl is this a misprint ? I will try again,

    • As far as the divinity not setting, I would ask about your humidity at the time. If that was below 50%, I would question the temp of the syrup and whether your thermometer was calibrated. My recipe does, indeed, call for 1 tbsp., but I like a strong vanilla flavor, which you may not. You may certainly reduce the amount to 1 tsp. without any problem. Geez, I can well understand your frustration to go to all the trouble and expense of trying to make divinity and meeting a failed batch!!

  23. Cooking the syrup to 265 degrees (which is the hard ball stage on my grandmothers ancient thermometer) is the key to getting it to set. 250 is just not hot enough.

    • I don’t doubt that at all. So many factors come into play, such as relative humidity, altitude and your thermometer’s calibration. In our grandmothers’ time, thermometers were great, but they still relied upon touch and appearance of syrup to achieve the proper cooking times, as their grandmothers (and theirs…) had before them. Many thanks for your input and very best wishes.

      • My mother always ‘spun a thread’ or dropped small drops in water. Though I watch her a million times, it seems, I cannot achieve results that way. She never owned a candy thermometer. I talked to a buddy’s mom (Late 70s), on her advice cooked to 255 to 260, and have always had luck, even when raining outside. Humidity has less to do with it now, as most live in air conditioned environments

      • Yes, Joe, and thank you for that memory. The experts are always those who have done this hundreds of times, year after year, after year. What a treasure they are to all of us! But that humidity thing…. Yes, we live in climate-controlled homes these days (blessing there!), but that still won’t protect a syrup. It certainly gives us a great cushion, but only a sealed lab could ensure no humidity effects. I’ve tried many, many times to pull off Divinity when it was humid outside, to no avail. Many candies can be made, but the whipping incorporates so much air, there seems to be no threshold of forgiveness for me. Yet you know somewhere there is someone pulling this off under the worst of conditions and circumstances!! Dad gummed show-offs!! Best wishes to you and yours, Joe.

  24. Thank you for the tips! I use mini cupcake holders to make mine. I ended up putting them in the oven (off) due to humidity in the air and they finally ended up right! I just peel back the sides of the cupcake holders until the sides set and then turn them upside down pushing them out so the bottoms set! My boyfriend hasn’t had them since his mom passed and loved them! This was definitely the best recipe and tons of helpful hints.

    • What a brilliant idea! Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season! And I thank you for your very kind comment. Your boyfriend is a very lucky gentleman to have you.

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