It’s not cookies, but Santa won’t mind this on his plate

 

I promised that we were going to finish out 2020 on a sweet note, because I think we all deserve a treat or two this year. When a reader asked for some gluten-free recipes, I knew this week we would be focused on a different kind of treat… a non-cookie that belts out, “It’s Christmastime!” in my mind every time I think of it. 

I was in the grocery store the other day, and was stopped in my tracks when I rounded a corner and nearly knocked over a display. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but packages of Divinity! I have never before seen packages of Divinity at the grocery store… maybe I wasn’t looking for it before.  

I wasn’t looking for it the other day, but there it was – in all of its delicious glory, on display next to the mineral water and wine. I couldn’t believe my eyes and grabbed probably more than I should have to add to our cookie platters when family comes to visit in the next couple weeks.

 

Divinity candy has been around for over 100 years. The name comes from the divine taste – it’s a meringue that needs to be made when humidity is low. Pretty much any time in Far West Texas is a good opportunity to whip up a batch of Divinity. The form of divinity we know today, bright white and topped with a pecan, was first sold around 1915. Legend has it that Karo Syrup,  invented about a decade before, made Divinity what it is today. 

Is there such a thing as “too much” Divinity? Probably. But, it only happens once a year, if I’m lucky. Plus, I know when to stop consuming the fluffy, chewy white candy, sprinkled with pecan pieces that fills me with happy Christmas memories with family and scads of cousins everywhere.  

For most of my life, we spent Christmas Eve at my Aunt Joyce’s house, packed with cousins and family. Food was everywhere, and she always made Divinity – a white candy that resembled little puffy clouds and tastes like heaven. 

It’s things like old recipes that evoke memories of the past that help family heritage stay alive over the generations. Make something this holiday season that your older relatives used to make. My hope is that one bite fills you with warm memories.  

Just the thought of Aunt Joyce’s Divinity does that for me, and if you can’t find the Divinity made and ready for you at the store, give this recipe a try. It’s a modern twist on the old-fashioned candy recipe, and it doesn’t require a candy thermometer. You got time to perfect it before your Christmas festivities are in full swing.  

Please send requests, comments and questions to johnskrysta@gmail.com 

No-Cook Divinity Candy 

1 box (7.2 oz.) Betty Crocker Home Style Fluffy White Frosting Mix 
1/3 cup light corn syrup 
1/2 cup boiling water 
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup toasted pecan pieces, if desired 
Assorted holiday sprinkles, if desired  

Cover two or more large baking sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper. 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the frosting mix (dry mix), the corn syrup, and the boiling water. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.  
 
With the mixer still running, slowly add in confectioners’ sugar a little at a time; mix until just combined. Add the vanilla and mix briefly. The finished mixture should be billowy and light. 

Piped: Transfer the candy to a piping big fitted with an open star decorator tip. Pipe the mixture in swirls about the size of a large gumball onto the prepared pans. Immediately cover with sprinkles, if using. 

Spooned: Drop candy mixture by the heaping teaspoon onto the prepared pans. Immediately cover with sprinkles, if desired. 

Let candies stand, uncovered, until dry to the touch, about 6-8 hours. When the outside of the candies feel firm, turn over. Dry 6 more hours, or overnight. Store candies in an airtight container. 

Note for nuts: After the candy mixture is prepared, 1 cup of toasted nuts may be folded in. Use the spoon method to portion 

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