Help: Sugar and Caramel Stages
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- 2 large egg whites
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Traditional Divinity: ½ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped, or
- Cranberry Divinity: ½ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped and ½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped, or
- Christmas Divinity: ½ cup red or green candied cherries, coarsely chopped, or
- Halloween Divinity: ½ cup orange gumdrops, coarsely chopped and 5 drops orange food coloring, or
- Valentine Divinity: ½ cup crushed peppermint candies with 2 drops red food coloring.
- In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Set aside. Tip: Use a stand mixer; a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power for the heavy texture of the candy.
- In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
- Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 260 degrees F, a hard ball stage, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup.
- Meanwhile, as the temperature of the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F, continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 260 degrees F, Immediately remove pan from the heat. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 250 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 260 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 260 degrees to prevent it from going over 260 degrees.
- Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with the electric mixer at medium speed. This will cause the egg whites to double in volume. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
- Slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue beating at high speed until the candy cools and changes from a smooth shiny texture to a rough dull texture. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. As soon as the texture changes to the rough dull texture, stop beating and remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a heavy wooden spoon, quickly stir in one of the optional add-ins of your choice.
- Quickly drop divinity by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared pans. Let the divinity set until cooled.
- Divinity can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about one week.