What is Divinity Candy?
One of the questions we are frequently asked is, "What exactly is divinity candy, anyway?" You may have wondered this yourself, especially if you're not too familiar with the wide range of candies, sweets, and treats enjoyed in the South. Fortunately, we're here to provide everything you want to know about this classic confection, including its origins, how it's made, and why it's such a favorite around the holidays.
Divinity is a confection made from egg whites, corn syrup, and sugar. It's similar to nougat, fudge, and marshmallow. The sugar is sometimes replaced with brown sugar to create another treat commonly known as "sea foam." Alternative sweeteners like maple syrup or honey are sometimes used in place of the corn syrup. Other ingredients may be included as well, such as flavorings, chopped dried fruit, and chopped nuts. Pecans are one of the nuts most often put into divinity, so it's no wonder we love it so much here at Priester's.
As far as texture, divinity is very light, airy, and soft, not unlike a meringue. Of course, this may also depend on what additional ingredients are used in preparing it.
Where Does Divinity Candy Come From?
Divinity originated in the early 20th century United States, though it has roots in Turkish delight and European treats from the 17th and 18th centuries. The type of divinity widely made today first appeared in a recipe from 1915. However, an earlier version including milk debuted in 1907. Divinity's emergence largely coincided with the rise in popularity of corn syrup, which was also occurring in the early 1900s. In fact, a divinity recipe was promoted in a cooking brochure published by Karo, one of the leading corn syrup brands.
The inclusion of pecans in divinity led to its close association with the American South, though it's certainly enjoyed all over the country as a sweet delicacy. One bite will also clue you in to where it may have gotten its unusual name, because it definitely is divine!
How Is Divinity Made?
With only a few ingredients involved, divinity is fairly simple to make, although there are a few key points to keep in mind. For one thing, divinity should not be prepared in a humid environment in order to experience the best results. If there is too much moisture in the air, the divinity will absorb it and become much too gooey.
When you have the ingredients and the proper environment, you're ready to make divinity. While methods can vary, most recipes involve some form of these main steps:
- Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Put egg whites into a mixer and beat them until stiff peaks start to form.
- When the hot sugar mixture in the saucepan reaches 260 degrees Fahrenheit (known as the "hard-ball stage" in candy making), slowly pour it in a thin stream over the egg whites.
- Continue to beat the mixture until it holds its shape. Don't overdo it, or the divinity will become crumbly and stiff. At this point, you can also fold in extra ingredients such as pecans.
- Drop the candy by the spoonful onto pans lined with wax paper. Let it stand at room temperature until it's dry and firm to the touch. (This may take about 12 hours.) Then store in an airtight container.
Divinity for the Holidays
For many people in the South and beyond, divinity is synonymous with holiday celebrations. It's considered a traditional Christmas treat along with other sweet classics like fudge, bark, and brittle. Divinity is the perfect way to indulge during seasonal festivities. We love sharing them with friends and family after holiday dinner or as gifts.
Here at Priester's, we have plenty of divinity candies for you to enjoy, whether it's your first or 100th time taking a bite of this soft, fluffy confection. Pecan divinity is our specialty, of course, but if you prefer no extra ingredients, you can also try our no-nut divinity. Each batch that comes out of our kitchen is made with the freshest ingredients according to our traditional recipes, so you'll experience authentic Southern quality and taste no matter where you are. Our divinity is available in gift tins, bags, boxes, and economy packages, making it easy to order enough for just yourself or stock up for the big Christmas party.
If you're in a gift-giving mood, divinity is also featured in several of our popular Priester's gift boxes, tins, and samplers. These include the Southern Delights Sampler and Snack Pack Box, where it appears alongside favorite treats like pecan logs, pecan brittle, praline pecans, pecan fiddlesticks, milk chocolate covered pecans, and much more. They're a great way to send a delicious greeting to someone special during the holidays. For more ideas, you can shop by occasion to find the perfect items for every important day on the calendar.
We hope we've inspired you to try divinity for yourself. Or if you're already a fan, maybe it's time to refill your candy cupboard? Priester's Pecans is always happy to send these genuine Southern treats right to your doorstep. If you have any questions or would like to place an order, feel free to give us a call at 800-277-3226 or contact us online.