Eating divinity candy at Christmastime is a tradition here in the south, and it seems like everyone has a beloved family recipe. The recipe I use is not a family heirloom, but is from a 1987 Hershey’s cookbook that is filled with vintage recipes. Like all divinity recipes, it uses simple ingredients, but it can be temperamental to make. Similar to meringue cookies, divinity should be made on dry days with low humidity. Too much humidity will prevent the candy from setting.
Making divinity is almost like making homemade marshmallows, but after the candy is beaten in an electric mixer and portioned, the outside dries to a slightly crunchy crust. The interior – well. I think that’s where divinity gets its name! Inside holds a fluffy nougat texture that is worth the time spent watching the weather report for ideal cooking conditions.
Most divinity candy is dolloped onto waxed paper to dry, but I piped it into mini cupcake papers. You have to do this swiftly because divinity sets up fast! Dark chocolate kisses in the centers of each cup makes the candy pretty enough gift.
I packaged up quite a few boxes for friends and I ate a good portion, too! You can find the long clear candy boxes I used here. An important note on boxing – be sure to press the chocolate kisses down into the divinity halfway, otherwise they’ll be too tall to fit inside the box.
You can find mini peppermint stripe cupcake papers similar to the ones I used here.
If you pipe the candy as I did, I recommend wrapping the piping bag with a dish towel beforehand. The candy will be quite warm and it could become uncomfortable while piping thirty candy cups. Or, you can do it the old fashioned way and dollop the candy onto waxed paper. I’ve included instructions for both methods.
Yields about 30 candies
2 1/2 cups (500g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (156g) light corn syrup
1/2 cup (125ml) water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
30 Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped
Notes for candy cups: Have a mini cupcake pan lined with papers, a piping bag ready to hand, and all of the chocolate kisses unwrapped ahead of time.
Notes for drop candy: Cover a large work surface with waxed paper or parchment. Have two spoons ready to hand for portioning the candy. Have chocolate kisses unwrapped ahead of time.
Cooking directions: Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Cook without stirring until the syrup reaches 260F (hard ball stage) or until a small amount of syrup dropped into very cold water forms a ball which is hard enough to hold its shape, yet malleable.
Immediately beat egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour the hot syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites, beating at high speed. Add vanilla and beat until the candy is stiff and holds its shape.
Piping method: Quickly transfer the candy to a large piping bag with 1/2-inch hole snipped. Swiftly pipe the candy into the paper liners, about 5 at a time, and quickly press a chocolate kiss into the tops of each 5 candies. Continue with the next five cups and chocolate kisses until all 30 pieces of candy are piped into cups and topped with a kiss. Cool.
Drop method: Quickly drop candy by spoonfuls onto waxed paper using two spoons. Use one spoon to dip the candy from the bowl and the other spoon to push the candy off of the first spoon and onto the waxed paper. Top each candy with a chocolate kiss. Cool.
Drying divinity candy: Divinity requires a brief drying period before storage. After piping in cupcake liners or dropping the candy on waxed paper, leave the candy uncovered for about 12 hours or overnight. The finished candy should be dry to the touch on the outside, but light and soft inside.
Storage: Divinity should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you’re packaging them for short term (a few pieces that will be eaten soon after) a candy box is acceptable. Long-term storage requires air-tight packaging. Packaged air-tight, candies will stay fresh at room temperature for 10-14 days. Do not store candies in the refrigerator. Condensation from refrigeration will make the candies slimy.