Old-fashioned divinity candy is a holiday classic — fluffy meringue blended with sugar and swirled with crunchy pecans, every bite is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
What is Divinity Candy?
Divinity candy is a delicious, old-fashioned confection made with egg whites, sugar, and corn syrup. It has a chewy, nougat-like texture and a delicate sweetness that makes it a favorite nostalgic treat.
While it is not overly complicated, divinity candy requires some attention to detail during the cooking process. The key steps involve combining and heating the sugar and corn syrup to a very specific temperature, then slowly whipping it into stiff egg whites to create a meringue-like mixture. This is then cooked further until it reaches the hard ball stage, and finally, the candy is flavored and poured into a pan to set.
Old-Fashioned Pecan Divinity Candy
Divinity has a special place in our family. When I was growing up in the 60’s, Granny would make it for the holidays, and it was always a special treat that we looked forward to.
Recently I was talking to mom (Granny) and she told me more of the history of divinity in our family.
When Granny was a child, her mom would make several flavors of divinity, including pecan and cherry divinity, to give as gifts to the teachers at the local school. According to my mom, the teachers at her school loved this special treat!
Mémère would make the divinity and cool it on a plate. Then she would cut the divinity up, put each piece in a cupcake holder, and stack the candies in coffee cans. For my first attempt at making divinity candy, I stayed true to Mémère’s plate method. It turned out just how I remembered it! (Though I think it will be easier to cool the divinity on a parchment lined baking sheet or pan).
As a child, I grew up with divinity as a Christmas treat that only came around once a year. Now that I know how to make it, I plan to make it in the future as well!
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ + 1/8 cup water (3/8 cup total)
- 2 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
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To Prep: If using whole pecans, chop into small pieces. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Measure the sugar, corn syrup, and water directly into a medium saucepan and stir thoroughly to combine ingredients. Place the saucepan on medium heat and do not stir again. As the sugar mixture heats, it will begin to bubble and boil. It takes about 10 minutes or so for it to reach 265 degrees F.
- While the sugar mixture is bubbling, prepare your egg whites in a heat proof bowl. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. When the sugar mixture reaches 265°F, turn off heat and remove the pan from stovetop.
- Holding the hot sugar mixture pan in one hand and your mixer in your other, carefully pour the hot sugar into the egg whites as you beat the egg whites and sugar on low speed. Once all the sugar is mixed into the egg whites, continue beating the divinity for about five minutes. The mixture will thicken and lose its sheen.
- Stir in your chopped pecans and pour the divinity mixture onto your prepared surface and let set up for a few hours.
- Tools – You will need an accurate candy thermometer for this recipe. Success depends on heating the sugar mixture to the correct temperature. While I used a hand mixer, I believe that a stand mixer would make the process easier since it would free up a hand and make it easier to pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites. It doesn’t affect the finished divinity though.
- Work Quickly – The hot candy mixture is also extremely sticky. When it touches anything, it turns into hard candy. So, expect your spoons, candy thermometer, and everything else to have hard candy stuck to it.
- Batching – While the finished candy is soft and fluffy, the sugar corn syrup mixture is an extremely hot substance. I recommend making a small batch such as this while you are learning to make divinity. When you’ve got the hang of it, you may be able to increase the recipe size for a larger yield in one sitting.
- Storage – Cut the finished divinity into small squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Pro Tip – Every recipe I looked at said to not make it on raining days. I’m guessing because high humidity could negatively affect the outcome or make the candy mixture too sticky.
- Garnish – You don’t actually have to garnish divinity candy at all, but if you’d like a little something extra, candied pecan halves look fantastic on top of each piece!
More of Mémère’s Old-Fashioned Recipes
Pecan Divinity Candy Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
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Old-Fashioned Divinity Candy
- hand-mixer or stand mixer
- 8X8 heat proof pan
- large heat proof bowl
- Candy Thermometer
- medium saucepan
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 3/8 cup water (1/4 cup + 1/8 cup)
- 2 egg whites
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- If you are adding pecans or cherries prepare them ahead of time. The cherries need to be drained and then put on top of paper towels to get them as dry as possible.
- Measure the sugar, corn syrup, and water directly into a medium saucepan and stir thoroughly to combine ingredients.
- Place the saucepan on medium heat and do not stir again.
- As the sugar mixture heats, it will begin to bubble. It takes about 10 minutes or so for it to reach 265 degrees.
- While the sugar mixture is bubbling, prepare your egg whites in a heat proof bowl. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Chop pecans or cherries if using.
- Prepare a place to put your finished divinity. My favorite and easier way, was to line an 8X8 pan with parchment paper and give it a light spray of non-stick spray. .
- When the sugar mixture reaches 265, turn off heat and remove the pan.
- Holding the hot sugar mixture pan in one hand and your mixer in your other, carefully pour the hot sugar into the egg whites as you beat the egg whites and sugar on low speed.
- Once all the sugar is mixed into the egg whites, continue beating the divinity for about five minutes. The mixture will thicken and lose its gloss.
- Stir in the chopped pecans.
- Pour onto your prepared surface and let set up for a few hours.
- Remove from pan by lifting carefully the sides of the parchment paper. Cut into small squares.
- Store in an airtight container.
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