Sunday, December 03, 2006

Monday Morning Recipe

This is a repost of an entry on my old blog....

Divinity - I love the memories this particular candy brings to mind. It has brought me joy, frustration and many laughs. My earliest memories of Christmas include this heavenly confection. This was one of the candies that Grandmother and Papa always made - along with fudge and those chinese noodle/butterscotch things (never can remember the name of those). The divinity at Grandmother's ended soon after Papa died, she couldn't stir them the last little bit - it was too difficult. Homemade divinity became a Christmas dream.

When RacerDad and I shared our first Christmas together I called Grandmother and asked for her recipe. She gladly sent me the "receipt" along with a note that she had gotten the recipe from school, maybe in 1942. Thus began my frustration with divinity. It became my nemesis. I would follow her directions explicitly and end up with a marshmallow cream-like slime. I would beat until my arm would be ready to fall off to no avail. I would have RacerDad beat (his arm is much stronger than mine) - still no divinity. I began to think that maybe divinity could not be made in Texas, Grandmother always said you needed a cool crisp day - no humidity, for it to turn out right. That had to be the reason - I am a decent cook, I can follow recipes.

Christmas season 1998 will always come to mind when I make divinity. It was our first year in our own home. The house was beautifully decorated. It was a new era in our lives, so of course the divinity would turn out. I waited for the "perfect cool, crisp day" and naptime. Speedy B was 2 and asleep on my bed. Cowodie was 6 months and napping peacefully in his crib. The weather below 30 - no clouds. I gathered my ingredients and the hand mixer (RacerDad had pointed out that we had this modern convenience why not use it?). I began. Things were looking good, each stage followed with good results. Then came the final beating - according to Grandmother this must happen outside in order to get the right consistency. So I went outside. I began the final beating by hand out on the patio. I began to get cold and my divinity looked no different than it had in the house. I figured just a little longer - five more minutes, no change. Once again, divinity had won. I turned to go into the house and found that the pole had fallen into place in the sliding glass door. I was locked out. My babies were asleep in the house and I was locked outside in the cold - in shorts and houseshoes. No phone to call RacerDad. No neighbors at home. Panic set in. As I wandered in the front yard, by this time looking slightly crazed, one of our male neighbors drove up. Bless his heart he came to help me and didn't make any comments about my locking myself out of the house, or wearing shorts and houseshoes outside on such a cold day. As we walked around the house looking for the easiest way in we passed by the sliding glass door. There stood Speedy B crying and looking for me - now not only was I a failure at divinity and a nut for going out improperly dressed, I was a terrible mother! I started crying too. The sweet neighbor was able to calm Speedy B down enough that he was able to lift the pole out of the way. Speedy B became the rescue hero of the day.

One more year without divinity! I determined that I would not try it again.

The next year, my best friend, the wife of the man who rescued me, brought me a big shirt box with a bow. Upon opening it, I found a box full of DIVINITY. She then had the "nerve" to tell me this was her first attempt - it was beautiful, perfect and delicious! I couldn't believe it. I was as good a cook as my friend. I follow recipes. Why could she make it and I couldn't?? So I asked her - where did you get your recipe? She just followed the one out of the Betty Crocker cookbook. Dare I ask for this recipe? Dare I try yet again? What if it failed, could I live with the disappointment?

My dear friend shared the recipe that I am posting here. I am pleased to say that this recipe has never failed me. I still have the recipe my grandmother sent me - it is one of my treasures written in her own hand. Maybe one day I will try it again -

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup karo syrup
1/2 water
2 egg whites
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup nuts opt.

Combine sugar, syrup and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium. Cook without stirring to 260 degrees (10 to 15 minutes).

In mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Tips will stand straight up.
Pour syrup mixture in thin stream over egg whites while beating on high. Continue beating on high speed three minutes. Scrape sides occasionally. Add vanilla. Continue beating on high until the mixture looses its gloss (5-6 minutes).

As my grandmother said in her note to me - good luck!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I am glad yours turned out! I have used that Betty Crocker recipie without fail for about 18 years...until last year and this that is. I cannot get it to turn out anymore for anything. I and my mother have both had problems since Karo changed their syrup and put it in plastic bottles....I don't have any other thing to look at that is different! Very frustrating!