I remember my grandmother making Divinity (that’s all she called it) as a kid. She’d beat the sugary mixture for what seemed like ages to me, by hand, of course. Thank goodness we have modern appliances to help make this delicious treat, in a much easier but still authentic-tasting form. Thought to have its origins in the Southern US around the turn of the last century, Divinity Fudge is a nougat-like candy that is prepared both with and without nuts; some people add chopped maraschino cherries for a more festive version. You can sometimes find it in the southern states sold in a larger format labelled as pecan logs. Be sure to have a candy thermometer or instant-read digital thermometer on hand when you make this (and any candy) recipe. It keeps well at room temperature for a week and can be frozen up to three months.
- 2 2/3 cups (630 mL) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (155 mL) light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
- 2 egg whites
- 3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) vanilla
- 3 1/3 cups (785 mL) chopped pecans, divided
- Small amount of butter, for greasing hands
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat without stirring until the mixture reaches 250F (about 8 – 10 minutes) on a candy thermometer. Watch the mixture carefully to be sure it does not exceed the desired temperature.
- While sugar mixture cooks, put egg whites in a large metal bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one) and beat (use the whisk attachment if you have one) on high speed until firm.
- Also while sugar mixture cooks, divide the chopped pecans. Reserve 1 1/3 cups to add to the fudge. Take the remaining 2 cups and chop them so they are twice as fine. Put into a shallow dish.
- Once the sugar syrup has reached 250F, remove the pot from the heat immediately.
- With the mixer running, slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the beaten whites without scraping the saucepan (this should take about 60 – 90 seconds to drizzle in) and continue beating until very stiff (approximately 15 minutes).
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during the first few minutes of beating.
- While the mixture is beating, put four or five ice cubes in a kitchen towel and rub this around the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cooling the sugar and egg mixture in this way will help it firm up faster.
- When the mixture is no longer glossy and quite stiff (you can turn the mixer off and lift up the whisk or beaters, creating stiff peaks that barely flop over), it is ready.
- Shake excess fudge off the whisk or beaters and set aside.
- With a large spoon, stir in vanilla and the 1 1/3 cups chopped pecans.
- Apply a very small amount of butter (1/4 teaspoon or less) to the palms of your hands so the fudge mixture will not adhere to them.
- Shape fudge mixture into small balls (no larger than 3/4 inch in diameter) and roll the balls in remaining chopped pecans, pressing gently so the nuts adhere.
- Set on the parchment lined baking sheet to cool. Note that they will continue to firm up as they cool to room temperature.
- Store in layers separated with parchment in airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes approximately 48 fudge balls.