Margaret’s Divinity

December 22, 2009

Divinity is light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth, sugary goodness strewn with pecans. My grandmother always made this traditional Southern candy at Christmas and my mother often did too.  A few years ago I asked my mother to find the original recipe among my grandmother’s collection.  She couldn’t find anything in my grandmother’s handwriting but she found this.  Margaret Rucker’s Divinity.

Margaret was my grandmother’s dearest friend for most of their lives.  I have such wonderful memories of her, a boisterously funny, loving and delightful woman who said just what was on her mind. We’re quite sure the two of them shared this recipe along with everything else they shared over a lifetime, including passing away on the same day.

Here’s her recipe as written:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white Karo syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans

Boil sugar, water and Karo syrup until thread forms or temperature reaches 248.  Beat egg whites while this is boiling.  When thread forms, pour 1/3 syrup mixture over egg whites, beating constantly on high speed with mixer.  Put syrup back on heat for about 1 minute and then pour 1/3 more over egg mixture. Cook last 1/3 about 1 minute and pour this over mixture.  Beat until it starts getting too hard to mix.  Stir with a wooden spoon until ready to drop.  Add pecans and vanilla; drop with spoon onto waxed paper when candy will stand in peaks. Makes 36 pieces.

Now here’s how I did it.The ingredients are just as above, although I didn’t measure the pecans.Combining the water and corn syrup made it easier to scrape the thick syrup into the pan.  I doubt Margaret’s version included the glass of wine.Combine the sugar, syrup and water and bring to a boil without stirring.  Her recipe calls 248 the thread stage but I remember it being called the firm ball stage?  Not much need to know those stages anymore, as most of us use nifty digital thermometers instead of the cup of cold water.Meanwhile, separate the eggs .Beat the egg whites until they’re nice and foamy but not really stiff.When the syrup is ready, do just as she says.  Pour in about a third and beat at high speed.  Put the syrup back on the heat.Continue adding in thirds, just as the recipe says.  The mixture will get really thick as you continue beating while it cools.It does get more difficult to mix and when I lifted the beater out of the bowl it was a very slow, thick ribbon here.Stir in the vanilla.Stir in the pecans.  I added them a handful at a time until it looked about right.  I probably used more than a cup.Drop onto wax paper by the spoonful.  Let it sit for a few hours.  It’s ready to eat when it loses it’s shine.Enjoy this rich yet light and airy treat!  A little goes a long way.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mom December 22, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I’m not sure about the wine comment. If I remember, Margaret might well have included it as a part of the cooking process. What a joy she was!


2 Karen Bove December 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Well, she sure wouldn’t have included that in the copy of the recipe she gave to your mother!


3 Chris December 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

I can’t remember the last time I had divinity. And, I have never made it. This looks delicious. And something I might actually be able to do! (Anything with a candy thermometer scares me!)


4 Karen Bove December 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I’m not much of a baker or candy maker myself. I don’t like all that precision when it comes to measurements and temperatures! But this one’s pretty easy and definitely worth it for a once-a-year treat.


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