But first, a story:
I was scrolling through Instagram recently when I came across a picture of a book on Sara’s feed that (literally) stopped me in my tracks:
I hadn’t thought about this book in DECADES – but I recognized it right away and asked Sara if there was a recipe for “Divinity” inside. And sure enough there was.
I had this book growing up. I don’t know how or why as it was not the kind of thing my mom would have been into. But I was obsessed with it nonetheless, in particular this recipe for Divinity.
There was no way that I was able to attempt it, as it required a mixer, a candy thermometer and the understanding of such culinary terms as “hard ball”. But time and time again I would turn specifically to this recipe. It sounded fancy, complicated and vaguely Catholic.
But by the time I was out on my own – and fully equipped with a stand mixer (two, in fact!) and a candy thermometer – I had completely forgotten about Divinity. I never came across it in any classes I took, books I bought, magazines I read or the many pastry shops and confectioneries I loved to frequent.
But the moment I saw that book I remembered. And I needed that book.
And then I needed to make Divinity.
As I was now a little more experienced in the kitchen than the last time I looked at the recipe, I knew that a bit of research was in order. The book was adorable, indeed, with sweet and funny comic strips to accompany each recipe. But the recipes themselves ran the gamut in terms of vagueness. And since candy making requires some measure of precision I decided to look up other Divinity recipes first.
And for those of you like me, who were unfamiliar with this confection, a bit of history:
“Food historians generally agree that Divinity…is an early 20th century American invention. Why? One of the primary ingredients in early Divinity recipes is corn syrup, a product actively marketed to (& embraced by) American consumers as a sugar substitute at that time…Karo brand corn syrup, introduced by the Corn Products Refining Company in 1902, was/is perhaps the most famous. It is no coincidence that early Karo cooking brochures contain recipes for Divinity.” (source: The Food Timeline)
So now I knew where it came from. Kind of. But, more importantly, how was it supposed to taste? What was the texture like? Having only the tiny little illustration from the book to refer to I also did an image search to see. And from what I gathered, it looked pretty much like meringue/nougat/marshmallow hybrid.
And it turned out that the book’s recipe was pretty close to what I found in more modern versions. But I wanted to put my own twist on it. The traditional candy is made with pecans (no way), and sometimes candied cherries (meh). I thought about adding espresso powder or melted chocolate, but ultimately went with Biscoff.
Because, well, Biscoff.
And I got to work.
Okay you guys, this stuff is SUUUUUUUUUUUPER sweet. And this is from someone who loves her sugar. And given the ingredient list this is something I wouldn’t be making (or eating) on the regular.
But after a few decades I figured it was okay. More than okay, actually.
Thank you Sara!
slightly adapted from Peanuts Cook Book
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Biscoff, melted till smooth and pourable (about 30 seconds in the microwave)
Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with parchment paper in both directions, making a “sling”.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and attach a thermometer. Cook until a temperature of 260 degrees is reached. Remove from heat.
Beat the egg whites and salt on high until the stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to low and very slowly add the syrup, followed by the vanilla. Crank speed back up to high and beat for 5 minutes. Add the Biscoff and beat for a few seconds, to just incorporate but remain “swirled”. Transfer to your prepared pan, smooth with an angled spatula and let set overnight. Cut into squares.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
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