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What is Divinity Candy?

By Cathy Rogers
Updated May 16, 2024
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Divinity candy is a meringue-type confection also known as white divinity fudge or even rolls. Those who study food history find that this candy most likely originated in the early 1900s. Although there are variations of the numerous recipes for this candy, most contain granulated sugar, water, egg whites, and corn syrup. Some recipes also contain nuts and vanilla.

Other variations contain chocolate, coconut and/or various other flavorings, such as peppermint extract or orange oil. Some recipes call the confection seafoam instead of divinity candy when brown sugar is used instead of granulated sugar. No matter what the variation, the result remains a fluffy, air like candy with a crisp outer layer.

The first reference to divinity candy in an American cookbook appeared around 1915. According to this particular recipe, the cook beats the ingredients and then drops the mixture by spoonfuls for cooling. However, a recipe for divinity fudge appeared in The New York Times about eight years earlier. This particular fudge recipe included cold milk and chopped nuts and instructed the cook to spread the mixture in a pan to be cut in squares after cooling.

Although references are made to divinity candy being a Southern food, it seems to be a dessert made and enjoyed in all areas of the U.S. The southern reference could be attributed to the version of divinity that is garnished in the center by a pecan half. Many candy shops and Internet businesses offer divinity candy for sale if you’re not up for making it at home. Although it’s not verifiable, food historians believe that the candy got its name from the taste: most likely someone referred to the confection as “divine.”

If you choose to make your own divinity candy, keep a few things in mind. It is difficult for the candy to harden on a humid day, so choose a dry day for candy-making. You’ll also need a candy thermometer to determine exactly when the mixture of sugar, salt, syrup and water is ready for the addition of the egg whites.

After completion, the mixture hardens quickly, so you must work rapidly to drop the mixture onto waxed paper. Add a few drops of hot water if the mixture gets too thick before you are finished. If the mixture won’t hold up, beat again for one minute. Some recipes mention using two spoons to scrape the mixture onto the paper. With a twirling motion, you can create a swirl-like effect, similar to the peak of a cone of soft serve ice cream. Store the candy in a tightly-covered container.

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Discussion Comments
By anon235651 — On Dec 18, 2011

Although there are many versions of divinity, my favorite is made with peanut butter. Pour out the divinity on a floured board, pat flat with floured hand, cover with peanut butter and roll and cut like a jelly roll. Delicious!

Even when the candy doesn't "set", my children and I would have at it with a spoon. It certainly doesn't go to waste.

I'm making it now for the first time in years. It's an unusually wet day in southern CA and it's been a trial. The last batch to go will be seafoam, which I have never made.

By amypollick — On Oct 15, 2011

@galen84basc: The divinity I'm accustomed to seeing is a fluffy sort of candy that's airy and sticky. Toffee is more chewy and taffy-like, to me. What I call divinity really isn't chewy, unless it's getting some age on it and is starting to get stale.

Divinity is twice as temperamental as fudge, and I just don't like it well enough to fool with it, personally. I don't get the chocolate payoff that I do with fudge. Anything that involves dealing with egg whites either does beautifully or fails spectacularly. There's not really an in-between. I'd rather do a cooked caramel frosting than mess with making divinity, any day. And cooked caramel frostings are temperamental in their own right.

By anon131973 — On Dec 04, 2010

Your definition of divinity is limited by your experience with only one kind. If you compare recipes, you will see that the second kind is not meringue-like because the egg whites are not beaten separately or, if separately, not to stiff peak stage. This type is spread in a pan and cut in squares like fudge, hence the term "divinity fudge."

By anon128913 — On Nov 21, 2010

Help! I'd love a sugar free divinity too. if you know how to make it, please share it. Thank you! --Grateful.

By galen84basc — On Oct 16, 2010

This sounds kind of like the recipe for making old fashioned toffee candy. Is it at all similar?

By zenmaster — On Oct 16, 2010

My grandmother used to make this all the time, except she called it divinity fudge. Her best homemade divinity fudge recipe has been passed down through our family since her great-grandmother, and it is definitely one of our favorites.

I have to say I may even like it better than buckeye candy, or even chocolate fudge. The recipe is just that good!

By rallenwriter — On Oct 16, 2010

Is it possible to make sugar free divinity candy? I really love the way these things taste, but that really is a lot of sugar.

Do you guys know of any sugar-free recipes for this great old-fashioned candy?

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