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.