One of my favorite Christmas memories is a platter full of home-made Christmas goodies: Sugar cookies in the shapes of stars and snowflakes; fudge rich with walnuts or pecans; thumbprint cookies with walnuts and raspberry jam, lacy pecan cookies, and. oh yeah, divinity.
My mom made wonderful divinity. She's wait for the perfect day: low humidity, cool to cold, and then she's add things like chopped up cranberries, black walnuts, pounded into sparkly sand — candy canes. Those made the divinity sparkle. Little perfect clouds of sweet perfection. Shining sweet perfection, not to put too fine a point on it.
For the life of me, I can't make them. I'm faithful to the recipe. I wait for just the right day. I'm not above using exotic ingredients for flavor: I'd do dried apricots and pistachios. I'd do strawberry jam and chocolate. I'd do caramel and sea salt, which is exquisitely trendy.
The little divinities do not work for me. I get little puddles of divinity. Little pools of ever-spreading egg whites and glistening sugar. My mom's were perky. Mine are runny. As running as your kid's nose in the throws of the first cold of the season.
I can't tell you how many years people have eaten them with a spoon. My brother and his family came over for a Christmas celebration. He spotted my little puddles in a dish on the piano. He was instantly drawn to them. Nose down; eyes a few inches above the little puddles. "Ah," he said. "Your divinity."
Here's my recipe which is here merely to serve as a warning to others: 3 cups of sugar; 1 cup of corn syrup; 1/4 water. Boil to soft ball stage.
In the mean-time. Beat 2 egg whites into stiff peaks. Pour the syrup over the egg whites slowly, and then beat the mixture until it's thick. Supposedly, you can drop them by teaspoon full onto
waxed paper. At the last you can add a teaspoon of pure vanilla and a cup of nuts, or other Christmas treats.
Use this recipe at your peril. It might be cursed. It might only work for my mother. She was that kind of cook.