IMPORTANT: Do not even attempt to make Divinity Candy unless the humidity level is less than 50 to 60%. The humidity level can make or break your Divinity Candy.
Line a large Cookie Sheet with wax paper. Set aside.
In a large heavy saucepan over low heat, add sugar, corn syrup, and water, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 260 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer or until a small amount of candy mixture dropped into very cold water forms a hard ball. Remove sugar mixture from heat.
This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
In a large bowl using your electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Learn how to Make Perfect Meringue. Continue beating and add the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites in a slow, steady, thin stream until well mixed in. Once you begin to pour the hot sugar mixture, do NOT stop and do not scrape the mixing bowl. When all the syrup has been combined, continue to beat the mixture until it begins to lose its gloss and holds its shape in stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes of solid beating.
Testing the divinity: The first and most important test occurs when you lift the beaters. If the candy falls back in ribbons that immediately merge back into the batter, it is not done. Eventually, a stationary column will form between the beaters and the bowl. Candy will lose its sheen/gloss and stop being sticky; a teaspoonful dropped onto wax paper will hold its shape, even a peak. If you machine is laboring and the candy is not quite there yet, you have two choices: Pour anyway and put into a frost-free freezer to set up, or finish mixing by hand.
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the vanilla extract, nuts and/or optional add-ins of your choice. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water.
Using two large spoons (using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other spoon), drop spoonfuls of the divinity mixture into mounds onto the waxed paper. Allow to rest undisturbed for 2 hours, or until the mounds are at room temperature.
Carefully peel from the waxed paper and store on layers of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Divinity also freezes exceptionally well for longer storage.
If you choose to spread the divinity in a pan, you will have to wait up to 24 hours before it is set and ready.
Traditional Divinity - 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
Cranberry Divinity - 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped and 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
Christmas Divinity - 1/2 cup red or green candied cherries, coarsely chopped
Halloween Divinity - 1/2 cup orange gumdrops, coarsely chopped and 5 drops orange food coloring
Valentine Divinity - 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies with 2 drops red food coloring
Makes about 4 dozen candies.