December 24, 2021
Christmas is a time for traditions. That’s especially true for folks like me who are the keepers of our family history. I love all of the family traditions centered around the holidays but the special foods of the season are my favorites.
My earliest holiday memories revolve around the cookies and candy that my grandmothers and mother all made. In particular, I love divinity that I called “white cookies” when I was a child. The sugar, egg white and light corn syrup concoction was a common holiday treat during my childhood.
I think every woman had her own special recipe for divinity, but I’ve always been sure that my family’s was the best. Our family recipe really wasn’t even ours. It came from a neighbor who lived down the road, Mrs. White.
Mrs. White kept chickens and sold their eggs. She raised regular white chickens who lived in a coop, but she also raised bantams who were her pets. The bantams, and any of the white chickens she thought needed special attention, lived in her spare bedroom. My mother and grandmother bought eggs from Mrs. White, and I often went with them to pick up the eggs. When we entered the house, the chickens fluttered around our feet. It was the first and last time I’ve ever seen “house” chickens.
I think most of the people in our rural Utah neighborhood considered Mrs. White quite odd. She didn’t have children. Because she had long black hair that straggled over her shoulders, many of the neighborhood children were afraid of her. They called her a witch.I don’t think their parents liked her either. My mother and grandmother were probably the only neighbors who even spoke to her. Now that I’m adult, I’m sure that Mrs. White was a very nice woman who was probably lonely and made her chickens into her babies.
Because of all the chickens, Mrs. White had lots of eggs, so she had a cache of recipes using eggs. Because they were friendly, she shared her recipes with my mother and grandmother. This divinity recipe is one of them; my mother always made it around Christmas time. So do I. Mrs. White died when I was still a child, and probably not many people remember her. I think about her every year when I continue the tradition of Mrs. White’s Divinity.
If you’d like to add making divinity to your list of holiday traditions, the recipe is below. Happy Holidays and may all your traditions be as sweet as Mrs. White’s divinity.
Mrs. White’s Divinity
4 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¾ cup water
3 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla
This is an heirloom recipe. There really weren’t any directions; everyone assumed you knew how to make the candy; you only needed help with the amounts. The following directions are from Kitchenaid Mixers and Attachments, Recipes and Instructions”.
Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan. Over medium heat, cook to hard ball stage (holds a ball shape when dropped in cold water or 236 degrees F at 5000 ft elevation). Remove from heat and allow to cool to 215 degrees without stirring.
Place egg whites in mixer bowl and whip until soft peaks form (about 1 minute). Gradually, add syrup in a fine stream. Reduce speed of mixer and add vanilla. Continue beating for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture begins to lose its gloss. If you wish, you can add candied cherries or chopped nuts at this point. We never did; we always had it plain.
Drop mixture from spoon onto waxed paper.
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