I recently told you about our Epiphany Birthday party with Julie. Her gift to me, a tea cozy that she was making, was not quite ready, and I had tried to make her divinity fudge, but it was a sad failure – only the second divinity failure of my life! Oh! The very first time I made it, it was a flop too, but I don’t count that, as it was bound to fail, given the scantiness of detail in my recipe and the fact that I didn’t use a candy thermometer. Rumor has it that you can’t make divinity on a rainy day, and I attributed my recent failure to that. However, I knew that I had made divinity in the rain before. This is Seattle, after all. But I was waiting for a day on which it didn’t rain, and I didn’t work. That combination just was not happening. As Julie’s gift to me was ready, I invited her dinner so we could exchange our gifts, and had another go at the divinity fudge. This time, it turned out well, despite the rain. I think I just didn’t beat it long enough last time. It seemed to take hours, and I couldn’t have done it without my Kitchenaid. I didn’t have a Kitchen aid in my youth, but I was more athletic then. Also, I could make Dennis or Rebecca take a turn at stirring. Once your arm is pained with beating it, and you see that it is beginning to lose its shine, and therefore is ready to make into little blobs, you have to work very quickly if you want it to be shiny and beautiful. As it cools, it becomes stiff and a little curdled looking. I realized that in the past, Rebecca had helped me quickly form it into little blobby pieces. I was not quite fast enough by myself, and the end ones are not very attractive. I had decided to swirl in chocolate shavings for the second half, making half of the blobs pristine white, and half spotted with chocolate.
The combination of the snowy white pieces and the marbled chocolate pieces reminded me of an illustration in the Baltimore Catechism, a major feature (and rather a thorn) of my Catholic youth. The catechism was illustrated with pius pictures, but the one which most impressed me was of milk bottles representing souls in various states of sinfulness. The white milk was the pure, sinless soul. The spotty one was a soul with venial sins, and the black one was an evil soul in a state of mortal sin. I would have had to make some chocolate fudge to have all three.
Karen asked for the recipe for the divinity, and here it is. It's from a 1967 Woman's Day
½ cup corn syrup
2 ½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, mix the first four ingredients. Cook, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook without stirring, until a small amount forms a firm ball when dropped in cold water (248°F). Beat the egg whites until stiff. Pour about half the mixture very slowly (in a very thin stream) into the egg whites, beating all the time. Cook the remainder of the sugar mixture until it forms hard threads (272°F). Slowly add to the first mixture and beat until it is very stiff. When it is ready, it will just begin to loose its shine. Now you have to work very quickly. Add the vanilla, and, using two spoons, drop in blobs onto waxed paper.
For the marbled effect, at the last moment, stir in about ½ cup shaved semisweet chocolate and stir it just enough to distribute it in swirls. Topping each piece with a walnut half is yummy too.