Mama's Divinity

Total Time:
40 min
10 min
30 min

8 to 10 servings


In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.

While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.

Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

View All

More Recipes and Ideas
Loading review filters...

    129 Reviews
    5 129
    0/1000 characters
    Your Rating:
    Sort by: 
    Its a great recipe. Ive made it before in the past. Only this time I over beat it and it became crumbly but still edible!!
    This is a good recipe, but I think divinity recipes that "twice cook" the syrup are much better and have a more old-fashioned taste. I tested 5 recipes and by far the twice-cooked or Double Divinity was much better. A good one is Mrs. Floyd's Divinity from Southern Living. Paula's is good, but the other is definitely better. Some tips: 
    a. Check your humidity and make on a day with less than 40% humidity. 
    b. Once the sugar/water/corn syrup is dissolved and boiled, cover the pan and "steam" the sugar crystals down from the sides for 1 1/2 minutes. 
    c. When spooning the divinity, have a glass of ice water nearby to dip your spoons in. It will aid in your "scooping and pushing" off to make prettier candy. 
    d. I like using a Thermapen thermometer. Its very accurate and makes cooking candy a breeze. 
    Happy Cooking! 
    This works. You have to beat it a long time with a stand mixer to get it to set up. If you over beat, add a few drops of hot water at a time to get it creamy again. Final tip, don't mix in chopped nuts. Add a pecan or walnut half on top. This way won't "dirty" the pretty white candy.
    Perfect! Just don't give up, keep beating it in your stand mixer, it took me a super long time, patience and it WILL set up.
    You're comment was the first that popped up and it's EXACTLY what I needed to see! I'm at 10 minutes and it's only now starting to firm up - I was just about ready to throw it out and start over! UGH! 
    I make my Nana's every year from Betty Crocker Cook Book, and it turns out most of the time perfect, dry to the touch on the outside and fluffy inside. I made this twice, both times it never set up and I cooked it to 250 once and 265 and nothing, just ribbons. It must be the sugar amount and the water that are different. Any suggestions?
    I retract my review! Embarrassingly I walked away to find my old edition cook book to compare ingredients and when I was done it had set up and I had to work very fast to get spoonful's onto wax paper! Patients!
    I've always made it with almond extract, as that is how my mom made it every Christmas. Make sure you have a good, heavy duty stand mixer. My first attempt about 25 years ago, all I had was a little hand mixer. Oh my! What work that was. Love love love divinity!
    This recipe is yummy and just like my grandmother made! I have relied on it two years in a row!
    I had a lot of egg whites left over so I made this. i use my old pressure cooker to heat syrup in the gasket is removed I never stirred it I put the lid on for 5 minutes then removed lid and put in candy thermometer, cooked to 260 which is the hard ball stage and I added toasted walnuts I beat it on high for 20 minutes I took out a scoop every 5 minutes the last time when I raised the beater it did not move at all it still looked glossy but when I made the first one it was dull. I will take these to work cause I will not be able to have just one GRIN.
    My mom use to make this every Christmas. This is the first year that I tried and it turned out just as I remember. Be sure to beat it til it loses it gloss. The first few we put on sheets were a bit glossy still and they ended up being sticky. We stirred it a bit more and it lost its gloss and they hardened and turned out light and delicious. I used walnuts instead of pecans as that is what my mom use to make. I love walnuts, but my husband not so much. Since we have been married, this is the first cookie/candy that I have made for us with walnuts. Thankfully he likes it. Oh, he poured the hot sugar mixture into the egg for me as he is much taller - I think that helped alot. Wishing you the best of luck with this. As for my family, I can now carry on mom's tradition.
    My grandmother always made Divinity when we were young and I had never tried making it until today. I had decided it must be very difficult to do, but I just surprised myself.(I have made marshmallow fluff before, so...anyway.I do not have a candy thermometer, so I believe I cooked the syrup past 250. The actual candy is probably a wee bit stiffer than it should be, but it still tastes as I remember it & looks pretty. I would make Divinity again, but I would invest in a candy thermometer first.
    Wow ! I love this recipe !!! Like others I took it to 260 but went higher to 265 due to higher elevation. This came out perfect, and can't say enough about it. I divided the finished divinity into 3 bowls to mix in different mixes like - Dried Blueberry's - (chopped and Walnuts; another was Dried Cherry's and Almonds, and the last was classic with walnuts. It took 3 trays to dry them on, and made 45 perfect fluffy mounds ( some were too big, but trial and error. I could probably do this again and get 50 + out of the recipe.
    My husband and I just made this candy together, and we're blown away, it's fantastic! Thankfully, I read a few prior reviews and waited for the candy thermometor to reach 260. We opted to spread it on a parchment-lined sheet pan for our first effort to optimize our time, then we'll cut it into squares when it cools, which is how I remember it from my childhood. I think I'll try the next batch with almond extract, as another reviewer wrote. Yes, there will absolutely be a next batch, and many more after that. It's a cool night in Napa, CA, with 53% humidity and no problems at all. Thank you, Paula!
    Followed the recipe...perfect.
    Very Good recipe, except you need you need to cook the sugar, water and syrup until it reaches 260 degrees F which is Hard Ball stage. Also you may add a few drops of food coloring for the holidays.
    I just made this and I think it's going to turn out great. However, I have to laugh at the instructions! Beat on high for 5 min? In what universe? I have a professional Kitchen Aid and it took more like 20-30 min. Anyway, I think the hardest part is knowing when it's done. Now mine are still warm mind you, so I can't vouch for the fact that they are perfect. But I can say that even wet they have that divinity "feel" in your mouth which, makes me think they are going to be fine. Some better ways to know it's finished: 1. It will reduce in volume by almost half 2. it starts getting the consistency of thick butter cream 3. When you think you are close, plop some out on wax paper. If it hold its shape it's done?if not keep beating!!!! You will notice that it isn't as sticky which, is really nice when spooning it out. Also, I had no problem managing this recipe on my own. You don't need 2 people?that's just silly!
    This recipe is great!! The first time was shiny runny and flat. But I figured out the problem. The recipe was too much for my $15 mixer. So I cut the recipe by 1/3 and it worked great. I did heat the syrup mixture to 265 degrees which is the max point of the hard ball stage. But with 1/3 the recipe, it took less time to get to the 265 degrees and less time to mix to the dull stage. The mixing time for the dull stage was about 7 minutes. My hand mixer was very warm but it worked. Total time 20 minutes for 20 pieces of divinity. Try it!!
    Followed to the T, and FAIL miserable fail. However first time at candy making, try and try again, which i will do tomorrow. BUT..... what to do with this mess, well basically if yours did not fully set as mine, what you have is pretty much fresh marshmallow creme. .... SO.... what are you sitting there for, dont throw it away, just take the mess scrape it back into a tall pot with a 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, heat slowly till butter melts and add your favorite crisp rice cereal, i used coca flavored... and WOW, you have great, crisp rice treats
    First batch was a flop...shiny, sticky, pancakes. Second batch was divine. The second go-round, I heated the sugar to 260 degrees which is 'hard ball' on my candy thermometer. I don't think 250 is enough. I also beat it for 9-10 minutes instead of 5 as that wasn't enough time for it to become "dull" instead of glossy. By that time it was dull and when I did a test, it stayed in the ball shape. My Grandma used to make these, so glad to be able to do it for myself 20 years after her passing. Also, I'm in GA, and I'm making these at night with 52% humidity. Followed the ingredients for the most part except only 1 cup of pecans and imitation vanilla.
    I thought this was yummy. I can't make it very often in the Pacific Northwest but tried it in Palm Springs on vacation - less humidity. Yum. Didn't I hear Paula say that you could also make vanilla extract with bourbon instead of vodka? I can't find a recipe for it. Do I just substitute the vodka with the same amount of bourbon?
    Addictive!! I love this Divinity recipe. I live in Florida and have tried several but have had problems due to the humidity. I thought I would try this one since Paula is from the south and probably use to cooking in the humidity. It was GREAT!!
    Fabulous!!! I just made it. It came out perfectly. My mother in law, love divinity and I made it for her. She will be so excited. Thank you Paula.
    Amazing to do.... Very easy had everything messured before starting helped. Had the mixer stiffening eggs.
    Added a twist about 6 drops of orange lixer with the nilla. Ohhhhh
    I made this recipe tonight and it turned out perfectly. This is only my second time making divinity and my first time using Paula's recipe. I boiled my sugar to hard ball stage using the cold water test method, then because it was raining outside, I continued to boil the mixture for an extra 20 seconds. I also had to beat the candy for close to 20 minutes using my Kitchen Aid mixture. The key really is to beat it until it is dull and no longer shiny. The recipe turned out wonderfully and my father in law is going to love this Christmas gift!!!
    NEVER even THINK about making this on a day that has ANY humidity.. it simply will not work and will fail each time.... the recipe is a winner!! but I wanted to stress how important it is to *not* do this if there is any chance of humidity in the forecast, you'll be wasting your time and ingredients... yes, it really is that important lol. Thank you Paula for something I've missed since my grandmother passed away.. it was one of her favorites to make each Christmas and give as small gifts to friends and family!
    Paula, I have to say, this is the best I have had since my grandmother passed on. She always had the best divinity, dipped in chocolate, no less, and no nuts! I do not like pecans or walnuts, and she always made chocolate dipped divinity. Our efforts since she passed have never been even close to hers, until now! I have stood here and eaten 5 pieces, and I haven't even dipped them in chocolate, yet!!! Thank you, thank you!! Lisa in KS 
    Because I live in the south I had to cook to soft crack stage . This is a large recipe , and you have to work very fast when putting it on wax paper .I prefer almond extract to vanilla .
    WOMP WOMP WOMP... Just tried to make Paula Deen's Divinity... I also added dried apricots along with the pecans. This stuff never firmed up like the recipe... I followed the instructions to a "T"... It looked 1/2 to firm but never got there. So I wound up pouring in in to sheet tray and hope it will firm up enough to cut into bars. What went wrong? Could it be like other recipes say? "PICK A WARM DRY DAY". (It was cold and over cast and drizzling here in Los Angeles... WOMP WOMP WOMP!!!
    This was the first time making divinity. A little scared, but I must say the directions were perfect and the divinity turned out perfect. I did this with my daughter and let me tell you, I thought it was a task for two. It was lots of fun, and the results were yummy! Would definitely recommend this recipe to everyone. PS. MAKE SURE YOU USE A CANDY THERMOMETER!!!!
    This is a very simple and very tasty recipe! A candy thermometer and mixer is key to making this turn out perfectly! Just when you think it's not mixed long enough, it will start to form. So act fast after adding the nuts. It's the best recipe!!!
    Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you! your flag was submitted.

    This recipe is featured in:

    Holiday Baking & Dessert Recipes