2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/4 tsp peppermint or almond extract
1 or 2 drops food coloring(optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or almonds(optional)
1. Line a tray or baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. In a 2-quart heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking, without stirring, until the thermometer registers 260 degrees F., hard-ball stage.(adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil)
2. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form(tips stand straight). Gradually pour hot syrup mixture in a thin stream over egg whites(if using a stand mixer with a single beater that moves around the bowl, stop the mixer and pour a small amount of syrup over the whites. Immediately beat on high speed for 5 seconds. Stop mixer and add more syrup, continue in batches until done. If using a hand mixer beat the syrup into the whites in a steady stream but avoid pouring the syrup onto the beaters) beating on high speed for about 3 minutes, scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla, and, if desired, food coloring. Continue beating on high just until candy starts to thicken and lose its gloss(about 5-7 minutes) When beaters are lifted, mixture should fall in a ribbon that mounds on itself.(to test, drop a spoonful onto waxed paper. If it stays mounded, the mixture has been beaten sufficiently. If mixture flattens, beat 1/2 to 1 minute more, check again. if mixture is too stiff to spoon, beat in a few drops HOT WATER until candy is softer consistency.
3. Immediately stir in nuts. Using two teaspoons, quickly drop divinity onto prepared baking sheet. Store, tightly covered, for up to a week.
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