Creamy, dreamy Divinity is an confection with a long history. It is a sweet nougat candy with pecans. As with many such things, the preference on how many nuts is personal. I prefer more nuts to offset the sweetness of the candy. If you like more nougat, start with 1/2 cup of pecans. If you like more nuts, as seen in the photos, go for 1 cup. Being a sweeter candy, smaller pieces (using a small dining spoon to scoop) work well.
The cooking and mixer beating time are combines in the 'Cook Time' and the 'Total Time' includes letting the Divinity set for 2 hours.
Fit two baking sheets with waxed paper. Spray two small dining spoons with non-stick spray and set aside.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer equipped with the whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on high speed and beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks. Swap the whisk attachment for a paddle attachment leaving the eggs in the mixer bowl.
While the egg whites are beating, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium-size, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir just until the sugar is dissolved then allow it to cookundisturbed until it reaches 260 degrees (the hard ball stage). Note: It took 14 minutes for me (I’m at 5,500 feet). The mixture will be light and bubbly.
With the mixer running on high speed, slowly pour a steady drizzle of the hot sugar mixture into the stiff egg whites. Add the vanilla extract.
Continue to beat the mixture until it thickens, is no longer glossy and when the paddle attachment is lifted out of the mixture, the mixture on the paddle attachment slowly flows back into the mixture in the bowl to sit on the surface not dissolve into the mixture (for me it was about 7 minutes using a Kitchenaid standing mixer; the time required will depend on your mixer). It is not as sticky as well.
Hand stir the pecans quickly into the candy mixture.
Using the prepared dining spoons, scoop some of the Divinity with one, and use the other to scrap it off the first spoon onto the waxed paper of the prepared baking sheet. The Divinity should hold its shape (if it does not it needs to be beaten further).
Allow the candy to sit undisturbed for 2 hours then pack in a sealed container for up to two weeks or freeze.
Set up everything before you begin cooking. Once the sugar mixture reaches the correct temperature and is beaten into the egg whites, one must move quickly to spoon it onto the waxed paper before it begins to get stiff.
Use a candy or instant read thermometer. It’s the easiest way to cook the sugar mixture the correct amount of time.
Use a standing mixer. The hot sugar mixture is poured slowly into the egg whites while they are mixing AND the mixing of the candy takes a strong motor. I’m unsure it could be done with a hand held mixer.
Spray the spoons used to scoop the candy onto the waxed paper with no-stick spray. I do this when making marshmallows and it works great to aid the speedy transfer of the candy to the waxed paper.