Recipe: Pecan Divinity & Chocolate Covered Peanuts

If there is anything that my son Michael remembers about his favorite Christmas, it is divinity. I never saw anyone who loved divinity the way he did. He would wait anxiously as I struggled to finish making the last piece of candy and he would run to lick the bowl clean and of course the beaters too.

Michael is an only child and sometimes I wish he had a little brother or sister. So on Christmas, I always tried very hard to make up for anything he might have missed out on throughout the rest of the year by being alone. Michael's absolute favorite was was pink divinity - white was OK, but it was so dang plain! We loved being adventurous with the colors almost as much as we loved the candy.

Making the chocolate clusters was Michael's idea. Traditionally people make single chocolate covered pecans for Christmas, but my clever son Michael decided to cluster them together using an old-fashioned recipe.

There are some easy recipes making divinity with white fluffy icing, but it is just not the same as homemade divinity. If you do not have a stand-up mixer, you might want to try the simpler divinity recipe.

Pecan Divinity

Ingredients for Pecan Divinity

* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/2 cup water
* 2 egg whites
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
* Food coloring (optional - blue and pink are nice)

Method for Making Pecan Divinity

1. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring this mixture to boil.
2. Let the mixture keep boiling without stirring until it reaches 260 degrees on the candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.
3. Using a stand mixer only - do not attempt this recipe with a hand mixer - beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. With the mixer still running on high speed, pour the sugar mixture in.
4. Pour the mixture very slowly in a steady stream. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
5. Add in the vanilla to the candy and beat another 4-5 minutes or until the candy holds together well.
6. Working very quickly, fold in the nuts and food coloring if desired. With a buttered teaspoon, place a large drop on some waxed paper.
7. Let the candy cool before serving. Make sure to store in an airtight container.

Note: Do not attempt to make divinity if it is raining or damp.

Michael's Chocolate Covered Pecans Clusters

Ingredients for the Pecan Clusters

* 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 3 tablespoons cream
* 2 cups pecan halves

Method for making the Pecan Clusters

1. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the cream, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed.
2. Drop in the pecans and mix until coated. Remove the pecans and place in clusters.
3. Let cool on some waxed paper in the refrigerator for ten minutes.

Divinity and Michael's Chocolate Covered Pecan Clusters: now what could be better than that? As you sit down this Christmas season with your families and enjoy the love and the closeness of each moment, take a minute to think of how lucky you are to be together. Remember and cherish these days - and when you share these recipes with your friends, be sure to give Michael the credit!