Divining Christmas past

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Divining Christmas past

Candy-making whips up sweet memories of a grandmother’s love
Katie Burford, owner of Cream Bean Berry, makes divinity candy at her ice cream shop on Main Avenue last week. Burford’s grandmother Lucille made the family’s Christmases memorable each year with her divinity candy. After she died, nobody in the family took over the tradition. But Burford, nostalgic for the candy she did not like as a child, tried her hand at updating the sugary treat.
Katie Burford found one of the recipes – from Better Homes & Gardens – her grandmother used to make divinity. She updated it with more healthful ingredients and added chocolate and walnuts for texture.
Katie Burford separates egg whites as she prepares a modern take on her grandmother’s recipe for divinity.
Katie Burford opted to use agave syrup instead of corn syrup in her recipe for divinity. With corn syrup largely out of favor, Burford went for more healthful ingredients to make the holiday treat she remembers her grandmother making each year.
To recreate the divinity candy her grandmother made every year at Christmastime, Katie Buford opted for healthier ingredients, including raw cane sugar. The first batch was a messy fail. But the repeat attempt, updated with extra ingredients, would have met her grandmother’s approval, Burford said.
A traditional divinity ingredient, toasted pecans add texture and flavor to the classic holiday treat that has fallen out of favor with recent generations.
Katie Burford wanted to recreate the Divinity candy her grandmother made when she was a child. But instead of following a decades-old recipe from Better Homes & Garden, Burford swapped ingredients and added chocolate, giving the candy an appealing, variegated look.
Katie Burford’s grandmother Lucille Burford made the family’s Christmases memorable each year with her divinity candy. After she died, nobody in the family took over the tradition. But Burford, nostalgic for the candy she did not like as a child, tried her hand at updating the sugary treat.
Katie Burford’s grandparents Lucille and John Burford celebrate Christmas in the early 1980s. Katie is at right.

Divining Christmas past

Katie Burford, owner of Cream Bean Berry, makes divinity candy at her ice cream shop on Main Avenue last week. Burford’s grandmother Lucille made the family’s Christmases memorable each year with her divinity candy. After she died, nobody in the family took over the tradition. But Burford, nostalgic for the candy she did not like as a child, tried her hand at updating the sugary treat.
Katie Burford found one of the recipes – from Better Homes & Gardens – her grandmother used to make divinity. She updated it with more healthful ingredients and added chocolate and walnuts for texture.
Katie Burford separates egg whites as she prepares a modern take on her grandmother’s recipe for divinity.
Katie Burford opted to use agave syrup instead of corn syrup in her recipe for divinity. With corn syrup largely out of favor, Burford went for more healthful ingredients to make the holiday treat she remembers her grandmother making each year.
To recreate the divinity candy her grandmother made every year at Christmastime, Katie Buford opted for healthier ingredients, including raw cane sugar. The first batch was a messy fail. But the repeat attempt, updated with extra ingredients, would have met her grandmother’s approval, Burford said.
A traditional divinity ingredient, toasted pecans add texture and flavor to the classic holiday treat that has fallen out of favor with recent generations.
Katie Burford wanted to recreate the Divinity candy her grandmother made when she was a child. But instead of following a decades-old recipe from Better Homes & Garden, Burford swapped ingredients and added chocolate, giving the candy an appealing, variegated look.
Katie Burford’s grandmother Lucille Burford made the family’s Christmases memorable each year with her divinity candy. After she died, nobody in the family took over the tradition. But Burford, nostalgic for the candy she did not like as a child, tried her hand at updating the sugary treat.
Katie Burford’s grandparents Lucille and John Burford celebrate Christmas in the early 1980s. Katie is at right.
Divinity 2.0

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup light agave syrup
½ cup water
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup toasted, chopped walnuts
½ cup (or more) chocolate chips
Method:
Combine sugar, agave and water in heavy-bottom pot. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, whip egg whites to stiff peaks in bowl of stand mixer.
When syrup in pot reaches 240 F, slowly pour about half into the whites while mixing on high. Return remaining syrup to heat and boil to 270 F.
Slowly pour remaining syrup into bowl as it continues to whip. When mixture forms stiff peaks (after about 5 minutes), add vanilla and nuts.
When mixer bowl is warm but not hot to touch, add chips, mixing just enough to incorporate throughout.
Using spoons, scrape dollops onto tray. Allow to sit for several hours until set. (Most recipes go on about the hazard of excess humidity to this final step, but that is because the authors live in places where it rains a lot and all the kudzu and bugs make them grouchy and prone to complaining.)
Recipe by Katie Burford

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