Peanut Butter Divinity Roll
by William Johnson
(Alexandria, VA, USA)
I make this old Peanut Butter Divinity Roll recipe from my great, great aunt.
Her Peanut Butter Divinity Recipe:
- Beat 2 egg whites, set aside.
- Combine 2 cups of sugar, a half cup water, 2 tbsp. Karo syrup (it sometimes has vanilla already in it). Cook over low heat until dissolved and then turn up heat to medium. Cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage (My aunt used 240 degrees Fahrenheit, but I usually cook to 250 degrees Fahrenheit since my candy thermometer has that noted on it).
- I then pour half this mixture into the beaten egg whites. Return the rest to the stove and cook until it reaches hard ball at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (I use 260 degrees Fahrenheit since my candy thermometer has that noted on it.)
- I then pour this mixture into the mixture removed earlier, and then I use a hand mixer to beat until candy holds shape.
- I add a tsp. of vanilla right before beating (even if the Karo syrup had vanilla already added.)
- When candy holds shape, I add a half cup powdered sugar, mix it in, and then pour out on to parchment paper into about a half of bag of powdered sugar. I work with my hands until it is well mixed and can be rolled out with a rolling pin.
- I roll it to about a quarter inch thick and then spread smooth peanut butter onto the candy (a thin layer of peanut butter). I then roll it up like a jelly roll, wrap it in wax paper and then aluminum foil and let cool for several hours.
- I then slice it into quarter to half inch pieces, and place in a tin and refrigerate.
While this peanut butter divinity roll looks right, tastes right, and holds together, it almost always has small, smooth (about the size of coarse salt) pieces left in your mouth after you're done eating it.
They're whitish and a bit hard but pliable. What is this and what causes it?
I use a candy thermometer and fresh ingredients. The powdered sugar is confectioners style sugar (with the corn starch additive in it and I do not sift it).
Any comments, recommendations,
suggestions on what I may be doing wrong will be greatly appreciated.
Again, the candy tastes right (like my aunt’s did), but it has these little pieces of something that remain in your mouth after eating them. They’re not a lot of pieces, but several. It is quite odd and I wish to correct whatever I need to in the above recipe and/or my technique.
I love divinity candy, but haven't ever made a peanut butter divinity roll like you've described.
I have three thoughts based on what you've told us. I'm not sure if any of them are causing your particular problem, but I'll let you consider them and then we'll leave it open and see if other divinity candy makers can help you out with their advice.
My first thought is that you might want to try sifting that powdered sugar. Those clumps you describe don't really sound like powdered sugar clumps, but I don't want to rule that out.
The second option I considered is based on your description of the actual clumps. It sounds like they resemble cooked egg white. Does that sound familiar?
If so, I'm wondering about your process. You mentioned that you pour 1/2 the cooked mixture over the beaten egg whites and then go on cooking the rest of the candy.
Most divinity recipes seem to call for beating the egg mixture as you are gradually adding the hot mixture. Are you doing that? If not, your hot mixture may be cooking your egg and giving you little "eggie bites." :)
My third and final thought is that you may want to try following your aunt's recipe exactly instead of changing the temperatures. Most candy recipes have specific temperatures and they should really only be adjusted to account for the humidity, etc.
Okay, that's about all I can think of to suggest. Hoping something in there is helpful, but if not maybe someone else will come along and identify the problem emphatically.
I'm glad that at least your peanut butter divinity roll tastes great regardless. That makes the practice batches worthwhile as you try to get it "just right!"