Pralines and Divinity—Two Divine Southern Christmas Treats
These delicious sweets have graced dining room tables and gift bags for decades.
Divinity, dubbed “the Southern Candy,” was thought to have originated in the South in the early 1900s. This pillowy mound of confection is still a favorite at candy stores and in the Southern cook’s kitchen. There have been additions made to the basic recipe over the years but the original mixture of corn syrup, sugar, and pecans is perfection. And, of course, a pecan half should always adorn the top of this fluffy, white, bite of heaven.
Pralines like pecans (pee-can or puh-khan) have different pronunciations depending on your neck of the woods: pray-leen, pr-aah-leen, pr-aah-line
Related: Crescent City Christmas
However you say it, they all add up to some mighty fine mouth-watering goodness! Pralines were originally brought to Louisiana by the French settlers. The traditional French recipe used almonds but due to the plentiful Southern pecan trees, the almond was replaced and, personally, we can’t imagine them any other way. If you haven’t tried a praline, we're here to tell you that brown sugar, butter, cream, and pecans will deliver pure melt-in-your-mouth happiness to your taste buds.
River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen specializes in these two Southern confections. Since they opened their doors in 1973, Savannah's oldest candy store has been owned and operated by the Strickland family. According to River Street Sweets • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, they are the largest praline producer in the United States and hand-dip more divinity than anyone else in the country. Today, the humble candy store is now a franchise comprising 17 stores located in Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Nashville, and National Harbor, MD.
Originally from Louisiana, the Strickland has graciously shared their family’s Divinity Recipe. Here it is, as written:
Strickland Family Divinity Recipe
4 cups of sugar
1 cup of corn syrup
½ cup water
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites
- Put corn syrup, sugar, and water, in a sauce pan
- Cook on Medium heat, stir constantly until sugar melts, then stop stirring
- Cook to 250-255 hard boil stage
- Sit cooked syrup aside and let cool while you are beating your egg whites, on high speed until they hold a peak
- Slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites while mixing on high, make sure the syrup is poured slowly, so not to cook the egg white, add the vanilla during this process
- Beat the egg whites and syrup until they hold shape about 5 to 7 minutes
- Now use an ice cream scoop, and dip quickly onto wax paper, you must dip quickly to keep from getting too stiff to dip.