+ Directions : * Chopped cherries or chopped orange peels may be used in place of chopped nuts. ~-- NOTE: To prewarm a candy thermometer, simply place it in a sauce pan of cold water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer until you need the thermometer. STEP 1: Prewarm the thermometer; separate the eggs allowing the whites to come to room temperature in a large bowl of an electric mixer. (Return the egg yolks to the refrigerator covering with plastic wrap or water for another recipe. ) Fill a glass with ice cubes and water. To make dropped divinities, you will need 2 cookie sheets, topped with greased wax paper. For squares, use a greased and wax paper-lined 8 X 8-inch pan. Measure the sugar, corn syrup, ice water and salt and dump into a heavy 2-quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid. STEP 2: Dissolve the sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over low heat. Syrup will become clear, gritty sounds will cease, and the spoon will glide smoothly over the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. STEP 3: (OPTIONAL): Cover pan with a square of wax paper and lid, pushing down firmly. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar crystals. (Listen to make sure the pot doesn't boil over. To double check, remove lid, leaving the wax paper in place. ) STEP 4: Wash down any crystals clinging to the sides with a brush dipped in hot water from the thermometer bath. Introduce the prewarmed thermometer. No need to stir. STEP 5: Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. If your mixer is a heavy duty one, you can wait until the bubbles in the syrup become very large and airy before beating the egg whites. Otherwise, do it now when the thermometer registers 240F. STEP 6: Test the syrup when the thermometer registers 246F. Continue testing until it reaches the firm-ball stage, 246 to 260F. Syrup will be hard to scrape up in ice water. It will have to be forced into a ball, but once formed, it should hold its shape but give under pressure. Return the thermometer to the hot water bath to soak clean. STEP 7: Dribble the syrup into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream, beating at slow speed. Tilt the syrup pan to get the last drop but do not scrape the pan. Once the syrup is completely incorporated, change to a flat whip if you have one. STEP 8: Have patience and continue beating. The amount of time you spend mixing depends on the power of your mixer. If you have a heavy duty or commercial one, you can go to full speed and make the divinity in less than 5 minutes. With less powerful ones, it can take up to 20 minutes. The important thing is to beat at the highest speed of your mixer. Also if it is a hot and humid day, it will take longer also. STEP 9: Test the divinity. The first and most important test occurs when you lift the beaters. If the candy falls back in ribbons that immediately merge back into the batter, it isn't done. Eventually, a stationary column will form between the beaters and the bowl. Candy will lose its sheen/gloss and stop being sticky; a teaspoonful dropped onto wax paper will hold its shape, even a peak. If you machine is laboring and the candy is not quite there yet, you have two choices: Pour anyway and put into a frost free freezer to set up. . . . or finish by hand. STEP 10: Fold in the flavorings and nuts and/or other optional items using the mixer or if very thick, a wooden spoon. STEP 11: Drop or spread the divinity either on wax paper covered cookie sheets or the buttered pan. Dripping it by teaspoon is harder work for you but it ripens quicker and is ready to eat sooner. A neat trick is to put the candy into a pastry bag and pipe onto the wax paper. If you spread it in the pan, you will have to wait up to 24 hours before it is ready. But you maybe one of those that think it is better when it is 24 hours old. Score and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Makes 1 pound but looks like more. Recipe CANNOT be doubled; it can be frozen but not for extended periods of time.