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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Pecan Dreams

Jan 29, 2017 12:00AM

By Christy Jordan

I love traditional Southern divinity candy and shared our family recipe in my first book; the holidays just aren’t the same without it. Divinity is a white, fluffy candy made from egg whites and sugar, which requires perfect weather and lots of mixing. Mama and I both make up batches and divvy it out like gold doubloons among our families and friends. It’s just that good.

So here is the thing: This recipe is not traditional divinity. I didn’t develop it to be that. I developed it to be an awful lot like it but simple enough for anyone to make and just as good.

Will it remind you of divinity? Definitely. But this is decadently wonderful in its own special way. Think of how good cream cheese frosting tastes, especially when you get a bite that has a big pecan on it, and you have some understanding of what this is going to be like—only a good bit better.

Guess what else, though. This recipe doesn’t depend on the weather, or the temperature of your house, or how your pinkie toes are crossed. There is no thermometer needed, no syrup to be made, and nothing hot that will give you a burn. You toss all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix, roll into balls, and press a pecan in the center. That’s it. Seriously!

Cream Cheese Divinity

Makes 50 to 60 pieces

• 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature

• 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 7 to 9 cups confectioners’ sugar

(I buy a 2-pound bag)

• 50 to 60 pecan halves (optional)

1. Place the cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Add the vanilla and gradually add 7 cups of the confectioners’ sugar. Beat at medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed, until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add up to 1 cup more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make a thick cookie-dough consistency.

3. Place 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and dip the bottoms in the sugar to coat. Place the balls on waxed paper or parchment and press a pecan half into each one, if desired, flattening the ball slightly.

4. Allow the divinity to dry at room temperature until they’re no longer sticky, 2 to 3 hours, before serving.

Cream Cheese Divinity will keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  

Excerpted with permission from Sweetness: Southern Recipes to Celebrate the Warmth, the Love, and the Blessings of a Full Life by Christy Jordan (Workman, 2016).