I distinctly remember the first time I met Margueritte, my mother-in-law. She was in town to see my then-boyfriend, now-husband, and I was invited to dine with them that evening. When I entered Norm’s apartment, Margueritte’s smile lit up her face. She walked over to me, took me into her arms, and gave me the biggest hug.

Margueritte (2)

I saved that hug, tucked it away in my memory, and I take it out every now and then when I need to feel again the unconditional love that she gave me.

Margueritte passed away December 1, 2005, just months after Katrina devastated my city, my home, my life. It was a dreadful year.

Another December has arrived, and I again make Divinity, the traditional Southern confection that Margueritte used to make for me at Christmastime. I do it because she loved sweets as much as I do. I do it to share a moment with a woman who had a profound effect on my life. I do it because I miss her and cooking her candy brings her back to me.

Margueritte’s Divinity


  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Divinity (2)

  • Combine the sugar, syrup, salt, and water in a heavy pot. Dissolve the sugar over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
  • Raise the heat to medium and continue to cook until the candy reaches the hard ball stage (260 degrees). This will take about 10 minutes.

Divinity (3)

  • If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test the candy by dropping a tad of it in a cup of cold water. If it holds its shape and turns hard, it’s ready.

Hard Ball Stage of Candy

  • Pour the vanilla into the egg whites.
  • While mixing, pour a steady stream of the candy into the egg whites. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you may need a second pair of hands for this.

Divinity (4)

  • After you’ve mixed for 5 minutes, you can drop teaspoonfuls of candy onto greased wax paper, or you can do it my way (the lazy way!) by dumping the whole bowl of candy into a greased baking pan. Don’t dally – it hardens pretty quickly.
  • Press a pecan half into the candy while it’s still warm and soft.

Divinity (5)

  • If you poured it into a pan, cut into squares.

Christmas candy – it so warms the heart.


Merry Christmas to all of my friends near and far. Thank you for sharing a bit of your time with me here on Dream Tree Bayou. I cherish each and every one of you and wish you many blessings in 2014!