My Grandmother passed down this annual Christmas holiday recipe to my Mother and she passed it on to me. And for the past 50 years, it has been a holiday favorite at our house for Christmas.
In the original recipe, it just says to cook over low heat to softball stage. Grandma and my Mom used a saucer of water to drop some of the candy into the water to see if it would form a soft ball. I never could get the hang of that so I changed up the recipe to use a candy thermometer which shows you that soft ball stage is 238 degrees.
Later in the recipe it says to cook the last half of the candy to hard ball stage. Mamma used to dip a spoon in the mixture and hold it up and pour it back into the pan. If a string of sugar appeared hanging from the spoon to the pan, it was hard ball stage.
Again I needed more of an exact science, so again I use the candy thermometer which shows that hard ball stage is 256 degrees.
This family recipe is over 70 years old and I have shared it with very few people. So you should feel honored. Enjoy!
2-1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Cup chopped pecans
Combine sugar and corn syrup with one half cup of water. Cook over low heat to 238 degrees on candy thermometer or soft ball stage.
Meanwhile, beat egg whites with salt at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks.
In a thin stream, pour HALF of the hot syrup over egg whites, beating constantly at high speed until still peaks. Continue cooking the other half of the syrup to 256i degrees or hard ball stage.
Pour the remaining half of the syrup mixture in a thin stream, beating constantly. Beat in vanilla.
Add nuts and beat with wooden spoon until mixture is stiff enough to hold its shape. Turn out. Cool and cut in squares. Makes 24 pieces.
For those of you who do not know the term "turn out" it means to pour in prepared pan. I don't "turn out" mine. I use a cookie scoop and drop on wax paper by the scoop. The pieces are more uniform that way and fit into little mini muffin papers that you can place in a holiday tin and give as a gift.