Grandma’s Sea Foam Candy (Divinity)–No Corn Syrup

After mentioning that I planned to eat (and write about) healthier foods this year, here I am posting a sea foam candy recipe.  Now how did that happen? 

This dearly loved old family recipe is for a treat we called “sea foam”– a candy that my grandmother was famous for (at least to us)!   If it makes you feel any better, this candy is completely fat free and doesn’t use any corn syrup (which will likely be GMO if you don’t buy organic) …

Sea foam candy on serving dish

Sea foam candy on serving dish

The recipe is similar to Divinity, a traditional holiday treat.  The holidays may be over, but celebrations come all year ‘round, right?  And today is my brother’s birthday!  So this batch of candy was delivered to him and I am putting the recipe on line so perhaps his kids can start taking the tradition to the next generation.

Sea foam candy closeup

Up close…

The idea actually came out of trying to eat better–yes, seriously!  I asked my brother for the carrot recipe that he and his wife brought on Christmas Eve and he sent it with a request for the sea foam recipe.  Funny how things get started…

Here’s how to make it…

Boil the sugar syrup until 255F or until it forms a hard ball when dunked in cold water.

Boil syrup for sea foam candy

Boil syrup for sea foam candy

While it cooks, beat two egg whites until stiff.  Put a teaspoon of vanilla into egg white bowl so you don’t forget it.

Beat egg whites

Beat egg whites

When syrup reaches proper temperature, pour it into egg white bowl while beating with mixer.  Don’t worry about getting out all the syrup (later you can soak the pan and the stuck on syrup will dissolve).

Mixing egg whites and sugar syrup for sea foam candy

Mixing egg whites and sugar syrup for sea foam candy

Beat syrup and egg mixture until it loses gloss and will hold shape.

Sea foam candy ready to be scooped into pieces

Sea foam candy ready to be scooped into pieces

Spoon out tablespoons onto wax paper, using a second spoon to push off candy (since it’s hot).

Spoon out sea foam candy

Spoon out sea foam candy (use a second spoon to push candy off the first spoon)

Let cool, then enjoy!

Sea foam candy cooling on wax paper

Sea foam candy cooling on wax paper

The candy is really pretty basic and I have been making it since I was a teen.  The only “trick” is the proper beating time, but it’s still good if you don’t get it perfect.  The other challenge is working quickly to scoop out the pieces of candy, which is really only a problem if you are trying to take pictures while doing it (hence some of the bad and missing pictures).  Perhaps someday I’ll enlist one of the kids to photograph and then revise the post.  ‘Cause celebrations come all year round!

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Sea foam candy in tin

Sea foam candy in tin

Sea Foam Candy (aka Divinity)
Yields 30
An old fashioned treat, sea foam candy is perfect for holidays and other special occasions.
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Total Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
82 calories
21 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
0 g
29 g
7 g
21 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
30
Amount Per Serving
Calories 82
Calories from Fat 0
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 0g
0%
Sugars 21g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 c white sugar
  2. 1 1/2 c brown sugar
  3. 3/4 c water
  4. 2 egg whites
  5. 1 t vanilla
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Cook without stirring to 255 degrees or until mixture will form a hard ball in cold water.
  3. While mixture is cooking, beat egg whites until stiff. Add vanilla to mixing bowl.
  4. When syrup reaches proper temperature, pour into egg white bowl, beating constantly with mixer.
  5. When mixture loses its gloss and will hold a shape, drop from teaspoon onto waxed paper.
  6. Wait for it to cool, then it is ready to eat!
Notes
  1. Don't worry about pouring every bit of syrup out of the saucepan. When it stops flowing out, just set aside and soak later to (easily) dissolve the remaining syrup.
beta
calories
82
fat
0g
protein
0g
carbs
21g
more
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50 thoughts on “Grandma’s Sea Foam Candy (Divinity)–No Corn Syrup

    1. Inger

      I do enjoy making candy–and this recipe is extra special since it’s been passed down through the family! Thanks Ivy!

  1. Lynn

    Candy doesn’t seem to be my forte, but this looks like a fun recipe to try. I’ll have to keep st in y mind for our next celebration – my husband does not enjoy chocolate, so I think he would appreciate this!

    1. Inger

      I have fun every time I revive an old family recipe. For next Christmas I really need to work on my grandmother’s gingerbread, which no one has been able to reproduce…

  2. Louise

    Not knowing what the carrot recipe was, I’d say your brother got the better end of that deal!!! Sea Foam Candy is a classic. The notion that the recipe has been passed around is just delightful, Inger. I do hope the next generation does the same.

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, the step by step and of course the thought:)

    1. Inger

      Ohhhh, given how badly my diet is going, Louise, I’m not sure I didn’t get the better of the deal 😉 But I haven’t even made the carrots yet, alas. In any case, it was fun making the sea foam even if I only ate a piece or two!

  3. sarah

    Is this sea foam like the chocolate covered sea foam candy you buy in the stores, minus the chocolate?

    I was reading that there are two different types, one with the toffee almost flavor and crunch that you can cover in chocolate and one that is more meringue like.

    Hoping to make it tonight..
    thanks!

    1. Inger

      This is the meringue like type Sarah. I have a recipe for the other too but I haven’t tried it. If you get a chance I’d love to hear how it goes.

  4. Helen

    I wanted to thank you for this post. My mother made Sea Foam every year for the holidays. She always told us how difficult it was and how temperamental it was! Mama has been gone for 22 years now.

    My sister had tried making Sea Foam 3 different times and each time it failed. I went to her house today, after looking at your recipe, and we compared it to Mama’s. The ratio of ingredients was different, but similar. However, the cooking temperature was way different. We used your temperature and it was the answer to our dilemma.

    The Sea Foam is delicious! Taking the first bite, I was taken back to the taste of childhood. We took some to our brother…we are waiting to hear from him!

    Now, on to try Mama’s Penuche and Fudge!!

    1. Inger

      This is so nice to hear–thank you for letting me know! I still have a couple recipes from my mother and grandmother that I am working to figure out so I understand!

  5. Linda

    My mother always made several recipes at Christmas that filled a huge Christmas tin she had. When anyone came to visit over the holidays they were offered this along with 5 # fudge and brown sugar fudge to eat and to take some home with them. I loved helping her. Her only complaint was she would not make if it was raining, snowing, or high humidity. She explained that the recipe would fail because of too much moisture in the air. Her sea foam candy was always perfect. She had the touch!

  6. Kailee Patterson

    This was really good. Me and my grandma were trying to find an easy divinity recipe that didn’t use corn syrup, and this was a complete success! 🙂 We even added some chopped pecans. Yummy. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Inger

      Thanks for letting me know Kailee! This recipe has meant so much to our family and I am happy that others are getting to enjoy it.

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  8. Marge Probasco

    Thanks sooooooooo much for this…My daughter…(57) just asked about a ‘recipe from our “old maid aunts…that used to make>>Seafoam Candy’.>>> & here you are giving one………..not sure this is it….but, sure sounds like it………I knew it was NOT divinity……because it uses Brown Sugar….& is on the”’tannish color”’ which this does look like it……..they used to make it very often…… & we Loved it ! thanks again……………sure will be trying it……… & it does not use… Corn Syrup !

    1. Inger

      I love hearing that someone has found a long lost recipe on my blog! I hope this works out for you. I’d love to hear back either way and let me know if you or your daughter have any questions.

  9. Mamaw

    I just made this it taste great warm hope it set up .. It is on the wax paper waiting to be oack in a run for the holidays

    1. Inger

      You are smart to be getting a jump on the holidays! This usually sets up very quickly for me–we are usually rushing to get it all scooped out in time. If it is soft and spreading, you might try beating it longer next time. If you have problems I am happy to try to help troubleshoot–just leave another comment or email.

  10. Sharon

    Thanks for the great recipe. I have tried to make Divinity before, with the corn syrup and had absolutely no luck! This worked fabulously! I made only a 1/2 batch, and made sure the sugar was to a hard ball stage – I tested it with water. Thanks again!

    1. Inger

      I am so happy to hear that this worked for you Sharon–thanks for letting me know! I think I made at 3-4 batches for the holidays (plus some for my brother’s birthday) over the past month!

  11. Marcy

    Thank you for this recipe. My youngest and I made it today because he’s learning the letter d (for divinity) this week. Sadly, I must have done something wrong. I just finished putting them on the wax paper and tasted a bit. It has good flavor, but is very grainy and has little pieces of something all through it. I’m wondering if the egg whites got cooked as the sugar mixture got beaten in. Or maybe the whites were over beaten? Has this ever happened to you? Any advice? Thanks!

      1. Inger

        It is normal for them to set up immediately. Guessing yours did since you mention graininess. Usually the first candy I scoop out is a fairly smooth mound and by the end there are some craggy clumps, since it is starting to harden in the pan. If you want to email me a picture, I am happy to take a look and see what that tells me. email: artofnaturalliving (at) live (dot) com

          1. Inger

            Your picture is beautiful Marcy. Looks like you did a great job and just weren’t sure what to expect. And a big congrats to your little sous-chef for making his first candy! Enjoy!

    1. Inger

      I have occasionally had something that seems like it might be tiny pieces of cooked egg white and have never quite figured out why that is–I usually just ignore it. I am pretty sure it isn’t overbeating the whites since I know I hadn’t done that. One of the things I did which seemed to help is that I now only use conventional (not organic) sugar in these. I use almost all organic products but for candy making it seems to be hit or miss–more miss. I have also wondered if pausing a little before pouring the boiling sugar over the whites would help, but you can’t pause too long or the sugar will solidify in the pan.
      Graininess I know well and usually means that you beat the eggs and sugar mixture a little longer than you needed to or that you didn’t get the candies scooped out quickly enough (I really fly doing this).
      The other problem I can readily diagnose is bit of hardness to the finished candy which means the sugar got too hot–my candy thermometer is off and I did that to my brother’s birthday candy (I made him a new batch after though we ate the harder candy anyway)
      Hope this helps. Feel free to write back if you try these again and have more questions.

  12. Julie

    I am so excited to find this recipe! My grandma made this every year at Christmas. She is now living in my home on Hospice and I want to carry on her tradition this year! Thank you so much!! I can’t wait to enjoy and share this candy with my family!

    1. Inger

      I am so happy you can use this Julie. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you get a chance. If you have any problems, feel free to comment back or email me. I have helped people who are new to candy making before.

  13. Will J Byers

    Thank you soooo much. My grandmother made me this when I was 10 and now I am 46 and haven’t had it since. I had never found the right recipe until now. Going to make it tonight with the girls.

  14. Kim

    My husbands favorite candy growing up was divinity. He is now diabetic though & am wondering if you know anyone who sells sugar free divinity or if that’s even possible to make? He would live it. Thanks.

    1. Inger

      You know I did some searching online and found one woman commenting that she thought she could make a divinity recipe she found using “sugar twin” instead of sugar, but didn’t know what to do about the corn syrup. Since my recipe doesn’t have corn syrup, you wouldn’t have that problem.

      I do find that candy is “fussier” than baking about the sugar you use. I don’t even use organic in many of my candies for this reason. But the only way to know would be to give it a try with a substitute. The most you would lose is an hour of time and a few ingredients if you are up for it. If you do try it, I’d love to hear if it works or not! Good luck in your search!

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