Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today’s Rant... And a Divine Solution
What’s cooking? Divinity Fudge

Not long ago, I received a notice from HP – the people who made my laptop. What they called a Routine Customer Advisory. I’m never really sure if these things come to me because something in my computer is about to blow up or has already blown up or arrived blown up but I haven’t come across the particular circumstances that would ignite the fire. So I read the notice.

It had something to do with experiencing The Blue Screen of Death (my term, not theirs); and as it happens, I did have a recent experience with the BSD. Not a fatal one, but you know how these moments cause a shortness of breath and a sinking feeling as if your heart has just paid a visit to your colon. The description said these BSDs may happen after applying some Microsoft security bulletin. Now I apply every Microsoft security bulletin that comes to me – I figure they know what they’re talking about and if it has to do with security, I’m there. So while I can’t remember which Microsoft bulletin that might have been, I think I should apply this HP fix.

I download the file, and when I go to run it, I get one of those balloons that says “This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software.” Arrrggghh. How can that be? They know which laptop I have. The notice said it was for my model. I have more memory than Iowa has corn. What could they be talking about?

Looking for help, I scroll further down the page and find a “Content Feedback” section, where apparently I can ask a question, vent a tiny bit of my frustration, and – who knows? – maybe get help. I type in my feedback, hit Enter, and get an immediate response (including the exclamation marks):

“We’re very sorry!
The page you requested cannot be found.
We apologize for the inconvenience!”

And you know what? I agree – they are very sorry, with several more exclamation marks, mine more necessary than theirs.

So now I am energized, and without a technical solution, I fall back on a more comforting one: cooking. I head to the kitchen, where I whip up a batch of my Aunt Marcy’s Divinity Fudge. Nothing else works like sugar to make me feel better.

Kitchen Goddess note: It’s important to be sure you have a dry day for making divinity, as all you’ll get on a humid day is a big, white, gooey mess.

Aunt Marcy’s Divinity Fudge

2 egg whites
2 cups sugar
½ cup white corn syrup
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped nuts

In a metal mixing bowl, with your mixer on high, beat the whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then cook without stirring to 260°. [Kitchen Goddess note #2: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, this is the point at which a little dropped into cold water forms a hard ball. I am usually racked with anxiety at trying to decide if the ball is hard enough, so I highly recommend investing in a candy thermometer, if you don’t have one.]

Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and pour, again with the mixer on high, in a fine stream into the beaten egg whites.

Continue beating until the mixture holds its shape and loses its gloss, which will take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and the nuts; then, working quickly (the stuff will stiffen faster than..., well, let’s just say really fast), drop small mounds of the candy onto waxed paper in peaks, or spread in a greased, shallow pan and cut into 1-inch squares when firm. For the mounds, it’s helpful to use two spoons – one spoon pushes the candy off the other.

Makes about 1¼ pounds.

Kitchen Goddess note #3: A few helpful tips regarding eggs. First, eggs separate better when they’re cold. But the whites whip up faster and fuller when they’re at room temperature. So separate your eggs, then let them sit for half an hour before whipping. Finally, fresh eggs don’t whip up as well as eggs that are at least a few days old. Which just goes to say that with eggs as with people, a little age is a good thing.

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