We had a long discussion about Christmas cookies yesterday and so we got excited about making Christmas cookies. Several obstacles presented themselves but we were undeterred. A midnight run to Homeplus wasn't fruitless though we had to make some judgement calls on substitution ingredients because products are quite the same as they are in the states.
Besides not having or being able to purchase all of the ingredients, we don't have an oven to attempt baking. All things considered, I decided to attempt divinity which is a challenging candy without the aforementioned obstacles.
I had to substitute rice syrup for corn syrup and instead of vanilla extract or even vanilla beans, they had vanilla flavoring powder. Because our supply run to Homeplus was at midnight, the store was in the middle of stocking shelves and rearranging merchandise. Unfortunately, they were rearranging all of the cooking utensils and so I was unable to find a candy thermometer.
The old fashioned way of making candy calls for dipping the syrup into an ice water bath to determine the 'hard ball stage' or the 'firm crack stage'. I attempted this and was pretty certain I had succeeded. With great effort, I also succeeded in whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks without an electric mixer.
Everything seemed primed for my divinity to be, well, divine. I combined the egg whites and hot syrup and began the mixing process. Twenty minutes of stirring later, I conceded.
My divinity didn't set up. With another attempt, I might succeed. But I don't feel bad because my mother's divinity didn't set up either this year and she didn't have said obstacles. (Her second batch worked like a charm.)
My roommate's cannolis were slightly more successful. If time permits we might use a co-workers oven and attempt sour cream sugar cookies (with substitution for the sour cream because they don't sell sour cream in Korea). I'll let you know how that turns out!