1cupchopped nutsoptional (I almost always use pecans)
Line 2 large baking sheets with waxed paper. Butter two large spoons and set aside.
In a 3 quart saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.
Once at a boil, stop stirring and cook to 250F - hard ball stage. To do this, clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. This candy thermometer will beep when the correct temperature is reached. No fail :)
While the mixture is coming up to temperature, whisk egg whites on high speed in a heavy duty mixer until very stiff peaks form.
Whisk in the Jell-O until well blended.
Once the syrup has reached 250F, remove from heat.
Turn the mixer to medium-high and carefully and slowly pour the syrup into the egg white and Jell-O mixture. Like, so slowly, that this should take a good 2 minutes to pour it all in.
Add the vanilla extract.
Now it's time to let the mixer go to work. Continue beating until the mixture loses it's shine and holds it's shape when dropped from a spoon. You'll notice that it starts to look more and more sticky. This takes between 4 and 6 minutes usually.
It's absolutely okay to stop the mixer and test the mixture. If you drop the candy and it looks like a puddle on your waxed paper, continue beating for another minute or two and try again. When it holds it shape you are good to go.
At this time, mix in the nuts.
Spoon out a heaping teaspoon or tablespoon of the mixture out a time and use the other spoon to scrape the candy off the spoon. MAKE SURE that your spoons are buttered or the candy will stick. You do NOT need to butter them more than once.
Once all the candies have been dropped, let cool on the waxed paper.
Let the candies set out for at least 4 hours, preferable overnight before storing in an airtight container. These candies also do quite well sitting out in the open - no stickiness :)