1. In a 2 quart saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt.
2. Cook to hardball stage, (260 degrees), stirring only until sugar dissolves.
3. Meanwhile, as temperature of syrup reaches 250 degrees, beat egg white till stiff peaks form.
4. When syrup reaches 260 degrees, very gradually add the syrup to egg whites, beating at high speed with electric mixer.
5. Add vanilla (I also added purple food coloring) and beat until candy holds its shape, 4-5 minutes.
6. Stir in the chopped nuts or cherries, if desired.
7. Quickly drop candy from a teaspoon onto waxed paper, swirling the top of each piece.
8. Let cool.
Makes 40 pieces.