Peeps are another one of the classic Easter treats.
Soft, fluffy marshmallow shaped into cute Easter creatures (bunnies, or the classic chicks) coated with neon-dyed sugar. I can't say I NEED them at Easter, but I certainly enjoy them when I do have them. I thought it would be a fun project, so I added Peeps to my Easter treat list this year.
Making Peeps requires making marshmallow from scratch, I was very nervous about the first time I tried. But really, it's not that bad, and I've made them many times since. I much prefer the flavor and texture of homemade marshmallows to store bought.
Making homemade marshmallow does require a candy thermometer. This is something you can't eyeball - if you over- or under-cook the sugar mixture, your marshmallows will not set up properly.
This is what your finished marshmallow looks like straight out of the mixer. Basically like marshmallow creme. Trust me, you will be tempted to eat it, but try not to. You don't have any time to lose - the marshmallow starts to set up very quickly. It's very messy business getting it into your prepared pan, so hopefully you don't mind getting a little sticky!
Now for the fun (messy) part - cutting them. If you're just cutting them into squares for regular marshmallows, it's easiest to cut them with a pizza cutter that has been dusted with the icing sugar/cornstarch. If you're using a cookie cutter, dip it in the mixture to prevent sticking.
You can buy colored sugar with cake decorating supplies in craft stores, or you can made your own by mixing a couple drops of food coloring with granulated sugar. I found mixing with my fingers worked best, but I did end up with tie-dyed fingertips. To get the sugar to stick, dip your fingers in some water, then dab it over the entire surface of the marshmallow, then toss to coat.
If you want, you can make a paste out of cocoa powder and water (or use melted chocolate) to draw on the faces with a toothpick.
Then enjoy the sweet, fluffy little creatures!
Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
- Canola oil spray
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 packages (7 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup ice cold water, divided
- 12 ounces granulated sugar (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare a 9x13" baking pan as follows: spray lightly with canola oil. Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch together, then pour it into baking sheet. Turn pan around to coat it evenly with the cornstarch mixture. Pour excess into a dish and save it for later.
- Sprinkle gelatin powder over ½ cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Heat corn syrup, sugar and the remaining ½ cup water over medium high heat in a medium, covered saucepan for 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Continue cooking until temperature reaches 240°F. (The mixture will begin to boil vigorously before the temperature is reached.)
- Once the temperature reaches 240°F, immediately remove from heat. Turn stand mixer on low speed and pour hot sugar mixture slowly down the side of the bowl. Once it has all been added, turn mixer to high speed. Continue whipping until marshmallow is white, lukewarm, very thick and fluffy. Turn mixer to low speed and add vanilla. Turn mixer back to high speed and mix until vanilla is incorporated, 30-60 seconds.
- Pour whipped marshmallow into the baking pan, spreading it evenly with an oiled spatula. Sprinkle the top with leftover cornstarch mixture, saving excess for later. Let sit uncovered for at least 4 hours.
- When marshmallow is set, cut it with a greased knife or cookie cutters in desired shapes.
- For making peeps: wet all sides of the cut marshmallow with your finger dipped in water. Toss in colored sugar (see note) to coat.
Nutrition Disclaimer: I try my best to make sure the nutrition information I provide is accurate to provide you with the best information possible. However, due to ingredient discrepancies and other factors, the above nutrition information should be considered an estimation only.
Homemade Marshmallow Nutrition Notes:
Marshmallows, whether homemade or otherwise are pretty much just pure sugar and in no way healthy. So enjoy them occasionally and in small portions.