Saturday, March 30, 2013

Home Made Marshmallow Peeps

     Some treats only come out at holiday time- candy canes for Christmas, candy corn for Halloween and marshmallow Peeps for Easter. Of course, Peeps are out year round now (ghosts, hearts, Christmas trees), but I still only buy a pack during Easter. They come in bunny or easter chick shape and in a rainbow hue of pastel colors. Just Born is celebrating 60 years of marshmallow goodness this year.
    Quite a few years ago I tired to make my own. Martha Stewart had done a peep and bunny diorama of deliciousness that I just had to try and make. Well, my pre teen self just didn't have the patience or culinary fortitude. All I remember is that my sugar never set and I ended up with a puddle of goo that was forever sticky.
    I re tried the recipe today and it was a success! These are super easy to make if you have a little bit of patience. You don't even need artistic ability, you can make marshmallow blobs. These taste sweeter than store bought peeps and they don't have the crunch of peeps going stale....yet.

Marshmallow for piping

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (1 package of Knox brand)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sugar

You will also need sanding sugar for coating the marshmallow, this is the finer colored sugar in the baking aisle.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.

While gelatin is softening, in a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Stir over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and place a candy thermometer into sugar. Boil until sugar reaches 238 degrees, the soft ball stage. (Most candy thermometers will have "soft ball" written on them) It takes some time to reach this stage, be patient!

Remove syrup from heat, add to softened gelatin. Mix by hand with a whisk for 2 minutes to combine and cool. Beat on medium high heat with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds its shape. Another step that takes some time. This takes over 10 minutes of whisking. How do you know when its ready? When you turn off the mixer and lift the whisk out and you have a sturdy string of marshmallow clinging from the whisk to the mixing bowl-thats when. DO NOT under mix, you will wind up with sad puddles of goo.

Now the fun-adding sugar and forming!

I prepped three small baking sheets (the kind that go in a toaster oven) by covering the bottom of them with a fine layer of sugar. This will prevent your peep or bunny from sticking.

I chose some happy Easter could also make Easter zombie bunnies with the green. I had some red,
but then my bunnies would look like Watership Down and thats just sad....

    Use your largest piping tip you have, I had a Wilton #12, but it should be around 1/2 inch. Put the marshmallow mixture in your piping bag. I don't have the fancy bag holder, so I used a glass-works just as well. Make sure to have your bag rolled all the way down and slowly open it up as you fill it. Try and get the air out too.

Filling the piping bag

Now is the fun part! Now for the bunnies!

Pipe out a "body" for your bunny, the larger middle circle. Next add a smaller circle for the head and then a smaller circle for the tail.

Wet your fingers and gently pat down the peaks on the head and tail.

Pipe the ears, these are just long rectangles that come off the head of the bunny.

Spoon sanding sugar over the whole marshmallow creation so it doesn't stick to anything.

You can keep your goodies for 2 weeks if you seal them in an air tight container.

Who says that you have to make bunnies? You can make any shape you want. I made a Peep-o-saurus Rex!

Happy Easter!

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