Few things will divide a household on Easter as Peeps ™ will. Some people love them. Some people hate them. Some like to freeze them, while others enjoy them stale. Regardless of which camp you fall into, homemade marshmallow treats are Easter basket delights that few can avoid. Soft, fluffy, and wholesome tasting, they are easier to make than you might think. The key is to incorporate as much air as possible into the marshmallow mix. A deft piping hand also helps, but just try your best to make bulbous bodies and peaked heads and beaks for that classic chick design.
Homemade Peeps ™
Makes about a dozen
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 ½ teaspoons) – find it near the Jello and pudding mix at your grocer
1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus ¼ cup for sugar syrup
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkle
2-3 drops yellow food color (click here for some natural food coloring recipes)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about five minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup water and 1 cup of sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and place a candy thermometer into the sugar syrup. Wipe the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals have splattered up. Boil the sugar until the temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Remove syrup from the heat; add to the softened gelatin slowly.
Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, slowly whip together the mixture to cool (about one minute). Add in food coloring to reach desired color (it will be lighter once it is completely whipped, so don’t worry now if it seems to dark). Beat the mixture on medium-high until soft peaks form and the mixture holds its shape, about eight minutes.
Transfer this marshmallow mixture to a large pastry bag or zip-top bag, seal after pushing out extra air. Snip the corner/tip to make a half-inch opening. Form the Peeps by piping the shapes onto a piece of wax paper sprinkled with Confectioner’s sugar. Once formed, sprinkle with sugar, then dip a toothpick in melted chocolate and apply to make eyes. Allow to set-up for 15 minutes. Eat immediately or store in an air-tight container for up to three days.