Hap-Peep Easter

I confess I borrowed this recipe for Marshmallow “Peeps”® from Martha Stewart, and I have to agree with her that fresh, homemade marshmallows taste much better than the ones that come from a grocery store shelf, no matter what color (or how cute) they are.

If you have a little extra time before Easter Sunday, I strongly recommend trying this fun recipe.

Homemade Marshmallow “Peeps”
Marshmallow for piping:
(
Makes about 1½ cups—for approximately 3 dozen Peeps)
1 unflavored gelatin (2½ teaspoons)
1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus ¼ cup for syrup
1 cup sugar

To assemble “Peeps”:
Fine crystal colored sugar or turbinado sugar
1½ cups sugar
Luster dust or Petal dust (optional)
Note: You can find Petal dust at most higher end kitchen supply stores.

To make marshmallow:
Sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold  water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow gelatin to soften (about 5 minutes).

Combine ¼ cup water and sugar in a small saucepan, and stir over  medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Place a candy  thermometer in sugar water, and wipe sides of pan with a wet brush if sugar  crystals have formed. Boil mixutre until temperature reaches soft-ball  stage (238° F). Remove syrup from heat; add to softened gelatin.

Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stir the mixture a few minutes to cool; place bowl on the mixer stand. Beat on medium high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape (8-10 minutes).

NOTE: In the photo above, the marshmallow mixture is a little over mixed for piping smooth “Peeps.”  I found if I added two teaspoons or so of vanilla extract and rewhipped the mixture until combined, it was now smooth and had better flavor.

Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large (14-inch) pastry bag fitted with a  ½-inch tip, and use immediately.

To prepare “Peeps”:
Fill a rimmed baking sheet or several small bowls with sugar. If desired, color the sugar by stirring in luster dust or sparkle dust a little at a time.

NOTE: Martha advises making Bunnies and Chicks one at a time, following the directions below, but I found if I made one at a time the marshmallow in the piping bag stiffened up too much between critter creations. I ended up piping about a dozen at a time, coating with sugar and then letting them set a few minutes before moving.

To make a Bunny “Peep”:
1. Pipe a small marshmallow mound onto sugar, about 1½ inches long and ½ inch tall. Pipe two smaller mounds on either end for the head and tail.

2. Pipe the ears, starting from the top of the head onto the body, pulling forward and off to finish. With a damp finger, pat down any marshmallow spikes formed from piping.

3. Sprinkle sugar over the entire surface of the bunny, and allow a few minutes for the shape to set.

4. Lift bunny out of sugar with a spoon or small offset spatula. Place in a parchment-lined airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: In the photo you will see I tried different shapes. Have fun with it!

To make a Chick “Peep”:
1. Pipe an oval shape onto sugar, about 1 inch wide, tapering the end and pulling upward to finish with the tail.

2. For the head, pipe a mound on the end opposite the tail, about the width of the body, pushing toward the tail and up. Pull away from the head to form the beak.

3. Immediately sprinkle sugar over the entire surface of the chick. Allow a few minutes for the shape to set.

4. Lift chick out of sugar with a spoon or small offset spatula. Place in a parchment-lined airtight container until ready to serve, or for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe and instructions from MarthaStewart.com.

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