I don't even like Peeps. Or marshmallows in general. But when it's Peeps Week on Serious Eats, you make sacrifices. Like a couple hours of time and never being able to say again "Ha! I've never made Peeps from scratch before. That's crazy talk!"
But, it was kind of special watching Peep placenta ooze from the pastry bag as their little heads formed. With the help of Brownie of Blondie and Brownie, I embraced this recipe, originally found in Martha Stewart Living.
Peeps baby-making, after the jump.
Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Read more: It's Time for Serious Eats Peeps Week 2010
- 1 packet of unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
- 1 cup sugar, plus extra for coating
- Food coloring (color of your choice)
In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup of cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of water and the cup of sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved.
Stop stirring, and place a candy thermometer into sugar water, wiping sides of pan with a wet brush if sugar crystals have splattered up. Now this part is key: boil sugar until temperature reaches the "soft-ball stage" (238°F), and don’t take your eyes off it. Timing is everything in confection and you don’t want the syrup to crystallize. Once temp is reached, remove from heat and add to softened gelatin.
Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stir the mixture for a few minutes as it cools. Place bowl on the mixer stand. Beat on medium high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the white fluffy mixture holds shape. This takes a good 10 minutes.
Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large pastry bag (14-inch is ideal) fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. If you have the Ateco set of tips, it's No. 11. Now, do not take a nap after filling the bag—you need to be ready to make all the Peeps in one swoop. Piping must happen immediately, or else some chemical reaction takes place and you end up with a pastry bag shaped marshmallow.
For Peep piping:
To coat with colored sugar, add gel or liquid dye to the plain sugar and mix with a utensil or shake in a Ziploc bag. Sift sugar if little clumps form. Sprinkle over the entire surface of the parchment or wax paper before piping.
Pipe an oval shape onto sugar, about 1 inch wide, tapering the end and pulling upward to finish with the tail. At first they might look like coiled sausage or snakes, and you might be ashamed, but don't give up.
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. Squawk!
Sprinkle with more Peeps pixie dust.
Vision time: make eyes with a little cocoa powder mixed with water. Apply with a piece of spaghetti or toothpick.
Optional: Squish together a mutant Peep that resembles Snuffleupagus. Place him behind smaller, more helpless Peep blobs as if he's about to jump them, for added dramatic effect.