Jen and I had another baking date a few weeks ago, and we decided to try to recreate that well-known Easter treat: Peeps! I find that people either love Peeps, love stale Peeps, or steer clear of them. I fall into the second category. Give me a box of Peeps that has been sitting open for a week, and I'm a happy girl. Homemade Peeps, however, changed my mind a bit. I even liked them fresh.
Jen found a recipe for marshmallow for piping and some pictures detailing how to create Peeps. While we started out thinking we might make chicks and bunnies, we had enough fun just trying to make chicks that looked like chicks that we never got to the bunnies.
Homemade Peeps (adapted from Martha Stewart Living and Serious Eats)
1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin
1/4 cup cold water, for syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil, and set aside (you'll place your finished Peeps on it).
In bowl of electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and place a candy thermometer into sugar water. Boil sugar until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Stir in vanilla and salt.
Remove syrup from heat, and pour into bowl with softened gelatin. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stir the mixture, just to cool it slightly. Then attach the whisk, and beat on medium-high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large pastry bag (14-inch, preferably disposable) fitted with a small tip (such as Ateco #11), and use immediately (seriously, immediately -- the marshmallow starts to firm up pretty quickly).
To pipe the Peeps: Spread a small circle of colored sugar on your work surface.
Begin by piping an oval, tapering the end and pulling upward to form the tail.
At the opposite end, pipe the head by piping a mound and pushing back toward the tail and up and then pulling away to form the beak.
Toss sugar on the chick to coat completely, and transfer to a parchment- or foil-lined sheet pan.
What is your favorite Easter candy? (Mine is definitely Cadbury Mini Eggs.)