Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
1 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups water, divided
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
This recipe makes approximately 25 marshmallow chicks. The cooking materials you will need are a large pastry bag, a whisk, an electric mixer, a candy thermometer and waxed paper.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup and 3/4-cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil. While boiling, attach a candy thermometer to the pot so that the tip is immersed in the liquid, but not touching the bottom of the pot. Watch the temperature carefully until it reaches the hard-ball stage -- when the thermometer reads 250 to 260 degrees F (121 to 129 degrees C).
3. While the sugar mixture is heating, place the remaining water in a metal bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Place the bowl over simmering water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture becomes liquid. Keep this gelatin mixture warm until the sugar comes to the proper temperature. As soon as the sugar mixture reaches the hard-ball stage and you remove it from heat, carefully whisk in the gelatin mixture. Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites into soft peaks (You can tell that eggs have reached the soft-peak stage when you take a spoon, dip it in and out of the egg mixture, and a peak is formed that is soft enough to quickly bend over.).
4. Once the peaks have formed, set the electric mixer to medium-speed and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of whipped egg whites. When pouring the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl, never let the stream of liquid grow larger than a pencil's width. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated into the egg whites, add the vanilla extract and continue mixing at a medium-speed until the mixture cannot become any fluffier. Add any additional colorings or flavorings at this time.
5. Line a flat surface with waxed paper and sprinkle it with a generous coating of sugar. Use a large pastry bag with at least a 1/2-inch opening or tip. Carefully spoon the sticky marshmallow fluff into the bag and twist the top closed. Pipe the body of the chick shape first by making a thick line on the paper. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle to the surface so that the piping will stand tall.
6. When the body is long enough, pipe backwards on top of the body, and then make a little head.
7. Place little candies onto the marshmallow chick's head to make eyes (if you like) and sprinkle colored sugar over the chick's body. To coat the marshmallow chicks completely, let them set for 30 minutes before buttering your hands (for easier handling) and rolling them in bowls full of colored sugar.
8. Let the marshmallow chicks rest for approximately 4 hours to allow them time to fully set. Homemade marshmallow chicks look adorable in everyone's Easter egg basket and they make an attractive centerpiece for any festive table!