Easter is right around the corner, and I wanted to get into the holiday spirit a little bit. I have never been a peeps fan, but thought maybe if I made my own I would like them. Turns out, I was right! I’ve been wanting to try homemade marshmallows for a long time but didn’t own a candy thermometer until recently. Thermometer or not, I still had a lot of trouble with these.
I tried making Martha Stewart’s marshmallow recipe twice, and it was a complete failure both times. That just goes to show you that even people who are deemed “experts” in their field often write bad recipes. That is why there is such thing as a recipe tester job. Although apparently this one slipped through the cracks over at marthastewart.com. Thank god for David Lebovitz who stepped in with a winning recipe. I got this one right the first time!
Homemade Marshmallow Peeps recipe adapted from David Lebovitz
2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin
1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
1 cup (200g) sugar
1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)
2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
8. Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Dust the top with your favorite sprinkles. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered. I used a cookie cutter to cut out shapes (too bad I didn’t have a bunny shape)
Alternately, I did want to try some authentic peep shapes, so I put half the marshmallow into a piping bag (gallon zip loc with the corner cut off) and tried out a few shapes. As you can see, I’m about as good at peep making as I am at cupcake decorating, that is, terrible. Whatever. They still tasted good!