It is a long standing joke in my family: we can all expect Peeps at Easter, even though most of us do not like them. I am among the “not-so-fond of the sugar marshmallowy creatures” group, and am especially not a part of the “open the package to get them stale and eat them in a few weeks” group. I do, however, love sugar and marshmallows. So this year, I boldly went where no woman of my family has gone before. Homemade Peeps.
These Easter treats are really just homemade raspberry marshmallows with a little extra decorating. I used to be quite scared of any recipe that called for a candy thermometer, but I am not sure why. It is really very easy as long as you are not distracted. They make a great gift and would look pretty in all colors in an Easter basket.
non-stick cooking spray
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 C cold water
2/3 C light corn syrup
1/3 C refrigerated egg white product
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp raspberry extract
Food coloring (I used Wilton gel in Rose)
2/3 C powdered sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
6 oz white baking chocolate
colored sanding sugar
Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper and line the bottom. Coat parchment paper with spray. Set aside.
In a large metal or glass bowl, add gelatin to 1/2 C of cold water. Mix and set aside.
In a large saucepan, stir together 1/2 C cold water, 1 3/4 C of sugar and corn syrup. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, cook without stirring until mixture reaches hard-ball stage or 260 degrees. Remove from heat and add to gelatin mixture. Stir well to combine. The mixture will foam.
In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Slowly add remaining 1/4 C of sugar until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Beat in raspberry extract, one teaspoon at a time. With the mixer still on high speed, very gradually pour gelatin mixture into egg white mixture. Mix until thick, about 5-7 minutes. Gently dab a spoon into the gel coloring. Carefully dab the coloring at the edges of the mixture, allowing it to pick up and mix the color into the batter. Continue until desired color is reached.
Quickly pour mixture into prepared dish. Cover the top of the marshmallow mix with another piece of sprayed parchment paper. Allow to sit for one to two hours or until firm.
Remove parchment from the marshmallows. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle a quarter of the mixture evenly over a large cutting board. Sprinkle another quarter of the mixture on top of the marshmallows and pour the rest of the mixture into a large sealable plastic bag.
Cut marshmallows into desired sizes using a sharp knife that has been held under hot water. Place the marshmallows in the bag and coat with mixture.
Line two baking pans with parchment paper. On stovetop, melt white chocolate. Pour into small bowl. Dip tip of marshmallow into the white chocolate and sprinkle sanding sugar on top. Lay on baking pan. Cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes to harden chocolate. Serve immediately, or keep in airtight container in refrigerator.
I have many plans for homemade marshmallows in the future that may or may not include things like rootbeer extract, graham cracker crumbs and vanilla bean. Those are my kind of peeps.
And for a bit more fun, check out this Peep Show.
Happy Earth Day and a blessed Easter to all!