How to Make Marshmallow Peeps at Home

I'm not sure where the harebrained idea to make my own marshmallow Peeps came from, but I'm sure glad it did. Yes they are a lot of work, yes they involve gelatin (an ingredient I don't often use) and yes, they are loaded full of sugar and not much else. Oh, and YES, they are a tremendous amount of fun to make and eat! Happy Easter, my friends.

As someone who's never made marshmallows before, let alone any recipe requiring a candy thermometer, I was admittedly a bit worried about how these Peeps would turn out. Fear not, the task proved to be entirely possible, just a little messy!

While there is a perfectly good recipe for marshmallow Peeps in our archive, it requires use of a pastry bag and some deft ability with said bag; I thought a sheet of marshmallow and cookie cutters would be a more intuitive, user–friendly approach. This easier version that I arrived at was absolutely doable. Just make sure to set aside an afternoon, resting time, and one more session to decorate (my favorite part).

I confess I've never bought Peeps at a grocery store — their alarming color and artificiality always turned me off. Now however, I think it's safe to say that I'm enamored with my little creations. I made chicks, bunnies and small flowers, but I do believe next year will be a band of sparkle sugar–encrusted elephants, lions and unicorns; why not!?

Have you attempted peeps at home? Do you think you'll try?

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How To Make Marshmallow Peeps

Makes about 12 Peeps

What You Need

Ingredients
7 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (I used 3 Knox gelatin envelopes)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Butter for greasing pans (and your fingers)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Sanding sugars
Food coloring
Smoked sesame seeds (for eyes of Peeps)

Equipment
Stand mixer
Medium–sized pot
Candy thermometer (I used this one)
2 cake pans (or a pie pan or sheet pan would do fine)
Cookie cutters

Instructions

1. Place the contents of the three gelatin envelopes in the bottom of the bowl for the stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside while preparing the next part of the recipe.

2. Prepare the candy mixture: In a medium-sized pot, heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla over high heat. When mixture has come to a full rolling boil, stop stirring, but swirl the pan occasionally by the handles. Put the thermometer in the pot and bring the mixture to 240°F. This will take about 7 minutes.

3. Carefully pour the sugar/corn syrup mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add another 1/2 cup of water and use the stand mixer's whisk attachment to beat on high speed for about 12 to 15 minutes total. (This image shows the mixture after 5 minutes of whisking.)

4. After 10 minutes of whisking: The marshmallow is coming together, but not quite there.

5. After just under 15 minutes of whisking: The marshmallow is ready to go, or add food coloring as I did.

6. Add food coloring: I divided my marshmallow into two parts, for two colors. It took about 12–15 drops of food coloring to achieve the pale pastel color I wanted.

7. Pat the marshmallow into prepared pans: Lightly grease two pans or one larger one and pour the marshmallow into the pans. Greasing your fingers can help because things get really sticky.

8. Clean up tray: I found it helpful to have one pan dedicated to putting my sticky utensils down on, because this really is a messy, sticky job.

9. Cover the marshmallow sheets for about 4 hours or overnight: Then when you're ready, just turn the marshmallow out onto a flat surface and gather the cookie cutters.

10. Cut out your Peeps: Combine a little cornstarch and powdered sugar and dredge the cookie cutters in between cuts to make things smoother and less sticky.

11. Apply the sanding sugar: Dip your finger into a little water and coat the entire marshmallow. Dredge the marshmallow carefully in colorful sanding sugar. Let air dry on a cooling rack.

12. For the eyes: Use a little dab of corn syrup and a few smoked sesame seeds to create eyes on your creatures. I found a tip of a toothpick worked perfectly to apply the corn syrup and sesame seeds.

13. Enjoy your Peeps: Wrap up with cellophane, tie with a ribbon and delight your friends.

Peeps will keep covered for about a week.

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(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)

Per serving, based on 2 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
1140
Fat
0.4 g (0.5%)
Saturated
0 g (0%)
Carbs
289.2 g (96.4%)
Fiber
0 g (0.1%)
Sugars
199.8 g
Protein
7.4 g (14.8%)
Sodium
706.5 mg (29.4%)