Let me start by saying that as I was cutting and sugaring my homemade Peeps, I was thinking of angles for this post. The thing that kept consistently coming to mind is that this project is solely for people with entirely too much time on their hands who like to make messes. Grumble, grumble, moan, moan. Then, I tasted one and realized that the mess and effort was worth it. The Easter Bunny can keep his Peeps!
I spotted this project in the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living. Though I’m not big on Peeps (Reese’s peanut butter eggs are the best!), I am big on homemade marshmallows, so I had to give them a try. If you like super fresh, fluffy, gooey marshmallow and crunchy sanding sugar, this one’s for you.
Marshmallow Easter Critters
Yield varies based on cookie cutters used
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) gelatin (1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup cold water, plus 1/2 cup room-temperature water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fine colored sanding sugar, for sprinkling and rolling
Coat a 9 1/2-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and dust with confectioners’ sugar, tapping out excess. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in the bowl of a mixer. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
Meanwhile, heat granulated sugar and room-temperature water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush. Cook until syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Stir syrup into softened gelatin, and keep stirring for a few minutes to cool. Whisk on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla. Spread mixture into baking sheet using an offset spatula; sprinkle with sanding sugar. Let stand for 1 hour to set.
Cut out marshmallows using your favorite Easter cookie cutters (wipe cutters clean between each cut), and roll cut sides in sanding sugar to coat.
Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2011
- To account for altitude, I cooked my sugar syrup to 228 degrees instead of 238 degrees. My marshmallow was pretty soft, though… We were jokingly calling the treats “Jeeps” (as in a cross between Jigglers and Peeps). I enjoyed the texture, but I might take the syrup up to 232 or 234 next time to see how the marshmallow changes. All you sea level people have it so easy. 😉
- I needed the full 10 minutes to get my marshmallow to soft peaks.
- If you want your treats to be thoroughly coated in the sanding sugar, make sure you cover the top quickly and well when you initially spread the marshmallow onto the baking sheet. The sugar is only going to adhere to sticky surfaces, and the exposed marshmallow begins to set within a minute or two.
- I dipped my cookie cutter in confectioners’ sugar between cuts so I didn’t have to wipe it off for every single treat. I probably wiped it after every third or fourth cut.
- I really wanted to use Wilton’s mini Easter cookie cutters for this project, but I couldn’t track down a set. Instead, I used my smallest Easter-themed cookie cutter, which was a 2-inch-by-3-inch baby chick. I was able to get 26 treats out of the sheet of marshmallow with quite a few scraps.
Recipe link: Marshmallow Easter Critters