Our homemade Peeps recipe is a healthier alternative to the ones living on grocery store shelves this time of year. They’re surprisingly easy to make and homemade marshmallow makes a world of difference in terms of taste and nutrition — no preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup here! It’ll take a little finesse to get them to look perfect, but luckily, ugly chicks are just as delicious.
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Homemade Marshmallow Peeps Recipe
Yields about 20
Active time: 30 minutes
2 cups colored sugar, in one or various colors
1/3 cup room-temperature water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Black or brown decorating gel in the tube
You’ll also need:
Piping bag with 1/2-inch plain round tip (#806)
Stand mixer with whisk attachment
- Place each color of sugar in its own wide-mouthed bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; set both aside.
- Place room-temperature water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let it sit to soften, about 5 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, bring cold water and sugar to a simmer. Cook it until a candy thermometer reads 235°F.
- Using the whisk attachment, start stirring the gelatin mixture and slowly add the sugar mixture. Whisk on medium until it becomes opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and whip on high until soft peaks form, about 7-8 minutes.
- Transfer to a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe chicks immediately (you have to work fast, before the marshmallow hardens).
- Pipe the chicks directly onto the colored sugar, beginning with the body: hold the bag an inch above the surface at a 90-degree angle. Squeeze the marshmallow out, allowing it to form a 1-inch round before beginning to pull back towards you. Taper as you move backward, forming a 3-inch body. Release pressure and pull the bag upward to form the tail. Form the head by again placing the bag at a 90-degree angle. Pipe on top of your body segment, and move the bag back toward the tail. Once you have reached the middle of the body, reverse directions and move the bag back toward the front. Simultaneously release pressure on the bag so that the marshmallow stops flowing and tapers off into a beak shape. Sprinkle the colored sugar all over to coat. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with the remaining marshmallow.
- Pipe the gel onto each side of the head to make the eyes. Let the chicks sit uncovered at room temperature for 4-6 hours to set. They can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Originally posted April 2014. Updated April 2015.