Homemade Peeps

After completely destroying some Peeps earlier this week, I figured it was time to prove my good will towards Peeps. I do love Peeps, don't get me wrong.

Also, baking is a great way to distract yourself for the afternoon. Some days you just need that. I was looking for something to bake yesterday . . . and I found my recipe for peeps. Perfect timing. And I actually had everything but gelatin. Plus, we were out of marshmallows. Conveniently enough, I had been talking about making marshmallows the other day. Therefore, Peeps it was.
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Marshmallows are actually amazingly easy for how fluffy and un-Earth-like they seem. Homemade peeps and/or marshmallows are so worth it. And, according to CJC, "preservative free!"
Oh, the only other thing I needed besides gelatin was a cookie cutter. I had the choice of . . . a ghost, a cat, a turkey, a flag, a heart, any number of Christmas shapes, and a snowflake. Which one of those says "Easter" to you? None? Me either. I ended up with a star from the Christmas choices. However, thanks to mom, a flower one appeared. It was huge though. I got 8 Peeps out of the recipe that says that it should make 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 dozen, plus a whole lot of funny shaped marshmallows. I guess the giant flowers are good for sharing.
Quick Cutout Marshmallow Peeps
from Cookie Swap, by Julia Usher

About 1 1/3 cups of yellow (or pink!) decorating sugar
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Generously spray the bottom and sides of a 10x15x1 inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray again.

Sprinkle about 2/3 cup colored sugar into the pan and shake it around so that the bottom and sides are completely coated. Keep the excess sugar in the pan.

Combine 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, the corn syrup and the salt together in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 238 to 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

At the same time, pour 1/2 cup of water into the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, Sprinkle the gelatin over, one packet at a time, waiting for one to dissolve before pouring the next over. Allow to set until it is mostly moistened, but don't stir it.

Add a few tablespoons of the hot syrup to the gelatin mixture and start the mixer on medium speed, pouring the rest of the hot syrup into the mixer.

Turn the mixer to high and let it beat about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick, glossy and very white. Add the vanilla extract during the last minute or so of beating.

Immediately put the mixture into the sugar-lined pan and spread it into a flat, level layer with a spatula. Sprinkle the rest of the colored sugar over the top and completely cover the marshmallow goo.

Let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 4 or more hours. Try and avoid waiting for more than 12 hours to cut them.

Loosen any stuck marshmallow, and turn out the sheet onto a working surface. Collect any loose sugar that falls off.

Coat your cookie cutter (that is at least an inch thick) with cooking spray and cut out as many as you can fit in the sheet. Roll the edges of the cutouts in the leftover sugar. Then, cut up the edges into oddly shaped marshmallows.

I love the starting point for making marshmallows: use a tiny bit of water to dissolve a ton of sugar and corn syrup into a liquid (read: teensy bit of water, sugar, and sugar). It never seems like it's quite safe to me with all the warnings I have been given about how easily sugar burns, but it has always worked for me. It just gets really sticky.
I decided not to make them lemon flavored, as they were in the book, but to use vanilla and make them traditional marshmallows. I also ran out of colored sugar after covering the bottom of the pan, so my peeps are only pink on one side. Oh well.
They worked to distract me for the afternoon. And they are pretty yummy. And it's the perfect season for Peeps. So, I can't complain.
Also, I discovered Whole Foods Market for the first time this afternoon . . . only the most amazing (but very expensive!) grocery store ever. They have amazing hot cross buns, FYI. And no, when I say hot cross buns, I don't mean the song you learned in elementary school band. Some people may go to fancy department stores to go window shopping . . . I go to fancy grocery stores.


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