are marshmallow candies that are shaped into chicks,
bunnies, and other animals.
they slowly grew on me. Or maybe it was the sheer sugar rush
— from testing close to 75 dozen chicks — but I’ll
admit it. I’ve grown fond of Peeps.
most of us, an Easter basket simply isn’t complete without
a box of Peeps. The colorful marshmallow candy brand is
celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and the popular
chicks are to Easter what candy corn is to Halloween and
candy canes are to Christmas.
course, Peeps are probably just as famous for what people do
with them, and I’m not just talking about
fluorescent-tinted s’mores or a post-apocalyptic trip in
quick Internet search will give you Peep "sushi"
("peepshi") and "peepza" (add the Peeps
during the last minute or so while baking a pizza, so they
just start to melt with the cheese). You’ll find Peeps on
cars ("peepmobiles") and as clothing, fluffy
re-creations of famous art (Van Gogh’s "Starry
Night" and Warhol’s "Marilyn Monroe"), and
countless methods of Peeps destruction. And no Easter season
is complete without the annual Peeps Diorama Contest.
was never a big fan of actually eating them — that is,
until I tried homemade. While commercial Peeps have a
devoted following, others find them to be overly sweet,
tough and chewy. (Some fans actually prefer that tougher
texture, aging the Peeps — "curing them," as
they call it).
freshly made, "peeps" are soft in texture, each
bite light and fluffy. Delicate almost.
nothing more than homemade marshmallows, a simple
combination of sugar, water, gelatin, corn syrup and
flavoring. Basic cut-out peeps are easy to make: Spread
freshly made marshmallow on a baking sheet and leave it to
set up, and then cut out peeps in any of a number of holiday
shapes — flowers or bunnies, whatever you like — dipping
the little creations in colored sugar for decoration.
chicks are a bit more challenging. While online recipes for
Peeps-like chicks are plentiful, I found none yielded a
marshmallow stiff yet pliable enough to form the right
shape. After comparing a bunch of recipes, tweaking and
fine-tuning to perfect a method, I found that the right
marshmallow consistency — along with a bit of practice
with a piping bag — is key to homemade marshmallow chicks.
said, don’t be embarrassed with your first batch of piped
chicks. They take practice. (Did I mention testing almost 75
dozen before getting it right?) If you find your piping
skills are lacking, you can always spread the marshmallow
out onto a greased sheet and cut them out later. You’ll
still have peeps.
thing I like best about homemade peeps — well, beyond the
pillowy soft texture — is that I can flavor them however I’d
like. Vanilla is classic, but try adding a touch of almond
or lemon extract, perhaps mint or a touch of ground
cinnamon. My favorite was a little rose water — it added a
hint of floral sweetness to the marshmallows, perfect for
go crazy. Make enough peeps for a diorama, Easter bonnet or
demolition derby. Who knows? You might even find you
actually prefer to eat them.
time: 1 hour, plus setting time
About 3 dozen candies, depending on size
This recipe requires the use of a candy or digital
tablespoons light corn syrup
teaspoons vanilla extract
for greasing a baking sheet, if cutting out shapes
the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
sprinkle the gelatin over one-fourth cup of water and let
stand until the gelatin is softened. If piping chick-shaped
candies, fit a piping bag with a large, round tip
(preferably one-half inch) and place the colored sugar in a
bowl. If cutting out shapes, butter the baking sheet and
line with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.
a large saucepan, combine the remaining water with the sugar
and corn syrup, and cook until the sugar reaches 245 degrees
using a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the sugar
syrup down the side of the mixer so it doesn’t splash
against the whisk. Slowly increase the mixer speed to high
and beat until the marshmallow lightens in color, about 6
minutes, then beat in the vanilla. For piped marshmallows,
continue beating on high speed until the marshmallow firms
and stiffens in texture (similar to a stiff meringue); the
marshmallow should not be overly stringy and will have lost
some of its sheen, and the marshmallow should break off as
the beater is removed, 10 to 16 minutes. For cut
marshmallows, continue beating until the marshmallow is
fluffy and doubled in volume, 8 to 10 minutes.
pipe marshmallow chicks, start by piping the body: Hold the
piping bag over the colored sugar and begin piping the
marshmallow out onto the sugar so it is about 1-inch in
diameter and approximately one-half-inch thick. Continue
piping the body so it is about 2½ inches in length, then
slowly release the tip from the marshmallow, pushing the
marshmallow up to form a tail. To form the chest and head,
pipe on top of the body, starting from the front of the body
and piping over half of the back. Continue piping, but
reversing direction, to form the head, slowly releasing the
tip to form the beak. Spoon the colored sugar over the
formed marshmallow to coat completely. Remove the
marshmallow to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
form cuttable marshmallows, using a lightly greased offset
spatula, immediately spread the mixture onto the buttered
parchment-lined sheet, spreading the marshmallow so it
covers the pan in an even layer. Set aside, uncovered, 2 to
4 hours to set. When the marshmallow is set, cut out shapes
using lightly greased cutters. Gently press the marshmallows
in colored sugar to evenly coat.
Form the eyes: Place the chocolate chips in a glass
measuring cup or bowl and microwave in 10-second increments,
stirring occasionally, until melted. Use a toothpick to dot
the melted chocolate over the marshmallow candies to form
eyes (and noses, for marshmallow bunnies).
of 36 candies: 82 calories; 0 protein; 19 grams
carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 1 gram fat; 0 saturated fat; 0
cholesterol; 18 grams sugar; 2 mg sodium.
you’ve mastered the basic techniques, you can really start
to play around with your peeps.
flavoring can be substituted with another flavoring, such as
almond, mint or lemon extract. Or you can use powdered
spices such as ground cinnamon. You can even use rose- or
orange blossom water, which are actually quite delicious.
Start by beating in about one-fourth teaspoon of the
flavoring at a time and then adding more to reach the
sugars are available at most grocery stores as well as at
cooking and baking supply stores, but you can make your own
custom hues: Place granulated sugar in a sealable plastic
bag or jar with a few drops of food coloring, then shake
until the coloring is evenly distributed. Spread the sugar
out onto a rimmed baking sheet for about 30 minutes to dry,
then sift the sugar before using to remove any lumps.