Staring at me with their cold, lifeless eyes. It was if they were saying (with their preternaturally sharpened and curlicued beaks) “You want a little of this?”.
In my delirium, in my understandable weakness for all things Peep, I took the challenge.
It was not my finest hour.
Martha Stewart had written of home-made Peeps, and I had seen a couple of blogs featuring attempts at making the much loved, slightly stale, cardboard-like mound of not quite chick looking candy.
How hard could it be?
In fairness, I wasn’t too concerned about actually making the marshmallow, and the colored sugar was a breeze. I was pretty sure that the challenge would be trying to make the marshmallow and sugar actually look like a Peep.
I had read that you have to move quickly with the marshmallow once it is made. That didn’t leave much room for error. But, I had a plan.
I practiced with an ingredient that has (disturbingly) the same consistency as a Peep.
Oh yes. It is still on the shelf (which means people are using this….for something).
Perhaps, like me, they are all practicing their piping skills. Sure. That’s it. They are using this for piping practice.
This was going to be harder than I thought.
Slightly better, but only if I am attempting to make an anorexic swan. <sigh>
The Peeps looked on with disdain.
Although trained from birth to never reveal their emotions, the Peeps had a hard time holding back their laughter.
I felt I had practiced enough and counted on the significantly better marshmallow texture to help me achieve Peep-ness.
I was wrong.
As you view the evolution of my Peep attempts, even my best effort was not deserving of eyes.
And so, faced with a bowlful of marshmallow goodness, I did what any self-respecting, desperate Peep-o-file would do.
I looked online for a Peep mold.
There was, in fact, a Peep making machine (only $130 from ebay). But look, even this machine doesn’t really make the original, bona fide Peep.
It did, however, give me an idea.
I have loads of silicone molds. After ruling out the Titanic (although this IS the 100th anniversary), Lego bricks and coffee beans, I determined that little duckies would be a good alternative.
“Okay, you sharp beaked balls of stale marshmallow. THIS is the new Peep. Think you can do better? Well, bring it on. You’re chicken, I tell ya. You’re yella!”
And this, dear reader, ends my attempt to make Peeps. I guess I’ll have to spend a buck to buy my own Peeps. On the other hand….these little guys are pretty darned cute.
If you want to attempt this, here is the recipe (click on print for a version without all the pics). If you have better success than I had, please send pictures!!! Go to the Whatwillwedotoday Facebook page and share your success!!!
Marshmallow for Piping
- 1 Pkg Unflavored Gelatin (2 1/2 tsp)
- 1/3 Cup Water (for Gelatin)
- 1/4 Cup Water for Syrup
- 1 Cup Syrup
- 1/2 Tsp Clear Extract (If you wish. Lemon, Coconut and Almond are good choices)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tsp Food Coloring
- In mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow to soften, about 5 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and sugar.
- Stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Once dissolved, stop stirring and place a candy thermometer into the sugar water.
- Boil sugar until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees).
- Remove syrup from heat and add to softened gelatin.
- Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stire the mixture a few minutes to cool.
- Once cool, beat on medium high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape. This should take 8 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round decorating top and use immediately.
Making a Peep with a silicone mold:
- If using a silicone mold, spray with Pam.
- Extrude marshmallow into mold, assuring all crevices are filled with the marshmallow
- Wet finger with water and smooth top of the mold while gently pressing into the cavity.
- After a minute or two, turn mold over and pop the marshmallow onto colored sugar.
- Sprinkle sugar liberally over your marshmallow form.
- If you want to make your own colored sugar, put 1 cup sugar in a zip lock bag.
- Add food coloring and squish coloring around in bag until all sugar is the color you wish.
- Spread the sugar on a tray to dry. If you wish a finer grain, pulse in food processor for no more than 5 seconds (or it will become more like confectionary sugar)