Did you know that Caitie's nickname for me is Peep? And did you know that it has nothing to do with the tasty Easter treats? No, the reason that my nickname is Peep has more to do with immature bathroom humor than it does springtime confections. See, my baby sister Chloe called our brother Jordan "Doo Doo" when she was learning to talk. And I thought that that was the funniest and greatest nickname for him, so I did everything I could to make it stick.* When I told Caitie about the reason that, years later, we were all still referring to Jordan as "Doo Doo," she decided that I should have an equally obnoxious nickname, so she started calling me "Pee Pee," which was later shortened to Peep.
Sorry to start off this post about treats with talk of bodily functions. I just thought you should know that little bit of history.
I love making marshmallows. We learned that this Christmas. So when I looked in my friend Martha's magazine this month and saw the idea for homemade Peeps, I was all, "Sign me up, Martha!" Well, it didn't happen quite like that. It was more of me lying on the couch with the dog, thumbing through the magazine and then tearing out the page before I drifted off to sleep while watching crappy TV on ABC Family, but let's just pretend that Martha was here seeking volunteers to make marshmallows shaped like bunnies and chicks. Or pigs, in this case.
So here's what you do, party peeps.
You make some marshmallows, and you put them into a large cookie sheet so that they won't be too thick.
And then you take some superfine sugar (you could probably use regular white sugar, too, but I had the superfine and thought it'd be better) and some food coloring. I happened to have this weird neon color food coloring (which I've had for years and hated in every instance but this one) that ended up making some very pretty sugar. Use whatever you like on this, though. Take about 1/2 cup of sugar and only one drop of food coloring and mix together for pretty, pretty colors. (PS--I tried the gel food coloring for this, and it didn't work. It just clumped. So--use the liquid food coloring.)
And then you cut the shapes out with cookie cutters. We sprayed our cutters with Pam first so that they wouldn't stick to the marshmallows too much.
And toss the marshmallow shapes around in the sugar. Easy peasy. Japanesey.
I really loved the pigs.
But the very best one is the rabbit with Mitch ears!
Cassie took this picture of Mitch looking up at me. Isn't it the cutest?
Except opposite, I guess. Shoot.
And the flavor of these homemade peeps is just extraordinary. They're light and fluffy, and basically just little sugar pillows that melt in your mouth. You probably need to make these, like, yesterday.
And, really, all you need for this is the marshmallow recipe. The rest is simple. So here it is.
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1.Coat an 9x13-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside.
3. Also meanwhile, beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Pour mixture into lined pan. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
*Also, I am evil, in case you hadn't figured that out already.