Easter is coming and I decided to give home-made Peeps a try. My hubby really likes these disgusting candies, and it's almost 100% sugar so you know kids like it too.
There is no way to find Organic or Fair Trade colored sugar, so I made my own. I know food coloring is pure evil to the health puritans, BUT as far as compromises go, I can list the ingredients I put in home made Peeps on one hand and couldn't say the same for any other candies that are popular this time of year.
How to Color Sugar
Put desired amount of sugar into ziploc bag. 1 cup is enough if you're making the Peep recipe. Lay the bag flat on your countertop with the sugar collected at the bottom. Put a few drops of coloring on the bag, not directly into the sugar. Close the bag and shimmy/shake/rub the sugar all around until the color is evenly distributed. Sound easy? It is.
Peeps, a la Martha Stewart
• 1 unflavored gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons)
• 1/3 cup cold water, for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
• 1 cup sugar
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Allow gelatin to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and sugar, and stir over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring, and place a candy thermometer into sugar water; wipe sides of pan with a wet brush if sugar crystals have splattered up. Boil sugar until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238F). Remove syrup from heat; add to softened gelatin. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, hand-stir the mixture a few minutes to cool; place bowl on the mixer stand. Beat on medium high with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form and the marshmallow mixture holds shape, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large (14-inch) pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip, and use immediately.
* My Notes on the lovely Martha's recipe: Soft-ball technically begins at 230F, which is when I take my candy off the stove. You don't want to overcook the candy or you'll end up with a blob of hard candy in the middle of a pool of gelatin. Not pretty. I don't have piping bags, so as much as it pains me to throw something out, I use a large zip-loc type bag and once it's filled with mallow cut the tip off the bottom. Don't over cut. You can always make the hole bigger, but you can't shrink it! *
For piping instructions, visit:
Learn from my mistakes!
- Pipe quickly. The texture of the mallow will start to change and get harder to shape after a while. It's best if you have a tray with sugar waiting and pipe all of your little creatures at once.
- Check your thermometer. I've emphasized the importance of this before - but a few degrees makes a big difference with candy. You can check your thermometer in boiling water - if it reads 100 when it's boiling, it's good - if not, adjust accordingly.
- I found it tricky to make any decent shapes. Adding eyes with royal icing (the joy of baking has a good recipe) may have helped, but I figured people were going to eat these no matter what they looked like. If you want to bring these to a party or something, maybe double the batch so you have lots of practice peeps.