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by Cora L. Diekman

Marshmallow Peeps are THE quintessential Easter treat that no respectable basket is complete without. They’re fun, colorful, and deliciously sweet and chewy. But if you’ve never made homemade peeps before, you’re in for a serious awakening that will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the marshmallow – really! The homemade version is so much more tender, flavorful, and satisfying that they bare zero resemblance to the artificial, prepackaged stuff. And the best news of all is that they’re super simple to make, no-bake, and stay fresh for days!  Let’s do this.

You Will Need:

– 3 packages unflavored gelatin – 1 ½ cups granulated sugar – 1 cup light corn syrup – ¼ tsp salt – 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract – powdered sugar – basic candy thermometer – colored sanding sugar – cookie cutters in Easter shapes

Step 1: Soften the Gelatin

Combine the gelatin and ½ cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Allow to sit while you make the syrup on the stovetop.

Step 2: Make the Syrup

But first, let’s talk about candy thermometers. There’s absolutely no need for a fancy digital thermometer here. Basic models cost under $10 and have everything you need, including a clamp for attaching to the pot and labels for the different stages (temperatures) of candy making. Plus, they are also indispensable when deep frying or making caramel, so if you don’t own one already, it’s totally worth the small investment.

To make the syrup, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup of water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the syrup reaches 240 degrees, and then promptly remove from heat.

Step 3: Whip the Marshmallow

Return to the stand mixer where your gelatin has softened, and turn on low speed. Slowly add the warm sugar syrup to the gelatin. Then turn the mixer on high and whip until the mixture is very thick and resembles marshmallow fluff, which will take about 15 minutes. Once thick, add in the vanilla, mix thoroughly, and done! You now have delicious marshmallow with endless possibilities!

Step 4: Allow to Set

In order to create those adorable shapes, the marshmallow will need to firm up. Generously dust an 8×12 inch glass baking dish with LOTS of powdered sugar and pour the marshmallow mixture inside, smoothing out the top. Sprinkle with another layer of powdered sugar, and allow to stand uncovered overnight.

Step 5: Make Fun Shapes!

Once the marshmallow has dried out a bit, it can be turned out onto a surface for cutting. To prevent any sticking, dust your surface with more powdered sugar before you begin. Running a butter knife along the edge of the pan will help release the marshmallow, but if it still doesn’t pop out at once, no worries. Just leave the pan sitting upside down and it will slowly release itself. Cut out shapes with the cookie cutters of your choice — chicks and bunnies are obvious Easter favs. To create that glistening sugar coating, dust a bit of the powdered sugar off, wet your finger with a small amount of water and dampen the outside of the marshmallows before dunking into colored sanding sugar. (Colored sugar can be found at baking supply and craft stores, but no need for a special shopping trip — it can also be made by adding food coloring to regular granulated sugar.)

So Many Possibilities!

We’re betting that you’ll find yourself making this recipe again and again since it can be customized in so many ways. Marshmallow can be flavored with practically anything, from peppermint to coconut to rosewater. For traditional marshmallow shapes, skip the cookie cutters and slice into fluffy cubes using a sharp knife. Add a bit of food coloring to your marshmallow mix to create beautiful pastel shades. Or add texture AND tons of flavor by swapping the powdered sugar coating for toasted coconut flakes. Pile your marshmallows high atop a decorative cake plate, or wrap them in individual glassine bags for giftable treats.  The possibilities are endless!

Basic marshmallow recipe inspired by Ina Garten’s Homemade Marshmallows.