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How to Make Peeps

How to Make Peeps

Dominique Ansel shares his recipe for the classic marshmallow treat

Ali Rosen

Peeps

There’s no denying that most people love Peeps. When spring comes around, adults and children alike can’t get enough of the sugar and marshmallow creations. So James Beard Award nominee Dominique Ansel of the Dominique Ansel Bakery has come up with his own twist on Peeps — and he thinks they are easy enough to make at home.

His have a unique twist — they come in egg shells that have had the tops cut off, and he fills them with caramel. The methodology is easy enough to fill them with whatever you like; the true trick is in making the marshmallow at home. So watch the video above to see the full process of making homemade Peeps. Click here to see the recipe, or if you want your Peeps from the pros, you can head over and get them from Dominique Ansel himself!


Make Your Own Peeps and Put the Easter Bunny Out of Business

Our senior video producer, Guillermo Riveros, learned how to make homemade Peeps from chef Michelle Doll at NY Cake last year, and we’re bringing the lesson back into the spotlight just in time for Easter. It’s surprisingly easy (you can even get kids involved in the process), and these marshmallow chicks are delicious—even if you don’t normally like Peeps.

Not only do you know exactly what’s in these Easter treats (mostly gelatin, sugar, and water zero preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup), you can make them in any color and flavor you want.

Scroll down for the recipe, plus a few notes on getting ready and making variations so you get exactly what you want in your Easter basket this year!

Piping Technique

Before modern mechanical industrialization made it possible to churn out millions of Peeps per day, each marshmallow chick was piped by hand, so you’re reviving an old tradition here, really. Peep the video (sorry had to) for a demonstration of how to pipe the classic marshmallow chick shape. It may take a couple tries to get the hang of it, but it’s not that difficult—unless your marshmallow is too runny when you start. If so, wait a minute or two before trying again, because it will start to set and hold its shape (but don’t wait too long or it will become too hard to pipe).

If you prefer bunny-shaped Peeps (or are hopeless at piping shapes), you can set the marshmallows in silicone molds that have been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, or even use cookie cutters as molds, in which case, the possibilities for your Peeps are practically endless.

Wilton Easter Bunny Shaped Silicone Mold, $4.99 at Target

Partial to bunnies? There's a mold for that.

5-Inch Bunny Cookie Cutter, $2.99 at NY Cake

Or go for more realistic rabbits.

Color and Flavor Variations

The basic homemade Peeps recipe below calls for a little vanilla for a classic marshmallow flavor, but you can swap it out for the extract of your choice. Take a cue from commercial Peeps, which come in flavors like Cotton Candy, Pancakes & Syrup, and Fruit Punch, or try banana or almond extract, or even rose water or orange blossom water for a refined floral treat. If you want your Peeps to be even brighter in color, you can also add a few drops of gel food coloring to the marshmallow mixture during the whipping process.

Even better, add a dry powder like matcha or freeze-dried fruit powder, which lend vibrant color without any additional moisture, plus extra flavor. Then roll your Peeps in coordinating sanding sugar for extra oomph—or keep them pretty and pastel, perfect for spring.

DIY Sanding Sugar

Half the fun of Peeps is the rainbow of shades they come in and that shimmery finish thanks to their colored sugar coating. When you make them at home, you can choose whatever hues you like best. Sanding sugar is available in tons of vibrant colors, but it can get expensive to buy depending on the store (and how many colors you want), so you can also make your own—way cheaper, and more fun. Just add 4-5 drops of gel food coloring to a cup or two of regular granulated sugar and blitz it in the food processor until the color is evenly distributed throughout.

Michelle recommends gel food coloring to cut down on the amount of liquid you’re adding, which can make the sugar clump. Spread it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and dry it in a 250-degree oven for about 10 minutes. (This is also a great tip when it comes time for Christmas sugar cookie baking sessions and you’re low on red sugar or need that perfect shade of green for the trees…)

Yellow Sanding Sugar, $3.99 at NY Cake

For that classic Peeps look.

AmeriColor Gel Paste Food Coloring Student Kit, 12 for $25 on Amazon

Put store-bought Peeps to shame.

Special Equipment

You’ll need a piping bag and a stand mixer to make these marshmallow Peeps.

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, $229 at Walmart

Perfect for all kinds of kitchen jobs.

Kootek Frosting Tools Set with Piping Tips and Bags, 42 pieces for $11.99 on Amazon

Pipe your Peeps (and lots else, from macarons to cake frosting).

A candy thermometer is also helpful, though you can always try the manual soft ball stage test if you have experience making candy (and are brave enough to dip your hands into molten sugar—and remember to numb them in ice water first).

CDN Candy Thermometer, $9.99 at NY Cake

For the classic Peeps look.

Commercial Peeps’ eyes are dotted on with carnauba wax, which is non-toxic, edible, and plant-based, but also shows up in things like car polish and isn’t technically digestible. For your homemade Peeps, you can simply use a toothpick or tiny paintbrush to dot a little black food coloring or even melted chocolate on for facial features. Or break out the edible markers.

Wilton FoodWriter Extra-Fine Tip Edible Color Markers, 5 for $8.14 on Amazon

Edible ink makes these markers suitable for writing on your food.

Now that you know what you need, here’s how to put it all together:

Homemade Marshmallow Peeps Recipe


How to Make Marshmallow Peeps from Scratch

It's easier than it looks to whip up these sweet chicks and bunnies at home. Coat them with sugar, chocolate, or coconut -- you can't go wrong!

Making marshmallow from scratch may seem daunting, but while the task is exacting, it isn&apost complicated, and you can be sure everyone will marvel at your chick, bunny, and flower creations -- in between bites!

Marshmallow is a timed combination of sugar and water with gelatin, which long ago replaced the mucilaginous root of the marshmallow plant. Sugar cooked to soft-ball stage (238 degrees) and mixed with softened gelatin and other flavors or food coloring is quickly piped onto a bed of sugar or cornstarch. Then the treats are coated with grainy sanding sugar, which comes in colors or can be custom-colored with luster dust or sparkle dust. We also used brown sugar, dark and milk chocolate, angel flake and macaroon coconut (great for making nests and bunnies), and royal icing. Bakery suppliers sell all the ingredients the basics can be found in a supermarket. It&aposs time to stock up and start piping!

SUGAR-COATED BUNNIES AND CHICKS

A convoy of marshmallow bunnies travels a sugared path through a meadow of flaked coconut, which has been colored green with luster dust. To give bunnies a fluffy texture, coat in untoasted macaroon coconut instead of sanding sugar. You can also use the same base recipe to whip up a batch of chicks they just require a different piping technique.

CHOCOLATE-COATED MARSHMALLOW CHICKS

Tempering chocolate is the key to these decadent peeps. You can use dark chocolate or milk chocolate, or better yet, make a batch of both. Pair with a clutch of sugared chicks and have them guard a nest of jelly-bean eggs.

FLAT MARSHMALLOW BUNNIES, CHICKS, AND FLOWERS

The ultimate Easter party favor! The flat shape makes these marshmallow candies ideal for packaging. Wrap them up in boxes lined with parchment paper.


Strawberry & Cream Croissant French Toast For Your Weekend Brunch

Those with a creative eye know firsthand that inspiration is all around us. Whether you're energized by the earth tones of nature, a color-filled walk through a local farmer's market, or even by a quick scroll through Instagram, you never know what might spark a new creative project.

In the spirit of inspiring your next masterpiece, we're excited to partner with Bounty to fuel the next generation of artists and designers forward by launching a national design competition. We're calling on graphic designers to apply for a chance to see their work featured on a new Brit + Co and Bounty paper towel collection, set to launch in 2022.

Aside from the incredible exposure of having your illustrations on paper towels that'll be in stores across America next year, you'll also receive $5,000 for your art a scholarship for Selfmade, our 10-week entrepreneurship accelerator to take your design career to the next level (valued at $2,000) and a stand alone feature on Brit + Co spotlighting your artistry as a creator.

The Creatively You Design Competition launches Friday, May 21, 2021 and will be accepting submissions through Monday, June 7, 2021.

APPLY NOW

Who Should Apply: Women-identifying graphic designers and illustrators. (Due to medium limitations, we're not currently accepting design submissions from photographers or painters.)

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How To Enter: Apply here, where you'll be asked to submit 2x original design files you own the rights to for consideration. Acceptable file formats include: .PNG, .JPG, .GIF, .SVG, .PSD, and .TIFF. Max file size 5GB. We'll also ask about your design inspiration and your personal info so we can keep in touch.

Artist Selection Process: Panelists from Brit + Co and P&G Bounty's creative teams will judge the submissions and select 50 finalists on June 11, 2021 who will receive a Selfmade scholarship for our summer 2021 session. Then, up to 8 artists will be selected from the finalists and notified on June 18, 2021. The chosen designers will be announced publicly in 2022 ahead of the product launch.

For any outstanding contest Qs, please see our main competition page. Good luck & happy creating!


How Make Edible Playdough with Peeps

Kids can actually make this edible peeps playdough recipe on their own – it’s super easy! The hardest thing for me was getting the coconut oil since we didn’t already have that in the house. Here’s the process. Be sure to print the recipe card for exact times and details!

First, microwave the peeps with some coconut oil.

Second, you mix in the powdered sugar and blend for two minutes.

Third, if the dough is still sticky you add additional powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.

Finally, store the play dough in a zipper bag for 3 or 4 days.

That’s it! You will have edible play dough in less than three minutes per color. Give your child some cookie cutters, dough rollers or other play dough tools and let them play.


Stove-top directions:

  • Begin to melt the butter in a medium-large saucepan set over low heat.
  • Add the marshmallow Peeps and stir occasionally until about 75% of the marshmallows have melted.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir, smashing the marshmallows, until melted and smooth.
  • Use the process listed above to create the multi-color rice crispy bars.

NOTE: See our How to Make Rice Krispie Treats FAQ page for more tips and tricks for making perfect cereal treats.


Easter Bird Nests

These playful nests, topped with candy eggs and marshmallow peeps, are a fun recipe for kids to help with! If you don’t want to use chow mein noodles to make the nests, you can substitute an equal amount of cereal (fiber twigs, cornflakes, and crisped rice all work well.)


Things to consider when making Peeps Popcorn Balls:

  • If you plan to make these at a time of year when Peeps are not on store shelves, then you can swap out traditional marshmallows for the Peeps and use food coloring to color the popcorn balls or sprinkle in some colored sugar if you’d like the added sweetness.
  • Butter your hands when forming the balls so the popcorn won’t stick.
  • Allow the marshmallow coated popcorn to cool slightly before handling, but don’t get too distracted while waiting and allow the popcorn to sit for a long time or the popcorn may harden too much and make it difficult to make your Peeps Popcorn Balls.

Other fun treats you can make using Peeps:

Peeps S’mores – Melt chocolate and Peeps in between two graham crackers to make a quick and easy Easter dessert.

Peeps Cupcakes – These cupcakes are filled, topped, and decorated with Peeps.

Chocolate Peeps Pops – Chocolate dipped Peeps make great Easter basket fillers.


The Science of Peeps Slime

Easter slime recipes are about more than just having fun with stretchy, slimy slime. Slime is a wonderful way to help children foster a love of science and chemistry.

While traditional slime is formed when a chemical reaction between materials in the glue and the boron in the laundry starch or borax, edible slime is different.

Traditional slime is made when a reaction alters the chemical bond of the materials, combining them into long polymer chains. This process is similar to how most flexible plastics are made today.

Peeps slime is a little different. Heat is used to melt the marshmallows, then corn starch is added to reduce stickiness so you can play with and stretch your slime! The polymer chains in the marshmallows keep it super stretchy, and kids will absolutely LOVE the process of making a Peeps slime recipe.

We make a Peeps slime recipe because it’s a fun way to combine science and sensory experiences with Easter, and you can eat it, too!

Slime is also wonderful for kiddos who are sensory seeking, particularly for kids with SPD, autism, and ADHD.


How To Make Marshmallow Peeps

Yield Makes about 12 Peeps

  • alcohol-free
  • egg-free
  • fish-free
  • peanut-free
  • shellfish-free
  • gluten-free
  • wheat-free
  • soy-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • red-meat-free
  • Calories 298
  • Fat 1.0 g (1.6%)
  • Saturated 0.6 g (3.0%)
  • Carbs 73.4 g (24.5%)
  • Fiber 0.0 g (0.0%)
  • Sugars 72.4 g
  • Protein 1.9 g (3.7%)
  • Sodium 176.8 mg (7.4%)

Ingredients

To make the marshmallows:

unflavored gelatin (I used 3 Knox gelatin envelopes)

To decorate the Peeps:

Butter for greasing pans (and your fingers)

Equipment

cake pans (or a pie pan or sheet pan would do fine)

Instructions

Prepare the pans: Lightly grease two pans or one larger one and pour the marshmallow into the pans and set aside.

"Bloom" the gelatin: Place the contents of the three gelatin envelopes in the bottom of the bowl of the stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside while preparing the next part of the recipe.

Prepare the sugar syrup: In a medium-sized pot, heat the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla over high heat. When mixture has come to a full rolling boil, stop stirring, but swirl the pan occasionally by the handle. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot and let the mixture heat to 240°F. This will take about 7 minutes.

Carefully whisk the sugar syrup into the gelatin: Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer. With the mixer on medium speed, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl. When all the syrup has been added, pour in another 1/2 cup of water.

Increase speed to high and beat for 12 to 15 minutes: After 5 minutes, the mixture will be opaque, but still very liquidy. After 10 minutes, the marshmallow has started to come together, but is still a bit soft. After 12 to 15 minutes, the marshmallows are thick, fairly stiff, and ready.

Add food coloring: I divided my marshmallow into 2 parts, for 2 colors. It took about 12 to 15 drops of food coloring to achieve the pale pastel color I wanted.

Transfer the marshmallow into prepared pans. This is a very messy, sticky job! It can help to grease your fingers and also have a spare plate or tray nearby to set your utensils down.

Let the marshmallow set for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Turn out the marshmallow blocks onto a flat surface: When you're ready to make the Peeps, just turn the marshmallow out onto a flat surface and gather the cookie cutters.

Cut out your Peeps: Combine a little cornstarch and powdered sugar and dredge the cookie cutters in between cuts to make things smoother and less sticky.

Apply the sanding sugar: Dip your finger into a little water and coat the entire marshmallow. Dredge the marshmallow carefully in colorful sanding sugar. Let air dry on a cooling rack.

Make the Peep eyes: Use a little dab of corn syrup and a few smoked sesame seeds to create eyes on your creatures. I found a tip of a toothpick worked perfectly to apply the corn syrup and sesame seeds.

Enjoy your Peeps: Wrap up with cellophane, tie with a ribbon, and delight your friends. Peeps will keep in an airtight container for about a week.