Just in time for Easter fresh Marshmallow Baby Chicks. I’m not a big marshmallow person but I used to always eat those store bought Peeps until I was overloaded on sugar. For years I have heard how delicious homemade marshmallows are so with 3 grandchildren I thought I would give them a special treat and make the little chicks for them. I scoured web pages and got hints on how to work with the sticky, gooey mess once you had it made and then went into the kitchen with my very helpful husband and gave it a whirl. This is my test run so I could prepare the blog article before Easter and perfect the process for presenting to the kids.
I went to the Peeps website today in search of the ingredients and while it’s a fun little website I could not find them listed. I did find them on other websites using my google search. While they contain the regular ingredients in my recipe they also contain preservatives, artificial color and flavor, and Carnauba Wax for the eyes. And when these little chicks for Easter start coming out right after Valentine’s Day you have to wonder how old they are when you eat them.
I used the standard marshmallow recipe posted everyone on the web with one exception. Instead of adding a teaspoon of vanilla I added freeze-dried fruit powder. You can use any flavor you like. The strawberry gives a nice color and flavor. Adjust the amount to your taste.
My biggest warning in attempting this recipe is to have two people. And make sure one of you has good hand strength for piping the marshmallow. This is always when I call my husband into the kitchen to help me.
I am also giving you all the detail and pictures from the steps we took along the way.
Yield: approximately 1 1/2 pounds, about 4 dozen baby chicks
Place some oil in a small bowl and have a pastry brush ready.
Prepare the sheets for piping the marshmallow on by oiling them or spraying them with cooking spray. Make sure you place them on baking sheets or cutting boards so you have a hard surface under them to move them around.
I used the Wilton 2A for the baby chicks and to fill the mold and Wilton 22 to make ridged kisses. I had the Wilton 2D out but did not use it for anything. It would probably make a large kiss.
Oil the blades of your kitchen shears to prevent sticking when cutting the marshmallow.
Oil your spatula or metal spoon. I used the Trudeau 10-inch Silicone Spatula but feel something with an even firmer edge would be easier to get the marshmallow out of the bowl and into the piping bag.
Use a heavy saucepan with a lid and balance your thermometer on the side so that it doesn’t touch the bottom. Place the lid on, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. This will prevent the sugar from crystallizing on the side of the pan. Do not stir the mixture.
Place over medium high heat, clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cover and allow to cook cook until the mixture reaches 240°F/115°C. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
(This is a picture of sugar syrup being poured into a meringue on a previous occasion. I didn’t get being poured into the gelatin this time around.)
Increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. If you decide to use vanilla for flavoring, add 1 teaspoon during the last minute of whipping.
To fill your piping bag drape the opening over your hand and spoon about half the mixture into the bag. Use the edge of your fingers holding the bag to scrape the marshmallow off the spoon. Only use about half the marshmallow mixture to fill the bag. Even if it all fits in your bag there will be too much of the stiff mixture to pipe out with any control.
Cover the remaining mixture with plastic wrap to retain some moisture while piping the first half. I actually keep a stack of shower caps in my kitchen for covering they bowls because they’re easy to slip on and off.
If you want to try filling a candy mold do this part first while the marshmallow is still soft. It gets stiffer as it cools off. Squeeze the marshmallow into the well of the candy mold.
When filled place the oiled parchment over the back and press down to get the marshmallow into the grooves. I had a sea shell candy mold from some previous use so I piped into this.
To make the kiss, squeeze the marshmallow out of the bag and pull it up away from the paper. When you quit squeezing and pull up and away you could get lucky and the marshmallow could break off in a string and make the little curl on the top.
We used the Wilton 22 tip for this. It is smaller and easier to get a finished point. It took us several tries to get it right and we did this before anything else so the marshmallow was still warm.
This, however, could be when you need your oiled kitchen shears. If the marshmallow doesn’t break for you just reach in there and cut it.
I managed to get a short video of our attempts at piping the baby chicks.
Push the piping bag down toward the paper and move toward the front. Apply enough pressure to squeeze out a wider body then let the pressure on the bag up, pull it toward the tail and back forward to make the head shape.
We did a few rows of them without breaking the marshmallow in-between so the beak and the tail were connected between the chicks.
They stuck well to the paper when applied and did not give us any difficulty removing.
We also piped one on a silicone pad with nothing on it. When cool it released easily.
I then set my trays of marshmallows out of the way so they wouldn’t get damaged in the kitchen. A few trays fit in the oven for storage.
The next morning I boxed my marshmallows up to be tasted by the outside world. My vets office is great at taking my experiments. They take such good care of my cats I love to send them the treats.
I lined a bakery box with a piece of parchment paper. I removed the peeps from the paper they had been on and sort of dabbed the sides, front and back in some of the dusting powder on the paper. If you have marshmallows connected like we did just take your kitchen shears and wet them to cut them apart.
I took a tiny paintbrush (no wax for me) and painted little eyes on the chicks. This is when they really came to life for me. They didn’t look so much like little blobs any more.
Next time I will oil and dust the mold a little better. However, tugging the marshmallow out after they were cool did not really mess up their shape.
Oh, and the flavor. Phenomenal! These are smooth and silky and melt in your mouth.
Alternatives for shaping marshmallows:
For regular marshmallows in a baking pan:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Prep Time: 35 min
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr
Cook Time: 10 min