I’m not sure why marshmallows feel like Easter candy to me (well, Easter candy or a hot chocolate garnish). Maybe it’s because they’re light and springy? Or is it really just because of Peeps?
I’m not sure I’d have the patience for homemade Peeps, and even if I did I’d be worried they would turn out like one of those comical Pinterest fails. Basically, I’ve made marshamallows before and I have my doubts about successfully piping warm marshmallow goo into the shape of a cute little chick.
But cookie cutters I can handle.
I bought these mini animal cookie cutters before I even knew what I wanted to do with them. I’d love to try my hand at homemade animal crackers down the line, but with Easter rapidly approaching I picked marshmallows as my first project.
Like I said, I’ve made marshmallows before, but this time I tried out a new-to-me recipe from one of my cookbooks, excited about the addition of honey. Aaaaand I totally bombed it. So, I switched gears and went with the tried-and-true: Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s recipes never fail me and her banana bread is a regular treat in our household. (I just made it yesterday, in fact!)
If you want to make classic square versions go to the marshmallow recipe on Smitten Kitchen, but below I’ve halved the volumes and made some slight changes, including the measurement of gelatin and baking dish size. If you’ve never made marshmallows before, fear not! Read through the instructions first, get all your ingredients out and measured, and then execution is actually pretty painless.
These marshmallows are a nice addition to an Easter basket but are also great spring treats more generally. We used this batch to top some simple cupcakes. I used this vanilla cake recipe to make 9 regular cupcakes, and once they cooled dipped them in a glaze of powdered sugar and milk, then finally topped them with sweetened coconut and a colorful animal marshmallow.
Homemade Easter Marshmallows
barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
about 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water, divided use
1 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 large egg white
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
liquid or gel food coloring
1. Spray two 8×8 square baking dishes with nonstick spray, then coat with a thin layer of powdered sugar using a sifter or sieve. Add 1/2 c of the water to the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle with the gelatin to soften.
2. Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/4 c water in a small saucepan over medium heat until translucent. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until a candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F. Pour into the stand mixer bowl and stir until the gelatin dissolves.
3. Fit the mixer with a whisk attachment and beat the gelatin mixture until white and tripled in volume. Meanwhile, beat the egg white in a separate bowl using a handheld mixer fitted with whisk attachments just until it holds stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla. Add the egg whites to the gelatin mixture in the stand mixer and beat until just combined.
4. Pour about half the contents of the stand mixer into another bowl. Stir in food coloring into the mixer bowl and second bowl (I used pink in one and yellow in the other) until desired color is reached. Pour each into its own prepared baking dish, dust with powdered sugar, and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
5. Use lightly oiled cookie cutters (I used a rabbit and a duck) to cut shapes from the marshmallow. Toss with some powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together. Serve on their own or atop cupcakes.