Whether you enjoy eating them or not, everyone loves to see these brightly-colored marshmallow chicks hit the shelves each spring. And although the throwback candies are fun to swipe up en masse in their stale, cellophane-wrapped state, having recently tried these fresh-made Peeps by pastry chef Christina Olufson we are ruined for store-bought Peeps for life!
Christina whips up desserts for some of our favorite restaurants in town as pastry chef for Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s much-celebrated Tavern, Lucques and A.O.C. She’s responsible for everything from the insane, pistachio-covered Blood Orange Vacherin at A.O.C. to the bacon-laced sticky buns behind the glass at the larder just beyond Tavern’s gorgeous dining room.
On display in Tavern’s larder, tucked in alongside chocolate hazelnut torte, piles of pain au chocolat and pastel-colored easter egg cookies, Christina’s handmade Peeps take on a whole other feel. If you’re looking to take your classic childhood cravings to the next level, give Christina’s incredibly fun and sticky recipe a try and wow your Easter dinner guests this weekend. The chicks may not be raw or vegan – they’re sugarbombs to be sure – but these Peeps are gluten-free and may be just the fun touch a young gluten-free child needs to celebrate the holiday in a special way. Whatever your excuse, find a way to enjoy these gooey soft spring treats this weekend – make them at home in all their honey-drenched glory or mosey on by Tavern for a few of Christina’s very own!
Chef Christina’s Honey-Marshmallow “Peeps” Recipe
Two baking sheets
Kitchen Aid mixer with bowl and whisk attachment
Piping bag with round tip
2 Tbsp or 3/4 oz powdered gelatin
2/3 cup water, cold
12 oz sugar
6 oz invert sugar, such as corn syrup or glucose
3 1/2 oz honey (I prefer something mild, like orange blossom or wildflower honey — from the Santa Monica farmer’s market, of course!)
2 cups water
2 tsp vanilla extract
Colored sanding sugar, as needed
Place 2/3 cup cold water in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over the top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to “bloom,” or activate.
Place 2 cups water in a pot with sugar, invert sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Continue to cook the sugar mixture to 260 F (measured with a candy thermometer), then pour over gelatin mixture.
Whip sugar/gelatin mixture on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until the marshmallow begins to get light and fluffy.
Turn up the speed of the mixer and continue to whip for 2 minutes, or until the marshmallow holds a “ribbon” when folded over itself. It will still be warm to the touch. Stir in vanilla extract.
Place into prepared piping bag, fitted with a plain round tip (I use #806).
Place sanding sugars onto baking trays and spread into an even layer — this will prevent the marshmallows from sticking to the tray.
Pipe the marshmallow into desired shapes. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes, then completely coat each marshmallow in colored sugar.