too many words by laura lemay

Peep nation

Because I aspire to be Just Like Martha, and because doing embarrassing things and then writing about them but not making any money at it is what I am all about these days, today I made the homemade marshmallow peeps recipe in this month’s Martha Stewart Living.

It’s an easy recipe. All it involves is cooking sugar syrup for a while, adding unflavored gelatin, whipping the whole mess until it turns into marshmallow, and then piping it out into shapes with a pastry bag. Dead easy, actually, assuming that you have a kitchenaid mixer, a candy thermometer, a pastry bag with an assortment of tips, and a high tolerance for goo.

I have all these things, and it was a rainy Friday afternoon, my blood sugar was low, I figured, why not?

Early on I did decide not to attempt forming little chicks or bunnies or eggs out of the marshmallow, partially because I don’t have a #12 tip for my pastry bag (I know, I know, how DO I get by?), and mostly because my decorating skills are not quite up to par (I am not yet Martha). I figured that I could use my pastry bag without a tip and just create small egg-like shapes. Egg-like. Yeah, that was the intent.

Marshmallow, it seems, hardens up quickly, and I have a small pastry bag, so my pastry bag extrusions became rapidly less egg-like as time went on, and more, uh, oblong, shaped much less like a single mass and more, um, curled-up…..

Oh, let me be blunt. I made marshmallow poops.

But I was successful at that. After cooking up the sugar and whipping it all in the mixer, I spooned the marshmallow into my pastry bag, and piped my shapes out onto a tray. The tray had been spread with a layer of sugar beforehand. Once I was done piping I sprinkled more sugar on top. You can buy colored sugar; I used plain sugar on the bottom and the sprinkled a mix of plain and colored sugar on top because the colored sugar was expensive. I used pink.

The result? OK, they look funny. But they taste pretty great, and the texture is amazing. They are totally soft to the touch, but not sticky, and they melt right away in your mouth. I will not let these guys get stale.

Misc Notes:

  • Be prepared for odd questions from bewildered spouses (“why is there a tray full of pink turds in the kitchen?”)

  • Marshmallow is really, really sticky, and you are really, really doomed. When its warm and freshly whipped, lying in the bottom of the mixing bowl, looks white and creamy and friendly and harmless. But then when you try to scoop it up and stuff it into the pastry bag and pipe it out onto a tray, suddenly next thing you know you will have marshmallow all over the counter, on the floor, in your hair, up to your elbows, and anything you put down on the counter will have to be peeled back up again. Drop cloths are strongly recommended. Rental of a pressure washer might be advised. Put the cat away in another room.

  • Be sure to moderate your sugar high through the use of judicious carbohydrate and water consumption, to avoid a nasty crash.


(Were you looking for the actual Martha Stewart peeps recipe when you found this page? I hope you were amused by my story. Here’s a link to the recipe as your reward for reading this page. Thanks! -Laura)