The thing I love about piping peeps is, every one ends up with a different attitude. Some are elegant and swan-like, some aloof, some have deep, deep self-esteem issues. It’s my piping inconsistency that does it, but what I lack in piping skill I make up for in the diverse cast of characters I create. You can almost make up a play with them right there at the dinner table.
Begin yours by placing some pink or yellow decorating sugar (the color is your choice) in the bowl of a food processor. This isn’t a crucial step, but I find pulverized sugar is easier to apply. Plus the flat, dusty consistency gives you a finish that’s truer to the original.
Now, combine your sugar and water and set it over high heat.
Combine the gelatin and cold water…
…and give it a stir.
Bring the syrup up to 238 degrees Fahrenheit as measured by your nearest available digital thermometer. Take it off the heat and let it sit for about a minute.
While you’re waiting, dump the gelatin mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip. Plop.
Add the syrup.
And picking up the whip, give the mixture a stir. Hang on, what smells like old socks? Oh right, that’s the gelatin. Don’t worry, the odor will disappear once the marshmallow starts to cool. Meantime relax and think of boiling pig skin.
Whip the mixture for 8 minutes, until it looks like this.
And does this when you dab your finger in it.
Take that dabbed finger and use the marshmallow to stick down some parchment to a sheet pan.
Now, promptly, because you don’t have just a ton of time until the marshmallow starts to set up, load a piping bag and pipe your birds. Touching the edge of the collar to the paper (you don’t need a tip for this)…
…pipe an oval-ish shape. Pull away and up as you finish to give your bird a tail.
Moving toward the front dab once…
…dab twice…pulling back slightly…
…then pull forward. Alright, that didn’t work out so well. YOU try to do this and take pictures at the same time!
Dust them with your sugar. Actually in an ideal world this would be a two-person job. One person pipes while the other one sugars, since the marshmallow starts to set up fairly quickly.
If you need to mound it all around to get to those hard-to-reach places, fine.
You can just pour the excess off. See?
Using a little black food coloring (this is one of those gels that you can get in the baking sections of supermarkets) dab on the eyes.
Let them set up about half an hour. Then, sprinkling on a little extra sugar for lubrication, gently pry them up with an icing spatula.
Eat them, decorate with them, use them for art, microwave them, roast them, put them in your coffee, make earrings out of them…these things have a thousand uses. Those of you who like stale peeps will be happy to learn that because these lack corn syrup, they’re well stale after about 36 hours…crunchy on the outside but still a little gooey on the inside. Yum!