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Strawberry Earl Grey Homemade Peeps

yield: 24 bunny peeps, but it depends on your cookie cutter
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Special Equipment

  • A food processor
  • a candy thermometer (preferably digital — I love this CDN one)
  • bunny cookie cutters

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1.5 ounces freeze dried strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cold water, divided into two 1/2-cup portions
  • 3 1/4- ounce envelopes (0.75 ounces) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (6 fluid ounces) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • colored sanding sugar (see baker's notes)

Instructions

For the Strawberry and Earl Grey Marshmallow Base

  • Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by spraying liberally with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Sift a small amount evenly across the baking pan, and set aside the rest.
  • Combine 1.5 ounces freeze dried strawberries and 1 tablespoon loose Earl Grey tea leaves in a food processor. Pulse repeatedly until all the strawberries and tea leaves have crushed into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • Pour 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle 3 envelopes powdered gelatin over the water, and give the mixture a quick whisk to make sure all the gelatin granules are wet. Let stand until the gelatin softens and absorbs water, at least 15 minutes.
  • While the gelatin is blooming, combine 2 cups granulated sugar, 2/3 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup water in a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, scraping down the sides of the pan. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring the syrup to a boil. Boil without stirring until the syrup reaches 240 (F). When the syrup reaches 240 (F), immediately pour the syrup into a liquid measuring cup.
  • Turn on the mixer to its lowest speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the mixer bowl with the gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl — avoid pouring the syrup onto the whisk, as it may splash and send boiling syrup everywhere! Once the syrup is completely added, gradually increase the mixer speed to its highest setting and beat until the mixture is very thick and stiff, about 15 minutes. In the last minute, add the strawberry and Earl Grey powder (from the 2nd step) and continue whisking for another minute, until the mixture is a pale pink color.
  • Scrape the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan, using a wet offset spatula to smooth the top — this is probably the most difficult part of the recipe as the marshmallow mixture is going to be incredibly sticky. It really helps if your spatula is wet! It's also not the world's biggest deal if the mixture isn't perfectly smooth — you're going to end up inverting the marshmallow block.
  • Sift a generous dusting of the cornstarch and powdered sugar mixture (from the 1st step) over the marshmallow mixture and let stand uncovered at room temperature until firm, about 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

For the Sugar Coated Peeps

  • Once the marshmallow base has dried out and firmed up, prepare your work surface by sifting a generous dusting of the remaining cornstarch and powdered sugar mixture. Coat your cookie cutters with a generous layer of cooking spray.
  • Run a butter knife along the edges of the marshmallow in the pan, and turn the marshmallow slab out onto the mixture. Use your cookie cutters to stamp out marshmallow shapes. Toss each in a bowl of sanding sugar, making sure that all sticky surfaces are covered. Transfer marshmallows to a wire rack, shaking off any excess sugar.

Notes

Adapted from Bon Appetit