I've been wanting to make marshmallows for at least a few months, if not longer. I saw beautiful marshmallows pop up on many other blogs and I couldn't get over how fluffy & pretty they looked. I planned to make them during my Christmas baking, and ran out of time. I recently saw some home made Peeps that Martha Stewart had made and put them on my baking list for this weekend. They almost got skipped over again due to time constraints, but I was able to fit them in at the last minute. These are so easy to make - they hardly take any time at all. The taste is so worth it, too. Make sure to use a good vanilla or other flavoring, as that will really shine through.
from Martha Stewart
1 cup sugar
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1 tsp of vanilla or other flavoring
Mix 1/3 cup cold water with a packet of unflavored gelatin in a bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 5 minutes. While you are waiting for the gelatin to bloom, combine 1/4 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar and water are combined and they come to a boiler. Let boil without stirring. Using a candy thermometer, let the mixture boil until it reaches 238 degrees (soft ball). Once the sugar mixture reaches 238, shut the heat off. Add the sugar syrup to the gelatin mixture, and stir with the whisk attachment for a few minutes. Once fully combined and slightly cool, add the flavoring of your choice, then mix on medium high for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy and forms stiff peaks.
You'll want to use the mixture immediately, so while it's mixing, prepare a piping bag (or gallon sized freezer bag) with a piping tip. Transfer the mixture to the bag and pipe onto a baking sheet generously sprinkled with sanding or white sugar. Pipe into shapes of your choice, sprinkling with sugar after piping each shape.
To make the "Peep" shape, I used a Wilton #12 tip and piped an oval, then added a head and tail. It takes some practice, but they'll eventually being to resemble little chicks.
The marshmallows will set up after 15-20 minutes. Store in an airtight container.