Week 15 - Homemade Peeps and Jelly Candy
Since week 15 was Easter Week, I decided to make homepage marshmallow "Peeps" and candy called "Jello Jellies" from the cookbook "The Holiday Candy Book" by Virginia Pasley, published in 1952.
This little book is one I picked up at an antique store a few years ago but have never used. Unlike most of my cookbooks, this one contains no photos and only a few black and white illustrations throughout. Normally this would make me think twice about picking it up, but I loved the design of the front cover and the illustration on the end papers. It is full of different candy recipes with very clear and thought out instructions.
Last year I made Peeps, from a different marshmallow recipe, but wanted to try the one from this book to see if the results were closer to the store-bought kind. Since they only call for sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, water and vanilla, marshmallows are extremely easy to make. The biggest challenge is having to beat the mixture for 15 minutes. Before it fully set up, the mixture had the look and consistency of Marshmallow Fluff. I couldn't resist spreading a little bit on a piece of bread, with some peanut butter to make a Fluffernutter.
To make the Peeps themselves, I spooned the warm marshmallow mixture into a disposable piping bag. I piped the bodies of the Peeps and then the heads onto a blanket of yellow-dyed sugar and then spooned sugar over the top to cover them completely. I made the eyes by mixing a little cocoa powder with some water and applying with a toothpick. The marshmallow is extremely sticky and sets up really fast so by the end there seemed to be marshmallow fingerprints all over the kitchen.
Chris thought they looked more like turkeys than chicks and they weren't as puffy as I would have liked but the taste was very similar, if not a little better, than the store-bought ones. They are very easy to make but I still want to find a recipe that doesn't set up quite so quickly and puffs up a bit more. I would absolutely use this recipe to make regular marshmallows, as the flavor is superior to any you can buy.
I also wanted to try another candy recipe from this book, so decided on "Jello Jellies". They are basically gumdrops made with sugar, packaged Jello, water and cornstarch. They were easy to make but cooking them on the stove seemed to take forever. Once the mixture was done cooking and had cooled a bit, I poured it into flower-shaped silicone molds. Once they set and I pulled them from the molds, I rolled them in granulated sugar.
The resulting jellies were softer than gumdrops, but the flavor was very good. I used strawberry flavored Jello for my jellies because that is the flavor I happened to have on hand. If I had more time, I would have liked to make multiple flavors. The silicone molds I used were not the best choice. While the flower shapes are great for molding chocolate, they had too many nooks and crannies that made de-molding the candy a bit difficult. If I were to make these again, I'd try and find some gumdrop-shaped molds or just spoon the mixture out onto a greased cookie sheet, as they say to do in the recipe.
We were pleased with how the candies came out, but I would probably only make them once a year. Although I love candy, I don't love making it. It can be finicky and tedious and working with molten sugar means you are always seconds away from third degree burns.
Cookbook: "The Holiday Candy Book" by Virginia Pasley, published in 1952
Recipe: Marshmallow Peeps and Jello Jellies
Difficulty: Not hard, but can be messy
Alterations: I turned the marshmallow recipe in to Peeps
Results: Very good
Make Again: Yes, but not often