Chicks With Something to Peep About

The New York Times published a recipe for homemade Peeps so, considering the season and how well it goes with Little Chicken’s Big Day, how could I not share it with you?!

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Published: April 15, 2011
AT Easter time, when the shops erupt in a pastel frenzy of chocolate bunnies, candy eggs and marshmallow chicks, I try hard to resist. Unless I’m buying an artisanal rabbit made from single-origin chocolate, most of the confections look a lot better than they taste.
The most cloying offenders are fluffy marshmallow chicks, which don’t actually taste like anything beyond a tooth-aching sugary burst. (Although after they’ve aged, unwrapped, for a few days, the sugar coating does harden into a pleasingly gritty crust.)
So of all the D.I.Y. projects I’ve contemplated, nothing could be more apropos than making my own Easter chicks.
I had already developed a recipe for homemade marshmallows that was not only airy and light, but also had a complex flavor from substituting good, fragrant honey for the bland corn syrup.
The only problem was the color: my marshmallows are white. Every toddler on our playground knows chicks are yellow and Easter bunnies are, of course, pink. A few drops of food coloring massaged into a sugar coating would help, but if I wanted my candy to really stand apart, I could tint it with something that tasted good, too.
A small pinch of ground saffron, I hoped, would give a faint yellow cast while adding an earthy, spicy note to my chicks, and pomegranate juice would put the pink in my bunnies’ cheeks along with a tart and fruity nuance.
Both recipes were hits with the under-3 crowd and their parents, particularly after I let the critters age unwrapped for a few days to stiffen up.
Then I started spinning out variations, trying grape juice for lavender marshmallow Easter eggs sprinkled with dark green sanding sugar for a sparkling contrast.
And for something even more intense, I added matcha powder to make green tea marshmallows with a bracing bitter note. I spooned this verdant fluff over a shortbread cookie crust, then topped it with candied ginger for a vaguely s’mores-inspired bar cookie with a much more exotic flavor.
It made a nice moss-hued pasture for my sugared animals to graze. I’ll bet they would have even enjoyed the taste.

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