Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies

Marshmallow is a springy, sticky treat worthy of being eaten all year. But when that marshmallow is molded in the cheery shapes of pink bunnies and yellow chicks, it screams springtime and Easter baskets. These are softer marshmallow creatures than classic Peeps, but that's their charm: They give and squish, and their colored-sugar coating is crunchy in all the best ways. By Scott Hocker for Food Network Kitchen
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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 5 hr (includes drying time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: about 25 chicks and 15 bunnies
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Ingredients

Directions

Special equipment:
1/2-inch pastry tip; large piping bag; 2 1/2-inch bunny-shaped cookie cutter
  1. Spread 3/4 cup of the pink sanding sugar in the bottom of an 8-inch square pan. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper and cover it sparsely with 1/3 cup of the yellow sanding sugar. Prepare a piping bag with a 1/2-inch pastry tip.
  2. Pour 2/3 cup of cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the powdered gelatin on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.  
  3. Put the granulated sugar and 1/2 cup cold water in a small pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot, bring the mixture to a boil and boil until the thermometer registers 238 degrees F, about 8 minutes. Brush the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush if sugar crystals stick to the sides as the syrup boils.  
  4. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl with the gelatin and whisk the mixture by hand for a few minutes to cool it slightly. Then, using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 9 to 11 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix for another 30 seconds.  
  5. Put half of the mixture (about 2 cups) into a large bowl. Add about 5 drops of pink gel food coloring and gently fold with a rubber spatula to combine and until no streaks remain. Scrape into the prepared 8-inch square pan and spread into a smooth, even layer. Let sit at least 4 hours, uncovered, so the marshmallow stiffens.  
  6. Add about 5 drops yellow gel food coloring to the remaining marshmallow in the stand mixer, gently folding with a rubber spatula to combine. Transfer the yellow marshmallow to the prepared piping bag. Pipe a chick shape (about 2 1/2-inches long) on the prepared baking sheet by beginning piping close to you, pulling away from you to begin making the chick's body, then doubling back toward yourself. When you reach the end of the body nearest you, double back a bit to make the head, pulling away to create the beak. Repeat, keeping about an inch between the chicks. Let sit at least 4 hours, uncovered, so the marshmallow chicks stiffen.  
  7. To coat the bunnies in sugar: Put the remaining 1/2 cup pink sanding sugar in a medium bowl. Heat a saucepan filled with a couple inches of water to just under a boil, then turn off the heat. Dip the unrimmed edge of a 2 1/2-inch bunny-shaped cookie cutter into the warm water, then press the cutter into one corner of the marshmallow, creating a bunny marshmallow. Nudge the cut bunny out of the cutter and into the bowl filled with pink sanding sugar. Toss the cut bunny with a fork until well covered with sanding sugar. Repeat, dipping the cutter into the warm water each time you cut a bunny.  
  8. To coat the chicks in sugar: Put the remaining 1 cup yellow sanding sugar in a medium bowl. Use an offset spatula to remove 1 chick from the wax paper. Place the chick in the bowl filled with yellow sanding sugar. Toss the chick with a fork until well covered with sanding sugar. Repeat with the remaining chicks.  
  9. To make eyes and a nose for the bunnies, dip a toothpick or pointed skewer into the black gel food coloring and place 2 dots on each face for the eyes and 1 dot centered below the eyes for the nose. To create eyes on the chicks, dip a toothpick or pointed skewer into the black gel food coloring and place 1 dot on each side of each chick's head. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.  

Cook’s Note

If you want to make only chicks, skip the dividing of the marshmallow and instead double the amount of yellow food coloring added. You'll also need 2 prepared baking sheets and double the amount of yellow sanding sugar. If you want to make only bunnies, skip the dividing of the marshmallow and instead double the amount of pink food coloring added. You'll also need two 8-inch square pans and double the amount of pink sanding sugar.