DIY Peeps!

by kelly vass in ,


Those divisive, sugar-coated marshmallow chicks are (relatively) easy to make and taste way better than store bought! Marshmallow lovers, you're in for a treat!

 Homemade Peeps!

Homemade Peeps!

I have a confession to make: I'm a Peeps purist. 

I don't want red bunnies or green chickens. I don't want marshmallow carrots either. When I think of Peeps, only one image comes to mind: yellow chicks. 

yellow sugar

The other day, I was in a department store, perusing the kitchen section when I stumbled upon DIY marshmallow pans. They were designed to make knock-off Peeps using a "just add water mix," but the results were kind of weird looking. My Peeps-loving heart? Well, she shattered.

In that instant, I knew it was my duty to make my own, using real marshmallow, armed with nothing but a pastry bag and a prayer.

marshmallow

Before you start with these bad boys, you'll need a few items, like a mixer (stand or hand), a pastry bag with a 1/2" tip or a coupler with no tip, cocoa powder or brown food coloring and yellow sanding sugar--I made my own, which was really simple to do (add 1 cup of granulated white sugar to the base of a food processor, add a few drops of yellow food coloring and pulse until the color is incorporated. If you have more patience than me, blend the colored bits into the remaining sugar to work out any obvious bits. Clearly, patience is not my strong suit).

yellow sugar

Once the yellow sanding sugar is set, line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil and evenly spread the yellow sugar over the surface. Next, prepare your piping bag by cutting the tip off the plastic piping bag and inserting the coupler (no tip!). 

Once that's set: you're ready to make your mallows! 

I used the recipe by Elizabeth of SugarHero at About.com, which includes a neat photo tutorial. (Note: this recipe does not use corn syrup, so the finished Peeps have a looser consistency than regular marshmallows). You can also snag the recipe (and photos!) in my pal Casey Barber's book, Classic Snacks Made from ScratchIt's got a ton of delicious DIY recipes from marshmallow Peeps to goldfish crackers to copycat Hostess cupcakes. It's filled with homemade takes on your favorite childhood treats (okay, who am I kidding? I still love them all as an adult). Check it out!

Whichever recipe you choose, you'll follow the same basic technique, which I've demonstrated below. This is obviously my first video (there's no captions--sorry!), so go easy on me, kids! And remember, no matter what: have fun! If your Peeps don't come out perfectly the first time, you can always turn them into really sugary s'mores or puff them up in the microwave :P


Want more Easter Treats? Check out these recipes!

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on one of the links and make a purchase on Amazon, I receive a tiny percentage of the purchase price, which I put towards things like ingredients and expensive things like web hosting. For those of you who choose to click & buy, THANK YOU!


Valentine's Day S'more Hearts

by kelly vass in , , , , ,


These sweet treats are perfect for sharing with your valentine, shipping to friends or for treating yo self!

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If you're a Valentine's Day hater, let me apologize now. I've got a few more posts headed your way in the next week. They're full of hearts, sprinkles, and sugar, which may or may not warrant a red-and-pink intervention on my part. SORRY NOT SORRY.

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In my last post, I told you I wanted to share some of the things I loved with you. Today, I'm gonna keep the theme going and share s'more (get it?--I told you there'd be puns! and no, not that kind). 

With that being said, it may come as no surprise that I love making marshmallows. The first time I made them, I was filled with this awesome sense of wonder that with a few ingredients, a Kitchenaid mixer, a candy thermometer and some patience, I could create the most fluffy mallows I had ever tasted. If you've never tried a homemade marshmallow, get yourself a candy thermometer and get on it! Trust me on this one: you'll never look at the store-bought kind the same way again. 

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These S'mores Hearts would make a great gift for your sweetheart or send some to your friends! I'm a big fan of sending sweets to my single friends on Valentine's Day and these were a huge hit last year. I always say that a marshmallow is like a hug in your mouth--so why not send your pals a hug sandwiched between cookies and topped with chocolate? Isn't that what any true friend would do?

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These s'mores have three basic components--homemade marshmallows, chocolate and homemade graham crackers. You can really use any recipe you'd like for the graham crackers or the marshmallows. I adapted mine from Smitten Kitchen with a nod to Alton Brown's recipe with the addition of molasses for depth. [I like that Deb from Smitten Kitchen *doesn't* use graham flour, as it can sometimes be tough to find]. I've also listed my recipe for raspberry marshmallows, but if you'd like to use a different recipe, like say, Chocolate Truffle Stout, Cinnamon, or Mint Marshmallows, go right ahead! The basic idea is to spread the mallow mixture in a pan, cut the cooled marshmallows using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut the graham cracker dough with the same cutter, bake the grahams, dip them in chocolate and sandwich the heart-shaped mallows in between. Easy peasy, right? Right.

These s'mores hearts were part of a Holiday Food Party, thrown by myself and 13 other amazing bloggers. From ice cream to cookies, plus red velvet, tarts, cupcakes & more, we've got plenty of sweets & treats for all your Valentine's needs, so be sure to check them all out! Whether you make one recipe or all 14, I have faith in you, grasshopper. Now go forth and spread heart-shaped cheer! 

Valentine's S'more Hearts

Make the mallows

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin (or, 2 packages Knox)
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry puree
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 1/4 C water
  • pinch of salt
  • pink food coloring (optional)

    For dusting the pan
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1 T canola oil or non-stick spray

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/3 cup raspberry puree, vanilla and 2 tablespoons water into the bowl of a stand mixer. Quickly stir. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over the top of raspberry mixture and allow to bloom, approximately 5 minutes. (Note, the mixture will shrivel and congeal and look gross. Don't be alarmed!)
  2. Meanwhile, combine corn syrup, sugar, 1/4 cup water in a small pan. Heat on medium until mixture reaches soft-ball stage, or 240F. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 3 minutes.
  3. Turn stand mixer on low, slowly begin drizzling hot syrup into the gelatin in a thin stream. Once combined, turn speed up to medium. Whisk for 5 minutes.
  4. Turn mixer to high. Whisk for 7 minutes. Add pink food coloring until desired color is reached. Turn off mixer
  5. Using a greased off-set spatula (It’s gonna get sticky and messy so if you want to sit and play and be messy, go for it. Otherwise, grease it up!) evenly spread the marshmallow out into the pan. Allow to set for at least 4 hours.
  6. Once set, cut into hearts with a heart-shaped cookie cutter dusted with corn starch/confectioner's sugar mixture. 

Make the grahams

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate
  • sprinkles (optional, for decorating)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine flours, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and pulse a few more times until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (You can also do this by hand using a pastry cutter and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease)
  2. In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients--honey, molasses, milk and vanilla. Stir until it's well combined (make sure there's no honey or molasses stuck to the bottom--it's sneaky like that!). Add the wet ingredients to the flour/butter mixture and pulse a few times until the mixture starts to form a dough--it should be a little sticky. Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a 1" thick square and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. 
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  4. Once the dough has been refrigerated, transfer to a floured surface. Cut the dough in half--keep one half in the fridge until you're ready to roll it out. Roll out the remaining half to a rectangle about 1/8" thick. Cut with heart-shaped cookie cutter and place the heart grahams on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 15 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. 
  5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until just golden brown and firm to the touch. [Baking time will vary depending on your oven and the size of your cookie cutter--I've made 1" grahams that baked in roughly 12 minutes and larger 2" grahams that took around 18-20 minutes.] Allow to cool.
     

Assemble the s'mores!

Instructions

  1. Dip one side of the grahams in chocolate. Sprinkle with sprinkles or non-perils, if desired. Place dipped cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
  2. Remove cookies from the refrigerator, place two graham chocolate side down and add a thin layer of chocolate to the graham side of each cookie. Place a marshmallow heart on top of one of the graham cracker hearts and top the marshmallow with the other graham cracker heart, forming a sandwich. Allow the s'mores to set for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Enjoy!

Fall in love with all our #HolidayParty Recipes! Check them out below!

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1. Chocolate Dipped Sttrawberry Hi Hat Cupcakes (Gluten Free) from Pineapple and Coconut
2. Frosted Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies from Magnolia Days
3. White Chocolate Mousse with Frangelico from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
4. Chocolate Caramel Pretzel 'n Chip Tart from Gotta Get Baked
5. White Chocolate Cherry Brownies from The Messy Baker
6. Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
7. Sugar-Free Blueberry Yogurt Truffles from What Smells So Good
8. Strawberry Cheesecake Heart Pie from Hungry Couple NYC
9. Red Velvet Heart Sandwich Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies
10. Chocolate Cannoli Cones from Created By Diane
11. Cherry Cheesecake Stuffed Cupcakes from Chocolate Moosey
12. Nutella Brownie Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
13. Valentines Smores Hearts from Kelly Bakes
14. Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies from Roxana's Home Baking

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on an Amazon affiliate link and buy something from Amazon, I get a teensy percentage of the sale, which I put towards things like buying sugar and webhosting (cuz that ain't cheap!). 


Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts

by kelly vass in , ,


A gluten-free, homemade version of peanut butter hearts--perfect for Valentine's Day!

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It's the time of the season when love runs high. As such, I thought I'd share a few things I love with you. For starters, I love geeky things--logic problems, crossword puzzles, data analysis, dorky guys in square glasses, grammar (I took a course in it 'for fun' in college). Though I unabashedly still geek out today, the crowning moment of my dorkdom was probably being elected my high school's Latin Club President two years in a row. 

chocolate peanut butter hearts

Maybe it's because my birthday is the Ides of March that I had a natural proclivity toward Latin, or maybe I just love me some epic, twisted tales of the Roman empire on 8 VHS tapes (WARNING: slightly NSFW!). Whatever the case, I took five years of the language and every year, it was my favorite class. At some point, we translated Catullus, whose poem Carmen 85, gave me one of my favorite and most-loved phrases in Latin, "odi et amo," or, "I hate and I love."

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What does all this non-sense have to do with peanut butter hearts, you ask? Well, remember how I told you I was a peanut butter addict? And remember when we made a homemade version of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs together? Well, I want to let you in on a little secret: You can use that SAME recipe and adapt it for Valentine's Day and make yourself some chocolate covered peanut butter hearts, meaning you can have homemade copycat Reese's hearts in about an hour. I know, I know. I'm a genius... and yet, you hate me a little bit. See now would be the appropriate time to recite in an exasperated tone, "Odi et amo, Kelly!" (We've come full circle!) And, in the words of Nas, You can hate me now. Don't worry--I'll still love you :)

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Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Hearts

Author: kellybakes.com
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Makes: 8-12 hearts, depending on how big you make them

The perfect way to show the peanut butter addict in your life how much you care. Or, just make them for yourself. Who better to love you than you, you peanut butter fiend! :)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (if using crunchy peanut butter instead, omit peanuts)
  • 3 tablespoons peanuts, chopped very fine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 10.5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Directions

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Add the peanut butter and butter to a medium size bowl. Working in 30 second intervals, microwave 1-2 minutes or until butter is completely melted and peanut butter has softened, being careful not to let the peanut butter burn! (If you've got a high-powered microwave, try microwaving at 15 second intervals.)
  3. Remove from microwave. Stir in peanuts, if using. Working in 2 batches, stir in half the  confectioners sugar, until well combined. Repeat with the other half of the sugar. You should have a thick dough.
  4. Roll a walnut-sized ball of peanut butter dough into a ball or scoop using a small ice cream scoop (or a medium one. #treatyoself. We don't judge here at kellybakes.com). Place each ball onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Shape each ball into a heart shape. Once all hearts have been formed, place the cookie sheet into the freezer for 1/2 hour.
  5. When the hearts have been in the freezer for 25 minutes, prepare the chocolate by chopping it and placing it in a medium bowl. Add the shortening. Microwave on medium for 15 seconds. Stir. Repeat until the chocolate has melted. This took me 1 minute 30 seconds total. (It's tempting to not microwave in intervals, but it's also easier to walk away, get distracted and come back to burnt chocolate. Trust me on this one. I speak from way too much experience :)
  6. When the chocolate is melted, give it a final stir, making sure that no hunks of chocolate remain.
  7. Remove the peanut butter hearts from the freezer. Dip each heart into the chocolate. Flip over with a fork or a miniature off-set spatula to coat completely with chocolate. Allow any excess chocolate to drip off each heart. Place each heart back onto the parchment lined sheet until the chocolate sets up (approximately 30 minutes).
  8. Remove from parchment once set. Share with someone special or don't. Like I said, no judgement ;)