Dye-Free Homemade Peeps

April 4, 2017

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Being a parent you hear all the scary things you shouldn’t expose your kids to.  But, there was one I kinda ignored until the last few years.  This is when I absolutely saw a difference when consumed.  Dye.

The evil dye.  I always thought parents were being oversensitive when they said their children couldn’t have dye.  Well, I started to notice a sharp incline in hyperactivity when dye was around.  They could have sugar and yes it made them more excited, but then it wore off.  On the other hand, dye made the meter swing over to the wild side.  I would even see anger and irritability, which is rarely seen and lots of crying.  And it would last for days!

In Europe, there’s a warning label on all foods containing artificial dye that ultimately resulted in almost all dye to be eliminated from foods across the country.

In 2011, the FDA finally acknowledged that artificial food dyes have an effect on children. Apparently, they were originally testing with lower levels seeing no difference in kids’ behavior.  When they finally began testing at levels that the average child today consumes they saw a stark difference.

But, they’ve done almost nothing about it.  So, it’s up to us to carefully read labels. It’s shocking what actually contains dye.  Potato chips.  Really?  …..and even marshmallows!  What the heck, they’re white! They contain Blue #1.

According to researchers at Purdue, the amount of dye has increased 5 fold since 1950 and the average American child can consume up to 200 mg of petroleum based artificial dye in a single day.

I think because more parents are becoming selective, many companies are doing something about it.  Kudos to General Mills for removing artificial dye from most of their cereals.  Kraft has removed yellow from most of it’s kids oriented Mac-n-Cheese.  But, not the most popular one.

Now, with Easter fast approaching so does the upswing in candy.  If we can come up with more dye-free options like this, I think this holiday will be a lot easier for us.

This is a fantastic recipe.  To be honest, Peeps® are pretty yummy.  But, these are even more addictive.

PEEPS® ARE A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF JUST BORN, INC.

It was so much fun to make with my son, too! It was a fantastic Saturday afternoon project.  I call it a project because I’ve never made them before.  But, it was successful.

Here goes!

For your sugar coating:

We found these natural dye packets by McCormick at the grocery store.  They get their color naturally from plants and fruits.  And these happened to be powder so even better for what we’re doing.  If you have natural liquid version that will work as well.

dye-free homemade peeps

Mix each packet with 1 cup of granulated sugar in individual baggies.

dye-free homemade peeps

Shake the bags, roll them around, get them really mixed.  If using liquid, either sift or work out the lumps that form to make it smooth.

dye-free homemade peeps

Pour your sugar into shallow dishes.

dye-free homemade peeps

Now for the homemade Peeps:

Get out the mixer.  Pour 1/3 cup of cold water in the mixer bowl and pour your gelatin packet on top.  While that sits…

In a saucepan, cook 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat until it reaches 238 degrees.  Whisk it constantly so it doesn’t burn.  And if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can use a meat one.  (That’s what we did)

dye-free homemade peeps

When it reaches 238 degrees, take off heat and immediately pour into your mixer bowl over the gelatin mixture.  Stir to combine, then turn your mixer to medium-high for 8 full minutes.  It’s fun to watch it turn into a marshmallow fluff!

While hot, put your fluff into a piping bag or a gallon ziplock with the corner cut to a 1/2 inch opening.

Now, pipe your marshmallow mixture directly onto the sugar.  Do it quickly.  When the marshmallow cools it’s harder to pipe.

My 10 year old, had so much fun piping these!  They don’t look like perfect Peeps, but who cares.  If you want them to look presentation worthy practice your piping skillz.

dye-free homemade peeps

Spoon the sugar over the marshmallow until covered.  It sticks better while it’s hot.

Then, take a toothpick and dip it in cocoa to make the eyes.

dye-free homemade peeps

So pretty!  And it was a lot of fun to do with my son.

dye-free homemade peeps

A fun Easter treat and easier than you think!

dye-free homemade peeps

Ope!  We lost one.

dye-free homemade peeps

As you’re gearing up for Easter and you’re looking for a fun DIY with your kids.  Check out this one.  They are really tasty, too!

xo-Megan


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dye-free homemade peeps

Print Recipe
Dye-Free Homemade Peeps
These dye-free homemade peeps are better than the original!
dye-free homemade peeps
Course candy
Servings
Ingredients
For the Sugar Coating:
For the Homemade Peeps
Course candy
Servings
Ingredients
For the Sugar Coating:
For the Homemade Peeps
dye-free homemade peeps
Instructions
Colored Sugar
  1. Divide sugar into 3 Ziplock baggies with 1 cup in each baggie. Combine each bag of sugar with food coloring. Mix until well combined. Put each color into shallow dishes.
Homemade Peeps®
  1. Put 1/3 cup of water in mixer with the whisk attachment. Add gelatin. Let sit while you make sugar mixture.
  2. In saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture heats to 238 degrees. Remove from heat and pour over gelatin mixture.
  3. Stir gently until mixed for 1 minute, then turn up speed to medium/high for 8 minutes.
  4. Immediately transfer to piping bag with 1/2" tip or a gallon Ziplock with the corner cut. Pipe chick shapes directly onto the sugar. Use a spoon to cover the chicks with sugar.
  5. Use a toothpick to dip in cocoa powder for eyes. Let cool for 30 minutes. Have fun!
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