2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups water, divided
4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/3 C cocoa
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 C water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Using a Candy theremometer bring the mixture to the hard-ball stage, 250 to 260 degrees.
While the sugar mixture is heating, place 1/2 C water in a metal bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Place the bowl over simmering water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture becomes liquid.
Dissolve the cocoa in the last 1/2 C water, then add to the gelatin. Keep this gelatin mixture warm until the sugar comes to the proper temperature. When the sugar mixture reaches the hard-ball stage and you remove it from heat, carefully whisk in the gelatin mixture. Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites into soft peaks.
Once the peaks have formed, set the electric mixer to medium-speed and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of whipped egg whites. When pouring the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl, keep the stream small and slow. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated into the egg whites, add the vanilla extract and continue mixing at a medium-speed until the mixture cannot become any fluffier.
At this point you can do 2 things. First you can pour it into a pan (coated with butter and sugar). Once it's cool you coat a knife with butter and sugar and cut the marshmallow into squares (re-sugaring the knife after every slice).
OR you can make Peeps!!!
Line a flat surface with waxed paper and sprinkle it with sugar. Use a large pastry bag with at least a 1/2-inch opening or tip. Carefully spoon the sticky marshmallow fluff into the bag and twist the top closed. Pipe the body of the chick shape first by making a thick line on the paper. When the body is long enough, pipe backwards on top of the body, and then make a little head. To coat the marshmallow chicks completely, let them set for 30 minutes before rolling them in bowls full of colored sugar.
The first bag full was too soft, and the peeps fell flat, the next 2 bags were perfect, and the last bag I couldn't even squeeze out! I had to cut the bag open and chop up the marshmallow! I made a double batch, and it was just too much for one person to get all the peeps made before the mixture got to stiff. So next time either a single batch or double the hands...