By Chef Francisco Migoya,
Yield: 36 chicks
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar combined with food coloring, as needed
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment or waxed paper.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and corn starch. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift a moderate coating of the powdered mixture over the prepared sheet pans; reserve for later use.
Prepare the gelatin: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water; stir to break up any clumps. Let the gelatin soften; reserve for later use.
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepot with deep sides, combine the 2 cups of granulated sugar, the light corn syrup, and the 2/3 cup water. Stir the mixture until well blended. Attach the candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and begin to cook the sugar mixture over high heat.
Meanwhile, place the egg whites into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed to attain medium peaks.
Once the sugar mixture reaches 311 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and increase the speed of the mixer to high.
While the egg whites whip to form stiff peaks, add a generous spoonful of the prepared gelatin to the saucepot and stir vigorously, but cautiously, with a wire whisk. Be careful, the mixture will bubble up and increase in volume when the gelatin is added. Once the sugar/gelatin mixture is well incorporated and the bubbling has subsided, add the remaining gelatin and whisk until well blended.
Lower the speed of the mixer to medium, and begin to pour the sugar/gelatin syrup in a slow, steady stream down the side of the mixer into the egg whites. When all of the sugar/gelatin syrup has been added, increase the speed of the mixer to high and continue whipping until the mixture cools to room temperature.
Once cooled, reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add enough food coloring to obtain desired color. Add optional flavor extract to taste.
Place a portion of the marshmallow mixture in a piping bag fitted with a large, plain tip and pipe chick shapes onto the prepared sheet pans. Immediately after piping, sprinkle the chicks with a moderate coating of the colored sugar; reserve remaining sugar for later use.
Allow the marshmallow chicks to set overnight.
Once set, use the tip of a toothpick to paint on the chick eyes with the melted chocolate; allow the chocolate to set.
Remove the chicks from the sheet pans. Dip the bottoms of the chicks into the reserved sugar topping.
Store the chicks in a dry, airtight container and they will remain fresh for approximately two weeks.