I spend most of my time on this blog writing about topics like the wholesome tastiness of obscure whole grains, the joy of opening a CSA box and finding the first strawberries of the season, and various ways to cook tofu. And that's fitting--it's a reflection of who I am, how I eat, and what I'm passionate about. But there are days when instead of raving about a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with sustainably sourced kale or rhapsodizing about asparagus, what I really want to do is write about Peeps.
You might validly wonder why the Peep writing urge hit just now, two and half weeks after Easter. There are a few reasons: 1) the generosity of the Easter Bunny, who still leaves a Peep-filled Easter basket at my parents' house for me; 2) the undeniable truth that it is impossible to pass by a display of discounted Peeps without buying several boxes of them; and 3) Peeps are a ever-fascinating writing topic that transcends the Easter season (and Peeps themselves seem to be transcending the Easter season these days, with Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas, and "everyday" Peeps).
Since a brief perusal of the Peeps website reveals that there are a lot of Peep varieties out there, I anticipate that this post will be the first of many Peeps product reviews. Although this will require the consumption of large volumes of sugar-coated, artificially-colored marshmallows, it is a sacrifice that I am willing to make in the name of journalism. Also, it will give me some writing material on the days when I am too lazy to bake bread or track down a new heirloom tomato recipe.
These iconic marshmallow chicks have been a part of my Easter basket for as long as I can remember. Although there are marshmallow bunnies, and both the chicks and bunnies are also available in pink, purple, orange, green, and blue, I always go for the yellow chicks. The texture of an Original Peep is spongier and softer than a typical marshmallow, and the thin sugar crust provides a satisfying textural contrast. The main drawback is that the conjoined design means that the three Peeps in the middle of the row aren't coated with as much sugar as the two outer Peeps.
I didn't realize quite how lacking in flavor Original Peeps are until I tasted a Vanilla Creme Peep. The flavor is similar to that of cheap vanilla frosting eaten straight from the container, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Texture-wise, the Vanilla Creme Peep is slightly firmer than an Original Peep. Since they are sold in individual trays rather than a conjoined row, all sides of the Vanilla Creme Peeps are evenly coated with sugar and multicolored confetti.
The two best things about Easter--chocolate and Peeps--combined into one confection. I sampled the milk chocolate variety, which reminded me of a s'more sans graham cracker. The chocolate isn't artisanal, but if you were looking for something fancy you wouldn't be eating Peeps. Like the Vanilla Creme Peep, the Chocolate Dipped Peep is firmer in texture than the Original Peep and is coated with sugar on all sides. Although I feel like a traitor to the Original Peep for admitting it, the Chocolate Dipped Peep is my favorite.