Hangin’ with my Peeps
Ah, the Peep. Marvel of modern science, confectionary delight of the Easter basket, rival of the chocolate bunny.I would venture to say that Peeps now outshine the hollow milk chocolate rabbit as the stars of the Easter basket. Peeps now outsell jelly beans at Easter. The bright little marshmallow treats have developed a cult following and inspired hundreds of Web sites, science projects and pop culture references. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, has an entire entry devoted to Peeps, their history and their fans. They have been melted, drowned, exploded and more in the quest to see if they really are indestructible. People eat them soft, stale and crunchy, or roasted like a regular marshmallow. There are Peep recipes and Peep fan clubs. You can buy jewelry shaped liked Peeps, or play a game called “Peep jousting.” One enterprising person developed a movie called “Lord of the Peeps,” and scientists at Emory University have done serious research on Peeps. And yes, there is a Peep museum.The gooey treats, once available only at Easter, in the form of bright yellow chicks, now come in various shapes and colors to correspond with holidays throughout the year. Caught in the middle of winter with a sugary marshmallow craving? Never fear; you can buy tree-shaped and gingerbread man-shaped Peeps. Pumpkins at Halloween, stars for the Fourth of July; you get the picture.And let’s not forget the annual Peep Off, held in Sacramento every year. It’s a festival of Peep-themed costumes, art and contests entailing massive consumption of alcohol and Peeps. Needless to say, there’s also a lot of um, clean up, involved.I myself was born a Peep lover. I’m pretty sure Peeps were the first candy I ever had as a child. There are pictures in my baby book that show me with the sticky yellow marshmallow mess all over my face, sitting in a car seat. The Easter Bunny always brought me multiple boxes, and they’d sit like sentinels in my basket in their rows of five, guardians of the Easter candy. I tried to save them for last, but they often met their demise long before the chocolate bunny was even half-eaten. I’m a Peep purist though – I only like the original yellow chicks. I don’t like to eat Peeps for other holidays; no pink hearts or Christmas trees for me. I won’t even eat the bunny-shaped ones at Easter, and I don’t like the purple, pink and blue colors. In my mind, a Peep should be a yellow chick. Call me old school.The colorful little harbingers of spring have been available on grocery store shelves since Valentine’s Day, sitting alongside the bags of jelly beans and the chocolate bunnies. And on Easter morning, some people will go for those rabbit ears.But as for me, I’m spending Easter with my Peeps.Gabrielle Devenish is the food editor at the Post Independent. She eats her Peeps tail first. Contact her at (970) 945-8515, ext. 535, or email@example.com.Peep cupcakes1 box white cake mix or scratch cake ingredients (your choice)White frostingGrated coconutGreen food coloringMarshmallow Peeps (yellow, pink, white, blue or lavender)Peeps Jelly Beans or Teenee Beanee Gourmet Jelly BeansBake cupcakes as per directions on box and frost. Color grated coconut with green food coloring. Top with Marshmallow Peeps (one sits perfectly on a cupcake) and add a few Peeps Jelly Beans or Teenee Beanee Gourmet Jelly Beans (they make great eggs). (Note: If you don’t like coconut, use green sugar sprinkles. You don’t get the same “grass” effect as the coconut, but you might like the taste better). Another option is to pipe a “nest” of green icing to encircle the top and place a Peep in the center. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles for a finishing touch.- from the Marshmallow Peeps Factory
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