Peeps: Great to eat, tough to create

James Phillips
Posted 4/16/17

When it comes to good candy, no other holiday even comes close to Easter.

I am partial to Cadbury Eggs. Those are the chocolate eggs with the gooey, creme-filled center that looks like a yolk. Cadbury Eggs are probably best known for their …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Peeps: Great to eat, tough to create

Posted

When it comes to good candy, no other holiday even comes close to Easter.

I am partial to Cadbury Eggs. Those are the chocolate eggs with the gooey, creme-filled center that looks like a yolk. Cadbury Eggs are probably best known for their television commercials with a rabbit clucking like a hen before finally laying all those wonderfully tasty chocolates eggs. When I was a child, I always wondered if this clucking bunny was the evil creature that found so much delight in hiding my Easter eggs. (I have never understood the hiding eggs part of the holiday, even to this day.)

Sorry for the literal rabbit trail. The point of this babble is Easter candy.

My wife's favorite is Peeps. Those are the marshmallows covered in granulated sugar, originally formed into the shape of a small, yellow chick and only sold at Easter.

Over the last several years, Peeps have taken the form of bunnies, as well as popping up during other holidays as ghosts, pumpkins and Christmas trees. A few days ago, I spotted some bubble gum flavor Peeps that were delicious. There are also some mystery flavors out this year, as well as Peeps dipped in either milk chocolate or white chocolate.

Before we had children, I surprised Andrea with an Easter basket every year. The centerpiece of the basket would always be a large mound of yellow Peeps. I usually purchased all the stuff for her basket early in the Easter season and just put it together the night before. For Easter 2002, I put off buying her Easter bounty until the night before. I drove to the grocery store down the street from our house and found all the necessary items except one thing — Peeps!

I tried every store in town that night and none had Peeps. Prone not to give up too quickly, I decided to drive to a neighboring city and see if I could find the elusive yellow chicks. After visiting three or four stores in another county, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to be purchasing any Peeps on that particular night.

Despite the fact that Peeps had become extinct in a two-county radius, I contrived a plan to make my own Peeps.

What would it take to make a Peep?

The ingredients were simple: Marshmallow, sugar and yellow food coloring. I bought the ingredients and headed back home.

Once I knew Andrea was in a deep sleep, I popped out of bed to make her some homemade Peeps for Easter. I kept thinking how much she was going to love me after she realized the time and thought that went into this candy.

I decided to heat the marshmallows in the microwave for several seconds. After they looked squishy (a technical culinary term sure to be heard on Food Network), I took them out and began to form them into the shape of small chicks. (Warning: Microwaved marshmallows can burn you!) I treated my second-degree burns and finished shaping the marshmallows.

Sadly, they were not coming together as I had hoped. I thought maybe the sugar would help the chicks form. I added my mixture of sugar and food coloring. It did not help. My poor chicks looked like the unfortunate survivors of a nuclear meltdown.

It was not looking good, but I was too far into this catastrophe to give up. I placed my homemade Peeps in the refrigerator and hoped for the best. The next morning, I woke up before Andrea to put her basket on our table. I checked on the now-chilled homemade Peeps. They did not look any better, but I got them out and put them in her basket anyway. Andrea got out of bed a few minutes later and smiled as she saw her basket sitting on the table. As she looked closer, her smile left and her face was full of confusion.

“Please tell me what that is,” she said.

I explained what happened. I am sure she was disappointed with no Peeps, but my attempt at making them from scratch was so ridiculous she burst into laughter. I promised her that I would never attempt to make Peeps again, and I think in my own lunatic kind of way that showed her how much she meant to me that Easter.

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840