A few months ago I mentioned the opening of the Oxon Hill (MD) Peeps Store (near D.C.) Peeps are their own industry, and recently the Washington Post and Smithsonian Magazine reported on Peeps dioramas and contests. Certainly a good use for this national favorite.
In any case, this year brought the ultimate in the ever improving Peep: Chocolate-Covered Peeps, available in both Dark and Milk chocolate. These are not the small peeps packed together in rows. No, these Chocolate Peeps come in individually wrapped packages. Sadly, the cool sparkly coating of sugar is missing, and I think it would have been a nice buffer between the chocolate and marshmallow to make it stand out from the rest of the chocolate marshmallow candy. Anyway, the large singular chocolate covered Peep has a yellow-colored marshmallow center. Chris Schneewiss, brand manager for Peeps at Just Born, said, "These PEEPS® will please loyal fans and entice newcomers, perhaps becoming our biggest hit ever." I beg to differ. With so many wonderful chocolate marshmallow treats out there from various chocolatiers who make their own marshmallows, why would I want this new Peep that's not a Peep.
So, let me tell you what I think. First the chick is not sitting, as in chicks all in a row. Well, he's by himself, and he's on his side, kind of. He's pretty well shaped (better than the regular peeps who are articulated only until you pull them apart. It's the elastic quality of the "old" peeps that's all the fun for me.
Each individual Peep, then, of the Chocolate Covered Peeps has chocolate covering a yellow marshmallow center. The marshmallow part of these has less elasticity than the original peeps, and I didn't like that the yellow is from Yellow #5. O.K. As far as the chocolate went, well, it certainly didn't taste like the high quality chocolate I've been tasting for the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.
O.K. should I be holding Peeps up to a higher standard? Maybe not. After all, it's all about childhood memories. Maybe I personally don't want Chocolate Covered Peeps when I can create new memories with quality chocolate and marshmallow combinations. But, if I were a kid again, I bet I'd love them! So I'm not dismissing them altogether. The price can't be beat, and they're available at your local drugstore or supermarket.
Jacques Torres makes fabulous chocolate, and they sell Chocolate-Covered Peeps. Their name: Chirp'N'Dales. I haven't had these yet, but aren't they adorable?
Want to make your own Chocolate Covered Peeps using the original Peeps? Here's a recipe:
Melt some good dark chocolate or milk chocolate (about 16 oz/depending on how many you plan to make)
Remove Peeps from package. I would use Chicks since they're the original, but the other shapes (rabbits, etc) work well.
Insert a lollipop stick into the Peep. If you're using the chicks, do it the widest way (maybe this is why they're sideways standing up in the packaged ones--and why bunnies work better).
Dip the Peep into the melted chocolate. Two chocies: Either cover the entire Peep or just dip one end as you would strawberries. Be sure and let any excess drip off.
Put on wax paper covered plate or cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
Question? When is a Peep, not a Peep? When it's Chocolate Covered.