Thursday, March 28, 2013

PEEPS: History, Commercial, Dioramas and Chocolate Covered

This is a longish post for me, but then I think PEEPS merit this. So get ready for a post on the history of PEEPS, DIORAMAS, CHOCOLATE COVERED PEEPS and an hilarious commercial on What to do with PEEPS.

Of all my childhood Easter memories, PEEPS stand out. My sister and I still buy each other PEEPS around Easter, even though neither of us actually eat the sugary marshmallow-y creatures any more--or at least I don't. She buys me purple rabbits; I buy her classic yellow chicks --the original PEEPS. You see where this is going? I'm a purist.

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.

Peeps are an American phenomena. There's even a PEEPS Store (near D.C.). PEEPS are their own industry, and the Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine and many local papers have PEEPS diorama contests. Certainly a good use for this national favorite. Check out some of the winners below and throughout this post.

PEEPS is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and they've made the first TV Peeps commerical in 10 years. It certainly captures the true essence of PEEPS.  You either love them or hate them. People do all sorts of things with Peeps, only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box. Which are you? Feel free to comment below.

And then there's the ultimate in the ever improving PEEPS: Chocolate-Covered PEEPS, available from the original company 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 PEEPS 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, and well-articulated. It's the elastic quality of the "old" peeps that's all the fun for me--pulling them apart.

Each individual Peep, then, of the Chocolate Covered Peeps has chocolate covering a yellow marshmallow center. Probably because of the 'outcry', this year there's also a three pack of PEEPS Chocolate Covered Chicks (both dark and milk chocolate), as well as the Dark and Milk Chocolate PEEPS Chocolate Dipped Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks! These come in a three pack! Oh yes, there's also the 'unadulterated' PEEPS Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Chicks and Bunnies.

And, just as an aside, Jacques Torres makes fabulous chocolate, and they sell Chocolate-Covered PEEPS. Their name: Chirp'N'Dales. They are adorable. Also, Asher's Chocolates makes Milk Chocolate Covered PEEPS.

Other great uses for PEEPS:

1. Make PEEPS S'Mores, especially with the chocolate covered ones
2. Plop a Chocolate Covered PEEPS down in your Hot Chocolate or Coffee
3. Decorate cakes or cupcakes with PEEPS
4. Create Your Own Diorama

Want to make your own Chocolate Covered PEEPS using the original PEEPS? Here's how:

Chocolate Covered Peeps:

1. Melt good dark chocolate or milk chocolate (about 8-16 ounces, depending on how many you plan to make
2. Remove PEEPS from package. I would use Chicks since they're the original, but the other shapes (rabbits, etc) work well.
3. Grasp the individual Chick PEEP gently by the head and dip--or use a two fork process or a special dipping tool.
4. Two choices: Either cover the entire Peep or just dip one end as you would strawberries. Be sure and let any excess drip off.
5. Place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Continue process.
6. As a colorful bonus, roll in sprinkles (as you would truffles), starting with the coolest one.
7. Pop into refrigerator for 20 minutes to harden.

The Washington Post's 7th Annual Peeps Show.

"Twinkies, Rest In Peeps"
Fellow sugary confections mourn the loss of one of their own as the Twinkie is laid to rest following Hostess’ announcement in November it was filing of bankruptcy. 
Submitted by Anna Munoz, 37, and Kate Norman, 31, of Arlington.

And, I'm not sure who did this one, but continuing the Twinkies, Rest in Peeps Diorama theme:

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