Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Peeps: Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Reindeer
Peeps are yet another example of classic candy that I have somehow managed not to review. For those unfamiliar, Peeps are a marshmallow candy that have a spongy interior and sort of a crusty top surface. I don't want to say "shell" or "exterior" because the candies are one solid -- for lack of a better word -- unit. The first, and still classic Peeps were shaped like small chicks and were yellow; hence the name.
But baby chickens don't exactly scream Christmas. So, in recent years the company has added different shapes. They now make a snowman, trees, and these cute little reindeer. These reindeer, in addition to being marshmallow, also have the distinction of being chocolate mousse flavored and have shocking red noses like Rudolph. No word on whether all of the other reindeer taunt them with peer pressure or let them play "reindeer games." (And I would hope that has nothing to do with the horrifyingly bad Ben Affleck movie of the same name.)
I have had the Cocoa Peeps before (although I did not review them), and they were basically a regular Peep that had been coated in cocoa powder. But they didn't really have a chocolate/cocoa taste to them at all. (And as far as I can tell from my Googling, they don't appear to have made it into the product line for 2009).
How did the Chocolate Mousse flavor compare?
The chocolate definitely stands out. It doesn't so much remind me of a chocolate mousse flavor as of a regular peep that had been marinated in chocolate syrup. It has that almost painfully sweet taste that chocolate syrup straight from the bottle can have. It's not that it tastes bad -- it's just that on top of the already sweet marshmallow of the Peep base, it's a bit much. I have a feeling that when the Peeps get a little stale (and yes, I am a member of the Stale Peeps fan club) the sweetness probably mellow (mallows?) out a little. The actual marshmallow base, in addition to being very sweet, also has a little vanilla flavor. Actually, there's just not a lot to say about them.
I also tried toasting the Peep. OK, admittedly I toasted the peep over a lighter, which left me feeling like I was freebasing candy and that the film crew from Intervention was going to be knocking on my door any minute -- but really, I did it for you guys. I did it because I care! I also did it that way because I don't own a flame barbecue, and my range top is electric.
The smell was wonderful! A rich caramelly, toasted marshmallow type smell. If you really watch as the Peep is toasting, you can "cook" it just long enough to caramelize the surface. The flavor changes completely. It sort of becomes like a s'more, minus the graham cracker.
I can't say I really liked the Peeps "raw" but I loved them "toasted."
Oh, and a cool but somewhat scary factoid from the all-knowing Peeps Wikipedia entry -- should you choose to believe it -- is that in 1999, scientists at Emory University performed various tests on Peeps to see what would and would not cause them to dissolve...and supposedly, no matter what they tried, the beady little eyes of the peeps were impervious to anything they threw at them, including sulfuric acid.
Sadly, as I have neither Dexter's lab facilities nor budget (pick whichever Dexter you prefer: the cartoon boy genius or the serial killer), I could not do much testing on my own. But during the "toasting," it was kinda creepy to note that no matter how long I held the flame directly to the eyes, they just wouldn't even bead from heat, let alone melt. Definitely freaky...
By the way: Did you ever notice that if you look at a Reindeer Peep turned upside down, it's like you're seeing the reindeer's rear end, and that the poor creature clearly suffers from very severe hemorrhoids? Just wondering.
Yeah, I actually liked these candies -- at least when toasted. I'm a freak, I know.