Thursday, January 21, 2010
Peeps: Strawberry Creme Hearts
I suppose it was predictable: Christmas was over for all of five seconds before the Valentines Day candy hit the shelves like a sugary tsunami. Since I'd decided I was going to try more of the Peeps flavors this year, these Strawberry Creme flavored hearts jumped out at me -- and how could they not? They look like the dream candy of an 11-year-old girl. All they need is a Justin Bieber shape, and they'd have that market in the bag. (I'll leave it to others in cyberspace to invent new and nightmarish things to do to these hypothetical Justin Bieber Peeps.)
That said, each heart is sort of cute on its own, and has a nice coating of bright red sugar. The marshmallow itself is a pale shade of pink. Aesthetically, it is actually a pretty candy.
The smell, however, is like the post-midnight love session stank of an orgy between kids' vitamins and powdered strawberry milk flavoring...only worse.
Fortunately, the taste is better than the smell. The strawberry is by no means a natural berry flavor, but it's so frighteningly fake that it's actually kinda good. There is a vague milky taste -- I don't want to call it vanilla because I didn't taste that -- it's just a generic sort of sweet cream flavor. There is also an aftertaste that is best described as bubble gum. Think of classic pink bubble gum, like Bazooka. Flavorwise, these will never be my favorite, but I was surprised that I liked them as much as I did.
I have to say I think this was the freshest package of Peeps I have had in my life. While my feet are firmly planted in the Stale Peeps Fan Club, there is something to be said for a pack of super-fresh Peeps. The marshmallow was so soft and fluffy it was almost spreadable.
Also, I could not resist doing the flame test. During my last Peeps review -- December 16th's Chocolate Mousse Reindeer -- I tried "toasting" the Peep, and I really liked it. And I was wondering how that would work with the Strawberry Creme Hearts.
So how did it go?
First, I must warn you not to try this at home -- at least not near anything flammable.
As you may recall, the Chocolate Mousse Peeps were damn near flame retardant. I really had to work even to get them to toast. And no matter how long I held the flame directly to the reindeer's eyes, I couldn't get them to so much as bead from the heat, let alone toast in any acceptable manner.
The Strawberry Creme Hearts, however, not only toasted -- they actually caught fire! They sputtered! They fizzed! They went up with a blustery whoooomf just like Spinal Tap's original drummer!
(Note: The below photo has NOT been retouched. How scary is that?)
Yeah, I was kind of impressed. Science never disappoints, does it?
Now I happen to love marshmallows that have been burnt to the point that they look like lava rocks, so I of course still ate it. But I am not basing the rating on this little experiment. And that is a good thing, because as I discovered, Strawberry Creme Peeps are pretty vile toasted. Really, just skip the toasting/burning...unless you truly love pyrotechnics and your backyard has a large, empty concrete apron where you can do it safely. After all, fire has a tendency to get out of hand and burn things and people. (But it does look cool, I gotta admit!)
Nowhere near the best junk food I've ever tried, but definitely awesome as fireworks. Maybe they should market these for the Fourth of July instead.