REVIEW: Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017)

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017)

I remember stumbling upon last year’s Peeps Mystery Flavors and I was very much caught off guard.

Not one, not two, but three new flavors that I get to try and guess?! COUNT ME IN. I fell in love with the buttered popcorn one and so this makes me very excited to see what Peeps has in store this year. What would be the new buttered popcorn for me?

There are again three flavors to guess and while the packaging has stayed similar the Peeps are now speckled with bright color flakes. This adds a whole another layer of complexity as it ties the colors directly to the peeps giving you another reference point to lead you to the correct flavor or just throw you off completely.

First up is my favorite, Mystery Flavor #1 of 3.

On first whiff, there is a predominately maple kind of scent like straight maple syrup, perhaps even a hint of caramel as well. Biting into the Peeps, I love how the sugar and flakes on the outside mix together with the squishy marshmallow inside.

However, the flavor doesn’t get any stronger, which is disappointing. I still taste maple but then also think these could be coffee too, but definitely with some creaminess. I really enjoyed these but am completely stumped by the flavor. They could be waffles or pancakes or cappuccino or latte but what I keep coming back to is maple syrup.

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2017) 2

Next up is my least favorite, Mystery Flavor #2 of 3.

After opening it I got a serious blast of fruitiness, but not sure which one yet. Eating the Peeps, made me think instantly of orange. These had a lot of flavor and were sweet, but also tart. There may be another flavor in there but these tasted exactly like those orange fruit slice candies. It can’t be THAT simple, though, can it? Maybe these are blood orange or something. Plain old orange would be a serious missed opportunity.

Finally, Mystery Flavor #3 of 3.

Smelling these I got fruitiness again but distinctly a lemon-lime scent. Eating them, yep, lemon-lime was coming in very strong with sour notes, too. However, the flakes are yellow and green, which seems way too easy, unless that was on purpose to trick us? Brand mashups are all the rage recently, so maybe these are in fact sour Sprite flavored. Let’s go with that!

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicks – 140 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.19 each
Size: 3 oz./10 chicks
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 7 out of 10 (#1 of 3)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (#2 of 3)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (#3 of 3)
Pros: The fun that mystery flavors bring. Colored flakes upping the confusion factor. Sugary outsides and marshmallow insides joining together in perfect harmony.
Cons: Two-thirds of the flavors seem to be fruit based. Not finding my buttered popcorn successor. The agony that will take place until the flavors are officially revealed.

REVIEW: Peeps Filled Delights Vanilla Caramel Brownie

Peeps Filled Delight Vanilla Caramel Brownie

In my experience, Peeps are a polarizing force in society. You either love them passionately or think they’re the most disgusting non-food ever created. Thankfully, I made it out of childhood with my sense of whimsy intact and fall squarely in the former camp. Every year, I buy two packages of yellow chicks shortly after Valentine’s Day, and three more from the clearance bins the day after Easter.

I’ve fallen in love with every novelty flavor and dipped version of Peeps that have hit shelves in recent years. Now Peeps with a filling? And there’s a caramel version? I am overcome with the vapors – fetch me my fainting couch!

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This year’s novelty Peeps have been rebranded as “Delights.” Fitting. But because I was throwing flavors in my shopping cart in a sort of Peep-sterical fit, I didn’t at first notice the word “filled” above the Vanilla Caramel Brownie. More attention should be called to the fact that these are different than the dipped Peeps.

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The aroma inside the bag was all glorious fudge brownie. A closer sniff of the Peeps themselves was equally brownie and vanilla marshmallow. They looked like the now-standard dipped Peep – sparkling sugar-studded chick, thin shell of chocolate on the bottom, and a smattering of errant crystals clinging to the chocolate. They felt so precious in their individual cubicles – these Peeps fly business class.

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I expected the caramel filling to be a big central blob, like a jelly doughnut. Instead, it was laced throughout like a ribbon, hitting all the major geographical areas of the peep – including the furthest point of the tail. And yeah, I made the others watch while I split this guy up.

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I popped a cross-section in my mouth to get the full flavor. The caramel was beautifully thick and stayed just on the right side of the line between real and fake-tasting. The vanilla marshmallow was the typical Peeps sweetness, and the chocolate was like a shot of rich hot chocolate.

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Of course, I had to give them the head-first treatment. It’s the only real way to eat a Peep, amiright? In this case, the filling added a nice little squish, which tickled the 7-year-old in me.

These were my favorite (excluding the originals). I want more. If you love Peeps, definitely try them. If you’re a Peeps hater, these just might win you over.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 chicks – 180 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 1.75 oz 3-pack
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Brownie-caramel-marshmallow-y goodness. Peeps finally have innards!
Cons: Easy to overlook the fact that they’re filled based on the packaging.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Roll Peeps

Cinnamon Roll Peeps

Peeps. No one’s favorite candy over the age of six, and the primary wingman of the Easter bunny.

Somehow, people (I) keep buying them, so the company continues to crank out new flavors not just for Easter but Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas, including this years Walgreens-exclusive Cinnamon Roll. Placed on the very bottom of the holiday shelf where only a toddler could eye them, I finally tracked these bad chicks down after four attempts and am ready for a sticky-good time.

A strong buttery cinnamon roll aroma hits you immediately as you open the package, sparkling with that signature Peeps coating, conjuring a rich wintery nostalgia. The type of freshly baked smells that erupt from the oven while rolls or muffins are being made actually emanate from the cellophane with convincing authority. The patented sitting chick blankly stares back at you with the challenge of “eat me, I dare you.”

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The depth of flavor and freshly baked intrigue continue with your first bite – surprisingly not too sweet. The fatty cinnamon bread flavor they’ve infused these Peeps with actually make for a fairly complex candy snacking experience. To be honest I really wanted to hate these and I’m beginning to lament there are only three per package, rather than hiding the other two in the garbage can.

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The taste has a multilayered aspect to it as well, with not only a cinnamon flavored marshmallow but a nice dunk into a “cinnamon flavored fudge” that adds the sensation of a luscious cinnamon roll icing. The “natural and artificial flavors” must focus on bringing a yeast element to the mouth party as these Peeps are more than simply a cinnamon or gingerbread take on a marshmallow.

Even though sugar is the first ingredient in both the ‘mallow and the cinnamon fudge, the balance of spices and creamy yeasty elements make these a worthy addition to any chimney-dangling stocking.

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So how to they compare to your standard variety Peep? They absolutely destroy them. Naturally, I had to get some classic snowman Peeps to mingle with its new cousin for comparison, and the cinnamon roll chick almost punked the snowman so hard he had to retire. The regular Peep tasted flat and uninspired, and was generally disappointing, like when I asked Old Saint Nick for a GameCube in 2002, but got a new puzzle instead.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 chicks – 160 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 30 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 1.5 oz. package
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Strong cinnamon roll flavor. Baking smell without preheating the oven. Signature Peeps sparkle. Fudge coating adds depth and texture.
Cons: RIP regular Peeps. Puzzles instead of a GameCube.

REVIEW: Peeps Mystery Flavors (2016)

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2016)

Like the Star Wars fans who avoided watching, reading, or listening to anything before seeing The Force Awakens to make sure they didn’t accidentally come across spoilers, I’ve steered clear of anything about these 2016 Peeps Mystery Flavors so I wouldn’t have any idea what the flavors could be. I’ve avoided reviews, tweets, Instagram pics, Facebook posts, Snapchats, and Peeps sexts. That’s a thing, right?

I’ve even avoided comments from this post we did about them when they first came out.

(covers eyes) LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.

And I intentionally haven’t read any of the comments from this Instagram photo I posted the other day.

(covers eyes) LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA.

So I finally had all three Peeps Mystery Flavors and I’m slightly disappointed. I’m not disappointed with the flavors Peeps chose, which I’ll get to a bit later. I’m disappointed with the flavors Peeps didn’t choose.

If I owned a marshmallow making company called Tweeps, I would’ve had some fun with our mystery flavors. I would’ve had Ghost Pepper Tweeps, Lobster Tweeps, Garlic Bread Tweeps, or Bacon Tweeps. Or maybe go the Jelly Belly BeanBoozled route and have Cat Food Tweeps, Vacuum Bag Contents Tweeps, Motor Oil Tweeps, or Interior of a Ten-Year-Old Microwave That Has Never Been Cleaned Tweeps. Sure, those may have caused gagging and our eventual bankruptcy, but it would’ve been so worth it.

Well, I’m not happy to report that Peeps kept it safe, like they do all the time, and didn’t make any mystery flavors that they’d regret or cause them to lose money.

Peeps Mystery Flavors (2016) 2

Let’s start with Mystery Flavor #2 of 3.

After opening the package, my nose detected a familiar smell from my childhood — butter and sugar toast. Mmmm. Those were the sweet days (of cavities). As for the flavor of these colorless Peeps, they also had a buttery flavor. I’m leaning towards buttered popcorn, because they kind of remind me of Jelly Belly’s Buttered Popcorn, but it could also be a butter roll or a stick of butter. I’m not a huge fan of buttered popcorn jelly beans, but I did enjoy these buttery Peeps. Although they are my least favorite of the three.

Next, I’ll go with Mystery Flavor #1 of 3.

They smell like chocolate frosting. Obviously, they also have a chocolatey flavor, but what it is I’m not exactly sure. The flavor was lighter than the other two, so it’s hard to pinpoint what it’s trying to emulate. My original guesses were chocolate birthday cake, chocolate mousse, or hot cocoa. But they couldn’t be hot cocoa-flavored Peeps since they already exist. So I’m going to say birthday cake. I liked them, but I wish they had a stronger flavor.

Finally, there’s Mystery Flavor #3 of 3.

They smell like fruit punch, but they definitely couldn’t be fruit punch since one of last year’s Peeps Mystery Flavors was fruit punch. Although, it would’ve been funny if they threw a curveball and it actually was fruit punch. But after tasting it, it’s definitely not fruit punch. I get a slight citrus vibe from them, but they mostly remind me of Haribo peach gummies. But my taste buds think it could also be grape. So I’m going to say they’re grape Peeps. While I’m not 100 percent sure if they’re peach or grape, I do know I liked these the best out of the three Mystery Flavors.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicks – 140 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: 3 oz./10 chicks
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (#1 of 3)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (#2 of 3)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (#3 of 3)
Pros: No gross flavors. All were decent to good. The sugar crystal exterior of Peeps. The fun in trying to figure out what the heck they are. The smugness I’ll feel when it turns out I’ve correctly guessed the flavors.
Cons: No gross flavors. Trying to avoid spoilers. #1 of 3 could’ve had a stronger flavor. Buttered popcorn jelly bean haters might not like #2 of 3. Vacuum Bag Contents Peeps.

REVIEW: Peeps Cotton Candy Marshmallow Chicks

Peeps Cotton Candy Marshmallow Chicks

Let the record state: you are not likely to win former middle school crushes, current middle school crushes, or Santa Claus over with Peeps. Peeps are prepackaged, factory-formed one-noters. They are not handmade. They are not farm-to-table. They are sugary, squishy, mildly impersonal marshmallow chickens poofed out in Pennsylvania.

But if you are a candy loyalist of the sort who is not deterred by waxy eyeballs or the radioactive glow of their outer sheen, Peeps has enough varieties to fill a Container Store, not to mention the 18-foot-deep hole in my heart, but before I go on branding a marshmallow chicken on my left deltoid, I guess I should try ‘em all, and today? We go for Cotton Candy.

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With June stretching out over 80 days in the future, I can think of no better time than now to be reminded of a carnival, and ripping open this quintet of Peeps does just that, knocking me upside the head with sparkly wonder and a smell that blends a distinct sugary brightness with Strawberry Jolly Ranchers, Vanilla Febreze, and Bubblicious. Who needs Disneyland when you have Peeps?

(Okay, I need Disneyland. Especially Space Mountain.)

But much like the overpriced snow globe at the Miami Airport, these glitzy chicks are all flash with little substance, holding only a faint essence of its spun-sugar inspiration. While the marshmallow itself still has that special taste that can only emerge when sucrose and corn syrup combine, only faint blips of vanilla extract, strawberry, and bubblegum pop in.

Taken as a whole, the flavor is sharply sugar-forward, tasting more of a regular marshmallow that was swapped at birth and doomed to an existence with the incorrect moniker. While a trifle disappointing for those looking for a more robust flavor, I must admit that this humble sugar flavor harkens back to cotton candy’s main goal: to serve as a vehicle through which you might funnel simplified carbohydrates into your sugar-depraved body, and why should you deny yourself? Life’s tough. Sugar’s great.

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So, while they may cling to cotton candy’s legacy as a sugar-laden snack, this ensemble of chickadees tastes about as bold as faded paisley curtains. Perhaps it’s the batch. Perhaps it’s the Red #40. Perhaps it’s in the alignments of stars, Jupiter, and ill-directed DirecTV satellites, but I dare say these could use a little oomph.

That said, one might also say that this inconsistency is part of the true carnival experience. Just like balloon animals, dart games, and questionably constructed wooden roller coasters, cotton candy is not necessarily meant to be treated as a work of perfection, but more as a bright, mildly risky, fun treat, and these chicks? Achieve that. No ticket required. They may not warrant a permanent tattoo, but I could see a temporary tattoo going on.

(Nutrition Facts – 5 chicks – 140 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 0 mg of potassium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)

Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: 1.5 oz. package/5 chicks
Purchased at: Walgreens (a Walgreens exclusive)
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Fun. Shimmery. Not unpleasant vehicle for sugar. The Container Store. Space Mountain. Future plans to tattoo marshmallow chickadee on deltoid.
Cons: Missing the strawberry/vanilla/bubblegum flavors. Sugar crust falls off easily. Red Dye #40. One-note. Will not win former middle school crushes. Will not win current middle school crushes. Overpriced snow globes at the Miami Airport.