And so it was, not 72 hours ago, that I descended upon the Target, clawing like a manic puppeteer on a shopping spree at Joann’s Fabrics as I wrestled through the bips, bobs, and bags for anything in a green-and-red aluminum. I bought 3 bags of Reese’s Bells. I am not ashamed.
Indeed, I have ardent, unapologetic feelings about seasonal candy, which, unlike the rest of my life, can be expressed succinctly: EAT ‘EM ALL! So, when I finally came up for air from my shopping spree, half entranced by chocolate and fa-la-la-la-la’s, I was surprised to spot this dapper trio of chicken-shaped marshmallows in a shade of purple that seemed stuck between a grape SweetTart and a very sad Easter Bunny. I had never been so simultaneously filled with curiosity, terror, and excitement.
They come out of the wrapper smelling of dried plums. It’s not a familiar candy smell, but, as a plum appreciator, I can’t help but admire the little buggers for going all-in to their pruney identity.
And the Peeps got all mid-level, budget-string classy up in here, what with each little chicken sporting a white fudge tux-and-tails on its rump. I love this stuff. It may not be actual chocolate, but, each time I’ve tried it, I can’t deny how its smooth melt and sugary vanilla sweetness adds a little something special to anything it touches. Fact: the easiest way to improve a mediocre marshmallow is to shroud it in fudge.
The taste of these plumy poultries is new, where “new” is defined much in the same way that a hamster might feel if it were to take a trip to an anti-gravity room at NASA: unfamiliar, wacky, and a little off.
Like all Peeps, they highlight the cool, sugary realms of the marshmallow before allowing the artificial flavoring to take hold, and that flavoring? Never lets go. It has a certain figgy jaminess followed by a bitterness that’s pretty jarring. Of course, really old dried plums (prunes) do have a certain bitter note on their tails, so maybe the bitterness makes them true-to-form and complex, which may make them trendy according to the Tastemakers of America…but who are these Tastemakers of America? And why do they like old prunes so much??
Mysteries-that-can’t-be-solved aside, the smooshy texture of the Peep itself mimicked that of a plum/prune: gritty, squishy, gooey. While the bitterness overran my tasting experience, the texture, coupled with the sweet, smooth white fudge, made for an inoffensive, new perspective in marshmallow potential.
What is it about these three chickadees that keeps me coming back? They’re but mere overpriced marshmallows in cellophane, and yet there is something I admire about them. Is it their chicken shape? Their peculiar flavor options? The way they stare out in misshapen, googly eyed wonderment?
I do not have the answer, but sometimes curiosity outweighs logic. As for these three chicks, I’m not sure if I liked ‘em. The bitterness overpowered what could’ve been an innovative new take, but I wasn’t completely appalled by them either. They’re fascinating, if only for the high degree to which they mimic a prune in candy form. Peeps, I give you an “A” for effort, but the bitterness just knocked ‘em off the running. But, hey, don’t feel down. Sometimes you swing for the fences and hit a home run. Other times, you hit it into the dugout and knock the Gatorade cooler onto the manager.
(Nutrition Facts – 3 chicks – 150 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 29 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein..)
Item: Peeps Sugar Plum Delight
Purchased Price: $1.79
Size: 3 Chicks/1.5 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Kinda tastes like a sugared prune. Not appalling. Sweet fudge. Googly eyes. Hamsters in Anti-Gravity.
Cons: Kinda tastes like an especially old prune your grandmamma left out in the jar. Pricey. Metallic aftertaste. The color of a sad Easter Bunny.