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.

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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: Limited Edition Cherry Cordial Delight Peeps

Limited Edition Cherry Cordial Delight Peeps

As far as childhood traumas go, cherry cordials are on the “Really, why didn’t you address this with your therapist?” list.

At seven years of age, my first efforts with cordials were an immediate disaster with red cherry, fondant, and shards of milk chocolate splashing all over my favorite Looney Tunes t-shirt (how I loved that shirt!). I tried to wash it out, but alas, not even Snuggle the Bear could save that humble garment. While I loved the taste of the cordial, fear of ruining the rest of my favorite t-shirts detracted me from ever returning to cherry cordials again.

Until today.

It seems Peeps, in all their tidy, poofy, non-goo-filled selves, are inviting me to make amends with my cherry cordial childhood traumas by putting those flavors into marshmallow form, which is a good thing because chocolate, cherry, and sugar? That’s a recipe for a party.

Limited Edition Cherry Cordial Delight Peeps 2

Right out of the cellophane, the smell makes it clear that chocolate and cherry run the show. If you’ve ever wanted Febreze to make an air freshener that smells like maraschino cherries and brownie batter, this is for you: the bright, sugared cherry aroma completely absorbs the smell of anything within a two-foot radius.

And that smell immediately transports into the flavor. These fluffy little devils hold nothing back, going full-throttle for artificial cherry. Biting in, the red crystal sugar flecks crisp through before breaking into a white marshmallow fluffier than the luxury bath towels at the Ritz.

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The cherry flavor harkens back to a cherry popsicle or Skittle: a little tart, extremely sweet, and mildly bitter. The dark chocolate, while not astounding, is also not palm oil gunk.

On its own, it’s like a mock-up of a Dark Dove Promise, adding a woodsy note with a bit of brownie batter sweetness, but, when taken with the marshmallow, the chocolate gets swept away in the wake of cherry flavor. This can be overwhelming as the cherry, when taking in multiple bites, starts verging on medicinal, harkening back to days of tissues and trying to stomach cherry cough syrup. Those are sad days. There is no need for sad days.

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It has occurred to me that there will be a time, probably soon, in which I have a traumatic encounter with a chicken that somehow deters me from eating chickadee-shaped products. Until then, I will keep trying all the versions of Peeps, holding that particular fear, reluctance, and joy that comes with peculiar flavor efforts.

These particular Peeps could’ve suffered (as they sometimes do) by being a little too sweet, but the monitored three-chick pack kept things in check. The biggest downfall was the extent to which the fake cherry flavors muscled out the chocolate, but, taken as a whole, these reminded me of cordials: cherry takes the lead, fondant (or sugary marshmallow) stands as a sidekick, and chocolate is a background character. Not an unimportant character, per se. More like the Cabbage Vendor in Avatar: adding color and depth without being allotted much time for development.

All that said, if you love cherries, sugar, and chickadees that stare at you ominously, these are worth dishing out $1.99 to give ‘em a shot.

(Nutrition Facts – 3 Chicks – 150 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Limited Edition Cherry Cordial Delight Peeps
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3 pack/1.5 oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Cherry cordial flavors in marshmallow form. Cherry flavor similar to cherry Skittles. Quite puffy. Crispy sugar outside. No goo is involved. Non-palm-oil chocolate is used. The Cabbage Vendor in Avatar
Cons: Cherry overpowers chocolate. Red dye adds bitterness. Chickadees stare at you ominously. Childhood traumas involving cherry cordials. Non-childhood traumas involving chickens.

REVIEW: Peeps Sugar Plum Delight

Peeps Sugar Plum Delight

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.

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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.

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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.