Just mention Peeps, those perky mainstays of Easter baskets, and you’ll no doubt get some pretty strong love/hate reactions. But we can’t get enough of the frisky little fellas, and we’re not the only ones.
Peeps have been around since 1953, when the Just Born company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, purchased the Rodda Candy Company and its handmade marshmallow chick. Just Born created a machine to automate the process, and the mass-produced Peep—made of the, um, highly appetizing blend of marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carauba wax—was born.
Since then, Just Born has become the largest marshmallow-candy manufacturer in the world, and has expanded its Peep-iverse into a range of characters for different holidays and an array of colors. Over at Peepstropolis (aka, the Just Born Peeps site) you can find history; trivia; a tour of the factory; and an online store that sells everything from mousse-flavored chicks dipped in chocolate to bunny-and-chick stacked Rainbow Pops and souvenir T-shirts, boxer shorts, beach towels, stuffed toys, and more.
If you’re the healthy sort, you might prefer some of the artisanal “peeps” that have hit the market, like these ducklings by Bake Me Pretty. Or you might even want to make your own organic chicks, à la Chow, which has put together this helpful DIY video. Call us old school, but we’re partial to the original Peep chicks and bunnies, which clock in at 32 calories apiece (all sugar, but who’s counting?) and have a—gulp—two-year shelf life. We think there’s nothing cuter than a wreath or “sushi” platter made of Peeps, or more gut-busting than a Peep diorama, like these from the Washington Post’s annual contest.
And who knew Peeps could be so educational? Check out Peep Research, where the unsuspecting critters have been tested for solubility, reaction to heat and cold, and ability to withstand low-pressure environments. The researchers have also documented the harrowing surgical separation of conjoined Peeps and conducted a risk analysis of smoking and alcohol on Peep health (the conclusion? “The synergistic effect of smoking and alcohol in Peeps produces a rapidly exothermic oxidation reaction, leading to a chemical and morphological divergence from the wild-type Peep phenotypes. Assistant lab members described these divergent Peeps as ‘less sweet,’ ‘crunchier,’ and ‘gross.’”)