FARGO — It's one of the great mysteries surrounding the Easter season.
Every year, close to 2 billion Peeps marshmallow treats are produced at the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pa. — enough to circle the Earth two times. Since their creation in 1953, Peeps have become a staple in Easter baskets all over America. But do people really like them?
According to a new survey by Retail Me Not, the answer is pretty clear: Not really. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed say they don't like Peeps. Instead, their favorites are Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, Cadbury Creme Eggs, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.
I have to admit I don't love Peeps. They're just OK. But I buy them every year, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's the candy that the Easter Bunny put in my basket all those years ago, so it's tradition.
Because my kids are also not crazy about Peeps, I end up throwing a lot of them away a week after Easter. (I do admit, though, I'm one of those people who thinks Peeps taste better when they get a little stale.)
Because I'm sick of throwing away Peeps — who knows the possible detrimental environmental impact of too many sugared marshmallows in the landfill? — I wanted to find a way to recycle Peeps into desserts that my family would actually eat. I enlisted the help of my work family to try out three recipes using Peeps.
- Jeff Kolpack, Forum Sports Reporter: I've known Jeff since we were 12 years old and in history class together at Agassiz Junior High School. Like all Fargo South High Bruins from the class of 1982, I believe he has impeccable taste.
- Emma Vatnsdal, Forum Features Reporter: My young co-worker has appeared in many "Scoop" episodes because she's always up for a challenge and, at 23, isn't yet tired of me forcing her to eat weird stuff.
- Jack Zaleski, retired Forum Editorial Page Editor: I call him "The Legend" because of his stellar career in local and regional journalism. He's the best — and he just happened to be walking through the room where we were doing shooting the video, and I wouldn't let him leave.
- Karen Jacobsen, Executive Assistant to Publisher Bill Marcil Jr.: I met Karen long before she began work here at The Forum. She is truly one of the nicest, most talented people I know and I adore her, despite the fact she doesn't like chocolate. I guess no one is perfect.
Peeps S'mores Brownies: Found on Delish.com, these brownies are made with marshmallow swirl and baked atop a homemade graham cracker crust. Toward the end of the bake time, Peeps are placed on top of the brownie. The brownies proved to be a hit with everyone.
"It met expectations," Kolpack says.
"That's chewy, really good," Zaleski says.
"After this winter, anything that reminds me of a campfire is good," Vatnsdal says.
"That is really good and you know I'm not much for chocolate," Jacobsen says. (Yes, Karen. Don't remind me.)
Peeps Cake Batter Candy: Found at Cookies and Cups.com, this recipe uses one of the newer flavors of Peeps, Party Cake, combined with powdered sugar and yellow cake mix. It was the most debated treat of the day.
"Hmm, that's really sweet. I'm sweet enough without it," Zaleski says with a laugh.
"I'm not a fan," Vatnsdal says.
"That is a lot of sugar," Jacobsen says.
"I'm surprised. I like it," Kolpack says.
Layered Peeps Rice Krispies Treats: Found at YellowBlissRoad.com, this recipe combines 10 Peeps of each color with butter and cereal for a dessert as colorful as a rainbow.
The least surprising dessert was the Layered Peeps Rice Krispies Treats, which taste like the cereal treats we've all grown up with because it basically is. Peeps are just used in place of the marshmallows.
"It's a Rice Krispies bar. It's OK," Vatnsdal says.
"Yeah, it's good," Jacobsen says.
"Not my favorite. Not as much taste. A little more bland," Kolpack says.
"Oh yeah, this is nice. It's not overwhelming. It's crunchy," Zaleski says. "I'd rank this as No. 1."
I told him Kolpack rates the Rice Krispies Treats as his least favorite.
"He had it in last place, really?" Zaleski replies. "Jeff Kolpack is a good sportswriter, and that's about it."
"The fact Zaleski had a bland-tasting Rice Krispie bar as his favorite is not surprising to me. Just take a look at his writing," Kolpack responds.
So much conflict when you mess with the almighty Peep. Oh dear. Maybe I should just eat them plain.