It’s stocking stuffer season. While candy canes are a solid traditional choice, and you can never go wrong with chocolate, Just Born has an array of “everyday” and Christmas-themed Peeps for your favorite sugar-coated marshmallow lover. Because one (by which I mean me) cannot live on whole grains and seasonal vegetables alone, I’ve taste tested the Sour Watermelon and Strawberry Creme varieties of the everyday Peeps minis and two of the Christmas flavors, Candy Cane and Red Velvet.
In theory, these are a good idea: bite-sized Peeps that can be enjoyed year-round. However, to steal a phrase from Chopped, the execution is flawed. Instead of the adorably plump chicks we know and love, Peeps Minis are curiously flat and oblong. Although the miniature size makes for a favorably high sugar coating to marshmallow interior ratio, the marshmallow is far softer than a standard Peep, with a strange spongy texture.
Peeps Minis come in four flavors, Sour Watermelon, Strawberry Creme, Chocolate Creme, and Vanilla Creme. I sampled the Sour Watermelon and Strawberry Creme varieties, which left me sadly disappointed. The Strawberry Creme Peeps Minis tasted absolutely nothing like strawberries, or even artificial strawberry flavoring, but they did taste vaguely familiar. After the consumption of several Minis I was able to nail it down: they taste just like Trix breakfast cereal (and I’m feeling pretty good about my junk food palette, since the various artificial fruit flavors of Trix do not include strawberry). The Sour Watermelon Peeps Minis were slightly better, with a hint of sourness and a somewhat pleasant flavor instantly recognizable as artificial watermelon.
This festive Peep gets high marks for its dusting of red shavings to make it resemble a candy cane. Unfortunately, the candy cane flavored marshmallow has an assertive toothpaste-like mint flavor, which combined with the dark chocolate bottom to give me that gross feeling of eating dessert right after brushing my teeth. For the record, Mike thought these were okay, and “everything I would have expected from a candy cane Peep.”
Although I’m not sure how red velvet cake is holiday-themed, this was the taste test winner by far. The marshmallow is a fairly decent approximation of red velvet cake. The “cream flavored fudge” on the bottom doesn’t taste like much of anything besides cloying sweetness. This actually is reminiscent of the buttercream frosting that often tops red velvet cake and added to the effect. Although they might not be for everyone, and they definitely won’t be confused with the genuine article, I found the red velvet Peep quite delectable in a guilty pleasure sort of way (which is pretty much how I feel about Peeps in general).