I thought I was an absolute genius. There I was in CVS, buying all the standard Easter candies, when I got an idea about the Peeps I was looking at. “I could make s’mores with Peeps!” my brain went. So I grabbed a few different flavors along with some graham crackers and Hershey bars and headed to the checkout line, head held high.
Later on, I found out that s’mores made with Peeps are already a thing and you can find a number of recipes for them online. I guess it makes sense — after all, there are like, three things you can do with marshmallows. But while I was a little disappointed by my lack of originality, I was still excited to try them. And so, the other night, after my wife and daughter and I had dinner, I gathered up all the ingredients and — since it was cold out — finally opened the indoor s’mores-maker that my aunt got me two years ago.
Assembling the ingredients was kind of fun. It was like all the adorable little Peeps were awaiting their turn on death row. The parallels weren’t lost on my seven-year-old daughter, who, at first, protested the entire thing. “You’re murdering a baby Peep!” she told me. But once my wife and I began roasting our Peeps over the little hotplate, she couldn’t help but join in.
I’d bought three different kinds of Peeps — classic yellow chicks, pink bunnies and birthday cake flavored, all of which we roasted up over the heating element. Because it wasn’t over an actual flame, the Peeps seemed to take a bit longer to burn than your standard marshmallow. The sugar coating appeared to create a protective barrier, almost like the candy shell of an M&M. Eventually, though, I could see the effects. First, the Peeps’ eyes melted. I didn’t know it at the time, but the eyes of Peeps are apparently made of edible wax, so I guess that makes sense.
The Peeps then began to brown after a couple of minutes. While they didn’t get totally charred the way they might over an open flame, they did begin to melt and sag off the skewers. So we concluded our Peep rotisserie and placed them on top of our already assembled graham crackers with a Hershey bar on top. Although the Peeps were now blinded and burned, they still seemed pretty much intact until they hit the graham crackers. The Peeps squished down without resistance and the sugar coating cracked all over as the little marshmallow guts poured out of the sides.
My daughter thought they were a little better than basic s’mores, but she’s seven, so her reasoning was, “It just tastes better.” My wife liked it too, but felt that they were “less marshmallowy” than traditional s’mores. I felt the same way — it was like the candy coating added a sugary taste, but the marshmallow was somehow milder. Honestly, it wasn’t vastly different from regular s’mores, but there was something about the sadistic practice of burning animal-shaped marshmallows that made it more fun.
By the time we roasted up the pink bunnies next, my daughter — who generally has a dark sense of humor for a kid her age — was no longer offended. “I will stab it through the heart!” she said when she skewered the bunny. And, as she was roasting it, she let out an evil, cartoonish “Mwahahaha!” laugh.
The bunny tasted much the same as the chick did, and he squished down in the same gory fashion. The s’mores were incredibly sweet — even more so than regular s’mores — so we were all pretty much done after the bunnies. But I did have to at least try the birthday cake Peeps s’mores. My daughter declined that one, and my wife and I only had a bite of it, as we both agreed there were just too many different flavors going on.
The only thing we disagreed on was when I roasted a Peep and ate it off the skewer, sans s’more. The sugar coating around the marshmallow created this hard, crunchy exterior over the melted marshmallow and I thought it was delicious. My wife, however, gagged when she tried it and said it was “disgusting.” I would have loved for my daughter to be the tiebreaker, but by this time she was off doing an impromptu dance in our living room, which would continue for the next two hours as she was wired on sugar.
I wouldn’t say there’s anything revelatory about the taste of s’mores made with Peeps. They’re either slightly better, or slightly worse than regular s’mores, depending upon how much you like sweet snacks. The practice of creating them, however, was a lot more fun, and I was doing it indoors over a hot plate I never thought I’d use. Had the weather permitted us to roast them over a campfire, I could imagine that it would only be more exciting. Admittedly, it does help to have a kid who finds pretend murdering marshmallow chicks and bunnies to be utterly hilarious.