Easter Basket 2012: Peep No More

Supermarket Sweets

Taste-test, Aisle 1.

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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

With Easter only a few weeks away, we have to start considering what will go in our closely curated baskets. Now we're big fans of Peeps here on Serious Eats. Heck, we even devoted a whole week to them in 2010. And Peeps Rice Krispie treats have long been part of our repertoire, so it was with definite excitement that I tried the Peeps Crispy Rice Marshmallow Treat, new for Easter this year.

The new treat comes in a single serving package. Like all good Easter candy, it's a little oversized—this 6 by 3 1/2- inch bright blue wrapper will definitely get noticed in your basket. The image on the front sort of belied what was inside, while also keeping an air of mystery. Would it be a Peeps-Krispie hybrid? Would there be a marshmallow base? What were those doodles on top of the chick?

I ripped open the package to find this:

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That's supposed to be a chick.

The blob of candy that met me was an unfortunate, dehydrated pee shade of yellow. There were just a few sad chick-shaped sprinkles (many broken) lying across the surface of the...what? I had to look back at the front of the package to remember that ah yes, this was supposed to be a chick. The body is purely a "crispy rice" treat—the only connection to original Peeps are the chick-shaped sprinkles and the fact that crispy rice treats are made with marshmallow.

How did the egg chick taste? It was almost hard to tell, as the smell of sugar that hit my nose before taking a bite momentarily confused my senses. When I regrouped, I took a bite. It tasted like sugar, or, to be more precise, what I imagine straight corn syrup tastes like. There is a disconcerting tropical fruit aftertaste, one which grew with every bite. I tried to plow on, though the experience quickly transformed into a bad childhood dream— an oppressive, humid summer day and a sticky-sweet snack has stuck to my face, my hands, my shirt. A bellyache grows and there is no water. Er, suffice to say, it was inedible.

For those of you who relate more to actual products than to nightmares, consider this: it is substantially more sugary than a prepacked Rice Krispie Treat, and those things are sweet. The texture of the Peeps treat is also worse than Rice Krispie Treats: a sad mix of limp and crusty.

Peeps, I still love your squishy marshmallow animals, but I think I'll stick to my original menagerie.