[Photographs: Erin Jackson]
I tried Peeps for the first time four years ago and couldn't really understand the appeal (besides torturing them in the microwave). Given the choice between a classic Peep and a stale marshmallow that rolled under the couch sometime last Christmas, I would have gone marshmallow every time.
That is, until I tried four exclusive flavors available at Walmart ($1.08 for a pack of 10): Bubble Gum, Sweet Lemonade, Party Cake, and Blue Raspberry—the newest edition to the line. As far as candy coated-marshmallows go, they're all surprisingly delicious, taste exactly as advertised, and for people who want more than just mallow flavor, are a huge improvement over the classic Peeps. There's also a sour watermelon flavor, but the store closest to me was out of stock.
Top: Bubble Gum, Blue Raspberry; Bottom: Sweet Lemonade, Party Cake
The Party Cake Peeps taste like yellow sheet cake with vanilla frosting. Under the green sprinkles and flecks of rainbow sparkles, the marshmallow chicks are even the same tone as the classic cake. This flavor is the most straight-forwardly sweet of the foursome I sampled, but also the least exciting since it's so one-note.
Sweet Lemonade is a good choice if you want something different but not too crazy. A touch of tartness cuts through the otherwise very sugary lemon flavor, bringing some balance, but overall, like the name implies, this Peep still leans heavily towards the sweet side of the flavor spectrum. That being said, I think smushing a Sweet Lemonade Peep between two halves of a strawberry would be pretty excellent.
The Bubblegum Peeps hold nothing back, and taste exactly like full-sugar bubble gum. Even when I circled back through the flavors for a second taste, I was surprised at just how intense the flavor is... especially compared to classic Peeps, which don't taste like much. I was sure it would be my favorite flavor until I tried the Blue Raspberry.
Damn, Peeps. You really nailed it with this flavor. The tart/sweet balance is perfect, the flavor is full-on, and the color is just right. I almost feel bad for beheading all 10 chicks in various ways... and then doing this...
Look at those Peeps. So young, so innocent.
Peeps, meet the microwave
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax