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Dining In: What to do with marshmallow Peeps

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Long ago, marshmallow Peeps only came in yellow or white and each little chick was piped by hand using a pastry bag.

The texture of the candy was different back then; the marshmallow was drier and chewier. In 1954 the company Just Born in Bethlehem automated the process and developed machines that can create Peeps in a flash that are soft and gooey.

Much of America loves Peeps. Just Born makes 2 billion each year, mostly sold in packages that are multiples of five; five Peeps make up a 140-calorie, fat-free serving.

They come in a variety of colors and flavors and aren’t just for Easter baskets anymore. You can find chicks and bunnies during the Easter season, but other themed shapes and colors show up at Halloween (ghosts, cats, pumpkins, monsters), Valentine’s Day (hearts, bears) and Christmas (trees, snowmen, reindeer, gingerbread men).

Beloved for their low calorie count, minimal amount of sugar, colorful exteriors and nostalgic appeal, Peeps are found in countless Easter baskets. They also are used for decorating, crafts, dioramas and recipes. They are so popular that they regularly rank as the top-selling non-chocolate candy at Easter.

Even if you don’t like eating Peeps (believe it or not there are detractors), you can enjoy looking at them and the creative ways they can be used. For a look, check out the new Peeps in the Village display at Peddlers Village in Lahaska from April 17 through April 28. Visitors can vote on their favorites and prizes will be awarded for winning entries. See peddlersvillage.com for more information.

For a huge variety of recipes and craft projects using Peeps, see the Internet. This one, which includes lightly melted Peeps that add a marshmallow flavor to the milk shake, is from the official Just Born site, marshmallowpeeps.com. It was created by Adrienne Bosh.

Marshmallow Peeps Easter Milk Shake
5 scoops high-quality vanilla
ice cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
10 Marshmallow Peeps chicks,
plus more for garnish
food coloring, same color
as your Peeps chicks
whipped cream for topping
marshmallow fluff, for garnish
sprinkles, for garnish

1. Using a small spatula, spread a thin, even layer of marshmallow luff around the top 1 to 2 inches of the outside of your glass. Set glass aside.
2. On a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, toast Peeps chicks under a broiler, until slightly golden brown. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn rather quickly.
3. Put 2 scoops of ice cream and ½ cup of milk in the blender. Combine briefly, then add toasted Peep chicks and blend until incorporated. Add in a few drops of food coloring (use red for pink Peeps, blue for blue Peeps, and a mix of blue and red for purple Peeps) and blend just until fully incorporated.
4. Pour shake into a glass and top with some whipped cream. Garnish with marshmallow Peeps chicks that match your color shake.

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