I try to be healthy and good and stay away from sugar. (My grandfather once wrote a book called Sugar and the Criminal Mind!) But with candy-crazy kids and a husband who only enjoys reading books about candy, it’s dang hard. Plus, we seem to live in Candy Central. We are a gumdrop away from Hershey, Pennsylvania. But our true claim to fame is that we live in the home of the Peeps—those fluffy little marshmallow birds and bunnies coated with colored sugar. And since Easter is this weekend, Peeps are everywhere.
My family was lucky enough to get a tour of the Peep factory, which included a ride in the infamous Peep mobile, a yellow VW bug with a giant yellow Peep on top. Since Just Born, the manufacturer of Peeps, is a private, family-owned company, we had to bid on the tour at a school fundraiser. But it was worth it. I got to taste a Peep fresh off the factory line while it was still warm and gooey. So now I know that I prefer my Peeps either fresh off the line while they are still warm or, frankly, after they’re a little bit stale.
I once tried to melt a Peep over a campfire. But that is very dangerous, since the sugar coating gets extremely hot and burns your hand when you try to eat it. Therefore, I do not recommend cooking your Peeps.
Still, the Mecca of candy for us this time of year is Josh Early Candies. It’s another family-owned candy maker in our area, with only two stores and a focus on chocolate. Some of my earliest memories are of the extremely rare pleasure of being taken to Josh Early and being allowed to pick out something good. My all-time favorite is the peanut roll—a cream (like the inside of an Oreo cookie) covered in chocolate and then rolled in crushed salted peanuts. YUM!
This year, for the first time ever, Josh Early is making organic chocolate! It’s a true sign of the changing times if a place as traditional and old-fashioned as Josh Early recognizes that some people want their chocolate without chemicals. Yay!
One of the true joys of being a grown-up is that I can buy candy whenever I want. Now I just have to work on getting Just Born to make their Peeps organic.