Peeps Recipe Contest: And the winners are ...

Creative ways to incorporate the treats into your meals. Bon App-e-Peep!

March 27, 2013|By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

When The Baltimore Sun inaugurated its Peeps Recipe Contest this year, it was a way to acknowledge the unstoppable force that has become the Peep.

[See photos of all Peeps recipe contest entries here.]

Once, the marshmallow treat was mere Easter candy. Those days are over.

Peeps are cultural touchstones with fan clubs, a clothing line and even a store devoted to them at National Harbor. They've inspired people to make sculptures and videos, and even to write books and songs. So on this, their 60th birthday, we wanted to see what else folks could do with these bunnies and chicks.

Baltimoreans had already been celebrating Peeps.

Regi's owner Alan Morstein said the restaurant's Charred Peep Tini has become one of his most popular dessert drinks. When they light the marshmallow right in front of guests, it's a charming conversation starter that gets customers talking and laughing.

At a recent Bolton Hill neighborhood soup night, one of the co-hosting couples didn't just bring dessert, they brought Peeps attached to cookies to make the get-together feel more festive.

One recipe contest entrant, Eleanor King, told us that after Easter, she's been known to treat her family to chocolate chip and marshmallow pancakes, repurposing her stale Peeps.

Peeps are evidently inspiring. Contest entries arrived slowly at first, then multiplying — bunny-style — from across the Baltimore region. The youngest entrants were mere chicks themselves, only in elementary school. The eldest was a near-centenarian in Baltimore County, Josephine DiNenna, who says she's not too old to appreciate a Peep.

There was the sophisticated: How about a savory butternut squash soup drizzled with a sour cream and Peeps sauce? Or coconut lemongrass soup with chicken and broiled Peeps? Anyone for wings with a horseradish, mustard and Peeps glaze?

There was the winkingly creative — sweet spins on classic dishes, but with Peeps. Spaghetti and Peepballs. Split Peep soup. Peep-a-roni pizza.

And hard as it might be to believe, not one but two contestants found a way for Peeps to meet the Maryland mainstay: crab.

Though it wasn't a winner, one of our favorite entries came from the Hopkins family, who submitted their Peeps Plop. It was less recipe than a how-to guide for disposing of leftover Peeps — by drowning them in wine, tequila or, when feeling fancy, Prosecco.

"Plunge your pink Peep, beak first, in wine," they wrote. "Swirl, allowing Peep to fully enjoy the plop, ignoring the Peep's pleas for mercy. Once the pink Peep is properly primed, partake of the pink Peep."

We had a lot of fun and thank all of the entrants for their contributions on behalf of Peepskind. Though competition was as stiff as a marshmallow-based competition can be, it ultimately came down to which recipes were the most creative, the most potentially scrumptious and best at highlighting the star ingredient.

Winners, who will each receive $50 Peeps prize packages from the candy maker Just Born, are:

BEST SWEET: Peep R Nutter cupcake

BEST SAVORY: Pork loin stuffed with peaches and Peeps and drunken Peeps sauce.

MOST CREATIVE: Peep pot pie

BRAVEST: Peeps crab nuggets


RECIPES

Peep R nutter cupcakes

Cupcake:

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed bananas

Chocolate frosting filling:

1/2 cup melted butter

2/3 cup dark chocolate powder

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Marshmallow frosting:

2 egg whites

11/2 cup sugar

6 tablespoon water

6 Peeps, quartered

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the muffins, mash the bananas and milk together in a large mixing bowl. Then add vegetable oil and egg and mix together. Finally, add the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix until the mixture is moist but still lumpy. Put into lined muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool and mix the frosting.

For the chocolate frosting, mix the melted butter and chocolate until smooth in an electric mixer. Then add the powdered sugar and milk. Mix at medium speed until smooth. Finally, add the vanilla until incorporated.

For the Peep frosting: add the egg whites, sugar, and water and mix on a double boiler until the sugar dissolves. Then add the Peeps and mix with an electric mixer for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken at this point to soft peaks. Remove from heat and add the cream of tartar. This prevents the sugars from crystallizing again. (I added extra food coloring as the Peeps were melting to enhance their color)

Take the cooled cupcakes and use an apple corer and remove some of the middle of the cupcake. Spoon in some of the chocolate frosting. The top with the Peep frosting. Decorate with extra peeps and colored sugars.

—Melissa Merrill, Forest Hill

Pork loin stuffed with peaches and Peeps, with drunken Peeps sauce

Serves 4

11/2 pounds pork loin butterflied

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