April Fool’s Day is coming up this week, and so I thought I would use that as inspiration to be a bit goofy. Perhaps that is in part due to spring seeming to be ahead of itself this year, what with Easter so early and the weather being so topsy-turvy – snow in the morning and warm sun in the afternoon! I don’t know about you, but I just feel that a little bit of whimsy is the best way to weather the storm. So forgive the lack of nutritional value in this week’s listings and take pleasure in the fact that you now have water cooler fodder for the week to come!
Did you know that a real seasonal spring food is Peeps? If you have never heard of Peeps, you may still be able to indulge if you check out the local grocery and confectionery stores… many connoisseurs even prefer their Peeps a few days old. They are a traditional sweet made by a company called Just Born, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since 1954, and they come most commonly in the form of baby chicks.
You might think I am trying an early April Fool’s prank here, but honest, this is no joke. (The company’s founder, Sam Born, also invented the Born Sucker machine which revolutionized the lollipop industry… but that is another story.) Peeps have a very loyal following, with some people taking their appreciation to quite imaginative heights! There are even such Peep pastimes as Peep Jousts (arm your Peep with a toothpick under his wing for a lance, then put him in the microwave with another combatant and after placing your wagers on the winner, push the ON button. The winner is the one that expands enough to engulf his unwitting enemy.) There is Peep art – patterns of the charming little fellows glued on canvas that sell for hundreds of dollars. (In all fairness to the artist it must be noted Peeps do come in an array of colours, allowing for numerous permutations in design.) Simple indulgence in Peeps is ample goofiness however, and you needn’t feel too bad eating them – they are only 32 calories each, and there are 350 million of them made each year, so they are certainly not endangered!
I suppose if you are more of a purist, you could just stick to regular marshmallows. Did you know they have been around for 200 years and that originally the root of the marshmallow plant was what made them sticky and gooey? This plant was also used to soothe sore throats; I don’t know if you could attest to a marshmallow doing that but it arguably does make you feel better when you eat one! Whether you like them pre-stuck to Rice Krispies in a square or roasted over an open flame will not diminish the smile that seems to get stuck on your face after eating them.
I have a few final notes for you if you choose to let whimsy strike and indulge in the spongy confection...
1. Beware anyone brandishing a marshmallow – flaming and sticky is not a very safe combination in the air.
2. If you do get melted (or manhandled) marshmallow stuck somewhere it shouldn’t be, remember to remove it as soon as possible or it will become like Super Glue. (The best remedy seems to be licking it off, so try to aim for something or someone you like!)
If you feel like attempting a batch of marshmallow from scratch, this link to a great recipe works pretty well.
If you like your marshmallow inside something else, try these brownies, there’re awesome.
- 3/4 cup Callebaut chocolate
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 1/4 cups white sugar
- 5 large eggs
- Zest of 1 full orange,grated on a “microplane” (fine grater)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- vanilla extract
- 2 cups small Callebaut chocolate chunks
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
Heat chocolate and butter in a pan slowly while stirring until melted. Stir in sugar until sugar it melts. Cool the mixture 10 to 15 minutes
Add eggs and stir. Add flour, salt, and vanilla and stir. Add chocolate chunk and marshmallows, and pour into your greased 13- x 9-inch pan.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Cover brownies, and let stand at room temperature.
Happy Easter! Happy April Fools' Day :)