As noted in a prior post, I heart Peeps. I think that they are the most delicious of the Easter candies, and apparently I am not alone: Peeps are the #1 nonchocolate Easter candy in the United States, a distinction that they have held for more than a decade. I know this, because I am the proud owner of Peeps!: Recipes and Crafts to Make with Your Favorite Marshmallow Treat, a book by Charity Ferreira with (awesome) photographs by Liz Wolfe. The first recipe was inspired by one from that tome. (Okay, it's not a tome - there's only so much that you can say about Peeps - but did I mention that there's a section on making a "peepinata"? You read that right - it's an egg-shaped pinata with Peeps glued to it. And it's as awesome-looking as that sounds.)
Second recipe was inspired by something that I saw in Phyllis Hoffman's Celebrate magazine (special Easter issue, which features a couple of Peep-themed drinkns, plus a lemon curd cake topped with lemon-yellow Peeps). Her Peeptini uses rum; mine uses vodka. (And her recipe says that you can garnish with a Peep "if desired," whereas mine makes the Peep mandatory. What's a Peeptini without a Peep?)
8 ozs. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 T unsalted butter
6 T sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
6 Peeps chicks
6 Cadbury mini-eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. (In the alternative, you can melt the chocolate in butter in the microwave on a low setting, stopping occasionally for stirring.) Pour mixture into bowl and whisk in 4 T of sugar and the egg yolks, then whisk in the flour.
Beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining 2 T of sugar in a slow, steady stream while the mixer is still running. Continue beating just until soft peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, repeating two times until all of the egg whites have been used.
Divide the mixture evenly among six jumbo muffin cups. Place a chick in the center of each cup, pressing the chick into the batter so just the head shows. Cut mini-eggs in half and put one egg half on either side of the chick's head.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are puffed up and feel dry to the touch. Let the cakes sit for 5 minutes or so, and then invert out of muffin tins and place on serving plates. Drizzle with chocolate syrup (avoiding the chicks' heads - or, what the heck, drizzle a little on the Peeps, too!) Yield: 6 cakes.
LEMON DROP PEEPTINI
1 1/2 ozs. vodka
1/2 oz. orange liqueur
1 tsp. Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Yellow Peeps chick for garnish
Mix all ingredients except for Peeps chick in cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into martini glass. Garnish with Peeps chick. (You can also rim the glasses with yellow sugar ahead of time, for an extra bit of sugary goodness.) Yield: 1 drink.
(To make Simple Syrup, combine equal quantities of cold water and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, and then turn heat to low, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves completely, approximately 3 minutes. Let the syrup cool to room temperature, then pour into a tightly sealed glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.)