What came first the marshmallow or the peep? Easter Sunday is almost upon us when chocoate bunnies and little chick marshmallow peeps end up in our Easter Baskets.  How are they made and where do these peeps that are all the rage now come from? 

Everytime I bite into a peep I feel like I've gone to Peepsville!

1.2 Billion Peeps are made every year by a company called 'Just Born' based in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. Chicks and bunnies are the most popular.  The candy company also makes Mike & Ike,  Hot Tamales, Jellybeans and Peanut Chews.

It all starts with mixture of marshmallow, sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and a few other special ingredients whipped into a marshmallowy goo that will become the shaped candy figures, food coloring is added to make the color of the peeps.

The marshmallow goo is then pumped into a machine that shapes the peeps into the bunnies or chicks we all love.   As the warm peeps travel down a conveyor belt towards a wind tunnel where sugar is blown onto the peeps.  Eyes are added by a machine that can pump out 3,800 eyes in a minute.  The eyes are made of edible wax.  Then its off the a cold freezer where the peeps firm up for packaging. 5 peeps per box for chicks, 4 peeps for bunnies.  Total processing time to create a peeps is 6 minutes.

Once the peeps are packaged they are wrapped and shipped out to your favorite store where they await your purchase.  Peeps are sold in 30 countries world wide and year round.

Peeps chicks come in five colors, listed in order of popularity: yellow, pink, lavender, blue, and white.

Peeps are quite popular, they have their own retail store PEEPS® & Company, in National Harbor, MD. and a very interactive website. www.marshmallowpeeps.com, where you can link to their own facebook page, gather recipes using peeps and play games.  They even have a FANCLUB.

This year is something new to make the chocolate bunny jealous. PEEPS® PEEPSTERS® offer a bite-size indulgence. The NEW great tasting combination of rich chocolate and delicious marshmallow flavored crème. Available in creamy milk chocolate or rich dark chocolate varieties.

In Buffalo, there is even a Peep Eating Contest, where contestants will have to eat as many peeps as they can in 60 seconds. The Washington Post is even having a Peep Diorama contest.

Love me or hate em, Peeps are everywhere.   What is your favorite peep and are they a part of your Easter Basket?